The Saudi Enigma: A History (Paperback)
  • The Saudi Enigma: A History (Paperback)
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The Saudi Enigma: A History (Paperback)

(author), (translator)
£24.99
Paperback 272 Pages / Published: 25/05/2005
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Saudi Arabia is a major piece on the world geopolitical chessboard. Despite the suspicion that has enveloped the country since September 11, 2001, Saudi Arabia remains the key US ally in the Arab Middle East, a role secured by its continuing position as the world's largest oil exporter and its ever growing influence in the Muslim world. Yet the country is still very poorly understood. Western observers have rarely been able to penetrate this closed society and its opaque political system. Cliches about the role of oil wealth and fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam often serve to further mask the reality. The true complexity of Saudi society cannot be reduced to a mixture of poorly assimilated modernity and medieval Bedouin tradition. This volume illustrates the emerging autonomous - and Islamic - manifestations of Saudi national identity, fiercely reformist rather than medieval, complex and varied rather than merely a justification or support for the rule of the al-Saud royal family. Underlying Menorett's account is a sophisticated economic history of the Saudi state, from the eighteenth century to the present day, which details all the alliances and manoeuvres that have brought the country and its rulers to their current precarious position.

Publisher: Zed Books Ltd
ISBN: 9781842776056
Number of pages: 272
Weight: 358 g
Dimensions: 215 x 135 x 15 mm


MEDIA REVIEWS

'Finally, we have a book by someone who has a robust social science approach to what is a modern and fast-changing society, who has lived in, and thought a lot about, the country, who does not fall into conspiracy theory, who avoids the anti-Saudi banalities of the outside world as much as the pieties of the regime, who, in a word, tells us how the country actually works.'
Fred Halliday, London School of Economics

'A treasure-house of precise references and analyses, this book does not set out to provide simple answers, but to illustrate the great complexity of the country and to account for the deep changes it has gone through. Particularly enlightrening on the current crisis and the official response to it since 2002.'
Sophie Pommier, Le Monde Diplomatique

'A historical and sociological analysis, a balance sheet that eschews illusions.'
Francoise Crouigneau, Les Echos

'An astounding, lucid expose - a useful antidote to the many shallow books on Saudia Arabia that have been published since 9/11. This is another example of writing exemplary social history, so different from the political myths devised both by the Saudi regime, its Western allies, and many scholars.'
Paul Aarts co-editor of Saudi Arabia in the Balance: Political, Economy, Society, Foreign Policy

'A treasure-house of precise references and analyses, this book does not set out to provide simple answers, but to illustrate the great complexity of the country and to account for the deep changes it has gone through.'
The Middle East

'A useful counter-narrative to populist Saudi-bashing'.
The Economist

'Menouret presents Saudi Arabia as a complex society governed by distinct but recognizable social forces, stripped of both glamour and mystique but conveyed with clarity and authority.'
Jonathan Lindley, RUSI Journal

'A book by someone ... who, in a word, tells us how the country actually works ... This book does much to de-mystify it.'
Journal of Third World Studies

'The Saudi Enigma is also notable for what it is not: it is not an essay of Riyadhology or court politics. In the wake of the Saudi succession, that may disappoint some, but this book is all the more illuminating for it.'
RUSI Journal

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