101 Arabian Tales: How We All Persevered in Peace Corps Libya
By Randolph W. Hobler
2020, Lulu Publishing Services, 979-8-6981-6219-3, $22.99 pb.
Reviewed by Robert W. Lebling on April 22, 2021
This book presents an irresistible and very personal look at life in Libya in the 1960s from the perspective of American expatriates—specifically, young, idealistic Peace Corps Volunteers (PCVs). It’s not the first book about the PCV experience in Libya, but it may be the most comprehensive and entertaining. To tell his story, the author supplements his own recollections with the writings and comments of 100 other PCVs and includes a wealth of photographs. Every tale of Hobler’s many Peace Corps colleagues—many of whom ended up teaching English to schoolchildren in remote villages—captivates in its own way. The author tells us about “critters” encountered in Libya, from parasitic flatworms to houseflies “on steroids,” from African wolves to garbage-disposal goats to versatile camels. We learn about Berbers and Tauregs and tasty Libyan cuisine. Through the 101 tales Hobbler offers readers the warmth of a face-to-face conversation that could easily go on and on.