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1. Health and disease in Saudi Arabia
2. A History of Saudi Arabia
3. A Brief History of Saudi Arabia
4. The History of Saudi Arabia
5. History of the Wahabis (Founders
6. The History of Saudi Arabia (The
7. Saudi Arabia: Government, Society
8. The Middle East - Life in Saudi
9. Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water
10. The Creation of Saudi Arabia:
11. The Saudi Enigma: A History
12. Saudi-Arabia: Bibliography on
13. Najd Before the Salafi Reform
14. The Making of Saudi Arabia, 1916-1936:
15. Syria and Saudi Arabia: Collaboration
16. A History of Saudi Arabia.(Book
17. Health and Disease in Saudi Arabia
18. Kings and Camels: An American
19. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Arabian
20. The Role of Multinational Companies

1. Health and disease in Saudi Arabia : oral history transcript : the Aramco experience, 1940s-1990s / 1998 Volume 1
by Bancroft Library. Regional Oral History Office
 Paperback: Pages (2009-10-26)

Asin: B003O626Z4
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2. A History of Saudi Arabia
by Madawi Al-Rasheed
Hardcover: 342 Pages (2010-05-24)
list price: US$90.00 -- used & new: US$79.27
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Asin: 052176128X
Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars
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This updated edition analyses the challenges, both internal and external, facing Saudi Arabia in the twenty-first century. Two new chapters discuss the political, economic and social developments in the aftermath of 9/11, painting a vivid picture of a country shocked by terrorism and condemned by the international community. Madawi Al-Rasheed reveals that fragmentation of royal politics, a failing economy and fermenting Islamist dissent posed serious threats to state and society in 2001. She assesses the consequent state reforms introduced under pressure of terrorism, international scrutiny and a social mobilisation of men, women and minorities struggling to shape their future against a background of repression and authoritarian rule. While Saudi Arabia is still far from establishing a fourth state, there are signs that the people are ready for a serious change that will lead them to a state of institutions rather than princes. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

4-0 out of 5 stars Fresh Perspective on Nation/State building
The Saud family is the monarchy, which is the state, of Saudi Arabia. This book shows how that state of affairs came to be.

I found the material on the 1930s especially illuminating, because it provides us with a picture of the Saud family, and to a degree a picture of Arabia, before the rest of the world came to appreciate the strategic significance of petroleum, and before the Second World War made all national boundaries something up for negotiation and renegotiation.

We're also treated to an illuminating dicussion of when marriages (and by extension polygamy) is, and when it isn't, a valuable tool for the forging of political alliances. This is an analytical take on a subject usually rushed through with cliches. ... Read more

3. A Brief History of Saudi Arabia
by James Wynbrandt
Paperback: 364 Pages (2010-06)
list price: US$19.95 -- used & new: US$12.61
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Asin: 0816082502
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4. The History of Saudi Arabia
by Alexei Vassiliev
Hardcover: 580 Pages (1997-01-01)
list price: US$70.00
Isbn: 0863569358
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Recipient of the CHOICE 1999 Outstanding Academic title

Among the numerous publications on the history of the Arabian peninsula, The History of Saudi Arabia is unique in its comprehensive coverage of the evolution of the socio-political structure of Saudi society during the 250 years of its existence.

Among the vast array of topics, the author studies the movement of the Wahhabi religious reformers, who call themselves muwahhidun (believers in one God), the various stages of development of the Saudi state, the role of the 'oil factor' in the transformation of Saudi society, the appearance of frequently conflictual new classes and social groups, and Saudi Arabia's role in the international arena.

The book is based on a wealth of sources: Arab texts (including many original Arabian chronicles) by both protagonists and antagonists of the Saudi dynasty and the Wahhabis; accounts by European travellers, diplomats, scholars and intelligence officers from the eighteenth to the twentieth century; the documents and publications of the British administration in India; twentieth-century Arabic sources, including not only official Saudi publications but also accounts by participants in the formative events described; works by prominent east European academics that have previously been unavailable in English; US publications; and Russian sources, including the previously untapped riches of the Russian archives.
... Read more

Customer Reviews (9)

5-0 out of 5 stars A view from the North...
America is now engaged in the 10th year of war in Islamic countries, and there is no end in sight. A realistic understanding of the very heartland of the Islamic world is essential for the political leadership in our country - the decision makers - and it is equally important for the academics and "think tank" specialists who provide the advise and "policy papers." This book is not for the casual readership of the general public, but it would be inspiring if a few "enlightened citizens," in the best Jeffersonian ideal, would tackle it, simply to be better informed on one of the central issues of our times.

The perception of Saudi Arabia by almost all Americans is universally negative. In part this is the result of a relentless effort to present the Arabs in general, and the Kingdom in particular, by Hollywood, the news media, and in books, in ways that are now unacceptable if the same characterizations were made of Blacks, Jews, or Women. There are the political "hatchet jobs," performed by former Rand employee Laurent Murawiec, who leans heavily on the Hitler analogies to make the case that the Kingdom is the root of all evil. There are several books by women, purportedly concerned about the "plight of Saudi women" that portray a world that is unrecognizable to any real Saudi women. But there is also a growing body of literature that attempts to depict the Kingdom in a realistic light, written by Lacey, Weston, Sanders, Coll, Lippman and others. There is the sweet irony that the best of these comes from our one time friends during the Second World War, our long-time adversary during the "Cold War," and now uneasy ally on some issues, Russia. Alexei Vassiliev has written the most authoritative, and comprehensive history of the Kingdom. Period. The prose is dispassionate, at times it borders on the ponderous, but most importantly it is virtually error free, and there are extensive references in a thorough bibliography. On first glance it might be surprising that a Russian would write the best book on the Kingdom. After all, what is the basis for their interest? On second glance however, it is important to recall that Russia has had a long-term interest, even obsession, with the countries on its southern borders, and its famous quest for a warm-water port. So, Vassiliev not only uses the traditional sources of early British, French, Danish, American and German sources, but also references voluminous diplomatic Russian sources, previously unknown to me, in order to describe events in the Arabian peninsula.

Vassiliev "drew me in early" by denouncing one of the earliest promoters of the "fantasy" view of the Kingdom, T.E. Lawrence, more commonly known as "Lawrence of Arabia." In the Notes on Sources, at the very beginning of the book, Vassiliev says, of Lawrence: "...describing events through the prism of his own false pride. His works are of scant scientific significance." The first 200 pages of this 500 page tomb are devoted to events prior to the re-taking of Riyadh, in 1902, by the founder of today's Kingdom, Abdul Aziz ibn Saud. Many traditional accounts of the Kingdom literally start at this point, but educated Saudis are well-aware of the prior two Kingdoms, one even more extensive in terms of geography, than the present country, and dating from the period of the American revolution. Vassiliev covers this period, as well as the subsequent one, in balanced and measured tones, with factually based, and sourced analysis. And sometimes the reader is rewarded with anecdotes that are so relevant today. The following concerns the eponymous founder of the Wahabbi movement (more properly known as Salafis), which Vassiliev attributes to the Hijazi historian Ibn Zaini Dahlan:

"Sulaiman once asked his brother Muhammad, `How many are the pillars of Islam, O Muhammad ibn Abd al-Wahhab?' `Five,' he answered. Sulaiman replied, `No, you have added a sixth one. It reads that one who does not follow you is not a Muslim. To you, it is the sixth pillar of Islam.'

The latter three-fifths of the book covers the creation of today's Kingdom, with the consolidation of political control occurring in the late 20's, the discovery of oil, and its eventual economic transformation of one of the poorer countries in the world into one of the more influential and wealthy ones. It remains an astonishing transformation, and overall, done well, as Vassiliev confirms. In his measured way, Vassiliev takes on the many Cassandras of doom who made "...speculative forecasts about the impending collapse of all the monarchies in the Arabian peninsula...." by saying: "It has now become clear, however, that Saudi Arabia lacked any major social groups that opposed the regime itself rather than its individual measures" (p 464).

There are a few quibbles about the author's work. He will use terms like `henchmen', apparently derived from Philby, which jar in this normally dispassionate account. The last hundred pages or so read like so many economic tables and graphs placed into leaden prose, and they are a slog.

A fellow reviewer, and friend, sometimes questions what he perceives as my unwarranted higher ratings on books, and I think his point is: If it is not an enjoyable, informative read, does it deserve 5-stars? For me, the answer is a definite Yes, if the information obtained has been worth the effort, and may be analogous to the extra effort required to read a book that is not in one's native language. Vassiliev's book is not for the "fun read" crowd, but it is immensely informative about a country that is central to many of the dominant issues of our times. Definitely a solid 5-stars plus, and I await the corrections on my reasoning.

3-0 out of 5 stars good but very flawed
This is an interesting book. The author brings together a great many sources to present a historical analysis of Saudi Arabia. But it is very flawed in fudemental ways. Far too often, the author substitutes his opinions and analysis for a factual/historical presentation.

The economic and social analysis is full of broad conclusions made to fit a narrative. That material, no matter what window-dressing it is given, ends up being nothing more than opinion.

The analysis of Wahhabism and the Saudis is overly simplistic. Presented is the familiar narrative of the "partnership" that conquered arabia. Neglected are the losers and alternatives that were in competition with the Saudis in Arabia. This is very much as the title suggests a history of "Saudi" Arabia rather than Arabia itself.

The book could have been better. It needed to focus more attention on the non-aaudi narratives within arabia: Turkish, British, the western gulf states and the Hashemites. The tendancy to allow the Saudi narrative to dominate the history of Arabia needs to be challenged and re-thought.

5-0 out of 5 stars An excellent, comprehensive tome of history
This is an excellent book on the history of Saudi Arabia, but not a staring place for the casual reader.Serious scholars should love it.Vassiliev provides a comprehensive account of the Saudi Royal family and their alliance with Wahhabi Islam, telling the story of how Saudi Arabia came to be established as a state in 1932.Anyone who has not had any prior exposure to Islam or Saudi Arabia had better start elsewhere, but if you are looking for details on Wahhabi Islam, the Bedouin, or the Saudis, Vassiliev will have many answers for you.In the latter half of the book he become somewhat dry and statistical, but overall this is a very solid presentation on the history of a very important, and little understood country.

5-0 out of 5 stars The true story of Saudi Arabia
If you want one authoritative work about Saudi Arabia and its history, this is the book that you should buy and read.
Vasiliev not only thoroughly documents the history of the kingdom since ancient times and through the rise of preaching radical Wahhabi Islam in 1745, he couples this puritan movement with the socioeconomic trends of the Arabian peninsula resultant of its unfriendly desert weather.
Even for readers familiar with the history of the region, the author makes striking remarks saying that people should understand the Saudi modern history as the function of a unique event in history. Saudis had the most archaic society on the face of earth at the time they received the biggest fortune ever.
Readers might be also surprised to learn that the ruling Saudi family is almost exclusively composed of the sons of the founder and their sons. Another surprising remark the author makes is that, even with the huge budget this kingdom manages, it still has no treasury department.
Not very surprising, however, is the typical third world behavior of Saudi rulers who squandered their suddenly generated fortunes either to buy political loyalties or for self luxury.
The reader might be amazed at how many chances the Saudis have missed to modernize their country and make use of their once unparalleled wealth. Instead, they protected anti-modernization fundamental groups on which the stay of the regime itself depended.

5-0 out of 5 stars Saudi Arabia as you never read it
That's for the moment the best available book on Saudi Arabia. Exceptionally documented, it stages the history of the most mysterious country of the Middle East from the beginning of the eighteenth century until 1998, coping with the socio-economical backgroung of that ideology which is named "wahhabism". It reverses the usual order of analyse, deniyng "islam" to be the only cause of the current shape of Saudi Arabia. A great work. ... Read more

5. History of the Wahabis (Founders of Saudi Arabia)
by Louis Alexander Olivier De Corancez
 Hardcover: 161 Pages (1995-12)
list price: US$69.95 -- used & new: US$64.64
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Asin: 1859640362
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6. The History of Saudi Arabia (The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations)
by Wayne H. Bowen
Hardcover: 176 Pages (2007-12-30)
list price: US$45.00 -- used & new: US$45.00
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Asin: 0313340129
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Modern Saudi Arabia is a nation struggling to adopt its eighteenth-century political and religious system to the demands of the new millennium. Governed by an absolute monarchy, the Saudi state confronts the multiple challenges of globalization with a cautiousness that has characterized its modern history. Unlike in most previous centuries, when events in the peninsula were of little note outside the Islamic world, Arabia is presently a state of critical importance. With the largest share of the world's proven petroleum reserves, a dominant role in OPEC, key political and geographic terrain in the Middle East, the international prominence that comes with controlling the holy cities of Mecca and Medina, and a major role in promoting fundamentalist Wahhabi Islam, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is arguably more significant and relevant to the world than at any time in its history, at least since the lifetime of the Prophet Mohammed during the sixth and seventh centuries. This book examines the history of Saudi Arabia and its attempts to transform to the new world while maintaining its past.

Ideal for students and general readers, The History of Saudi Arabia is part of The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations series. With the histories of nearly 40 nations in print, these books provide readers with a concise, up-to-date history of countries throughout the world. Reference features include a biographical section highlighting famous figures in Saudi Arabian history, a timeline of important historical events, a glossary of terms, and a bibliographical essay with suggestions for further reading.

... Read more

7. Saudi Arabia: Government, Society and the Gulf Crisis
by Mordechai Abir
Hardcover: 269 Pages (1993-03-10)
list price: US$185.00 -- used & new: US$89.99
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Asin: 0415093252
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Mordechai Abir examines the social and political forces that have shaped Saudi Arabia, assessing the impact of Islam and Westernization. He draws heavily on Saudi sources to analyze regional security dilemmas and the future prospects for Saudi Arabia. This revised edition of Abir's influential Saudi Arabia in the Oil Era includes coverage of the 1991 Gulf War and its aftermath. ... Read more

8. The Middle East - Life in Saudi Arabia: Customs, Antics, Traditions, Habits, and Lifestyles of the People that Live, Work, and Play There- a "Westerner's" Perspective
by K. Andrew Pulsifer
Paperback: 384 Pages (2003-05-27)
list price: US$22.95 -- used & new: US$17.59
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Asin: 1410726878
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9. Desert Kingdom: How Oil and Water Forged Modern Saudi Arabia
by Toby Craig Jones
Hardcover: 320 Pages (2010-11-08)
list price: US$29.95 -- used & new: US$21.56
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Asin: 0674049853
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Oil and water, and the science and technology used to harness them, have long been at the heart of political authority in Saudi Arabia. Oil’s abundance, and the fantastic wealth it generated, has been a keystone in the political primacy of the kingdom’s ruling family. The other bedrock element was water, whose importance was measured by its dearth. Over much of the twentieth century, it was through efforts to control and manage oil and water that the modern state of Saudi Arabia emerged.

The central government’s power over water, space, and people expanded steadily over time, enabled by increasing oil revenues. The operations of the Arabian American Oil Company proved critical to expansion and to achieving power over the environment. Political authority in Saudi Arabia took shape through global networks of oil, science, and expertise. And, where oil and water were central to the forging of Saudi authoritarianism, they were also instrumental in shaping politics on the ground. Nowhere was the impact more profound than in the oil-rich Eastern Province, where the politics of oil and water led to a yearning for national belonging and to calls for revolution.

Saudi Arabia is traditionally viewed through the lenses of Islam, tribe, and the economics of oil. Desert Kingdom now provides an alternative history of environmental power and the making of the modern Saudi state. It demonstrates how vital the exploitation of nature and the roles of science and global experts were to the consolidation of political authority in the desert.

... Read more

10. The Creation of Saudi Arabia: Ibn Saud and British Imperial Policy, 1914-1927 (History and Society in the Islamic World)
by Askar H. Al-Enazy
Hardcover: 224 Pages (2009-11-02)
list price: US$120.00 -- used & new: US$115.99
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Asin: 0415453720
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Overturning previous interpretations that see the territorial expansion of the Saudi state between 1915 and 1926 as the result of an aggressive Wahhabi ideology carried out by a politically ambitious Ibn Saud, this book explores the links between Saudi territorial expansion and British Imperial policy.

Depicting this expansion as the outcome of the implementation of Britain’s imperial policy to achieve specific regional military and political objectives in the Middle East, the author examines the Anglo-Saudi legal arrangement which fully integrated Saudi foreign policy into the framework of Britain’s imperial policy system in order to serve specific British military and political objectives in the Middle East concerning primarily, but not exclusively, the occupation of Palestine. The personality of Ibn Saud and his religious ideology of Wahhabism served as most effective policy instruments.The author shows how Ibn saud’s motivation was primarily defensive, preservationist and in agreement with the acquiescent nature of Wahhabism in which absolute obedience to the ruler constitutes its cardinal principle. In this context, he compares its inherently antagonistic attitude towards non-Wahhabi muslims with its fundamentally benevolent outlook towards non-Muslims, particularly western Christian powers.

... Read more

11. The Saudi Enigma: A History
by Pascal Ménoret
Paperback: 256 Pages (2005-08-20)
list price: US$31.95 -- used & new: US$19.39
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Asin: 1842776053
Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars
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Despite speculation about Saudi interests and loyalties that have been directed at the country since 9/11, Arabia remains the key US ally in the Arab Middle East. Ménoret debunks the facile notions about Saudi society, and focuses our attention on present political and economic realities that cannot be reduced to essentialist "tribalist" ideas. Ménoret 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 this accountis 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.
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Customer Reviews (3)

4-0 out of 5 stars An enigma like any other...
Pascal Ménoret is one of only a handful of academic "experts" on Saudi Arabia who has actually lived in the country for more than a few months. In the first chapter he raises a fundamental question that his book attempts to address: "Why are the frameworks used in the West for analysis of the Kingdom so remote from its social, economic and political reality?" Ménoret commences his book by quoting Egyptian writer Ibrahim Abdel-Meguid who set his novel in Tabuk, in the Arabian northwest, and says that the writer "...perceives minute differences and imperceptible nuances. Gradations and variations are everywhere..." and it is in the same spirit that Ménoret, eschewing "black and white, absolute good vs. absolute evil," attempts to address the actual social and political forces that have formed the modern country that is Saudi Arabia.

The author provides a fresh perspective on the Kingdom, making a number of relevant and at times novel points about the forces that created and govern the country. For example, he says that the "Saudis do not call themselves Wahhabbis"; rather they consider the term somewhat blasphemous, preferring "salafiyun." He stresses the point that the founding alliance of the Kingdom was between the Hijaz merchants and the Sauds.I think this is an overstatement, since he would never have reached those merchants if it was not for his Ikhwan warriors. He also asserts, and it is jarring for an American reader, that "Saudi Islamism should be seen not as an upsurge of obscurantism but as a revolt of reason."How can this possibly be?The author makes a reasonable case, as it were, to support this, mainly by saying that those who opposed the pell-mell "modernization" in the `80's, and the rejection of traditional values, did so by using the idiom of their religion, much like an American might have to frame arguments in terms of "market forces" when the underlying issues do not relate directly to either, but essentially involve values that we hold most dear. Another fascinating concept that he observed, unlike the "one week in country" journalists, is what he called the "eroticization" of the veil - a delightful section on page 179. The author developed an understanding of what is involved with Islamic feminism. The author's French, and by extension, European perspective is valuable for the American reader. Numerous references are cited, for example, quoting Montesquieu that "the natural effect of commerce is to spread peace." He also says that the Nedj is the Prussia of Arabia! The lack of an American perspective does produce deficiencies in analysis however, for example on p 140 where he discusses the defects of Saudi agricultural policies, particularly vis-à-vis water, and does not make a similar point about the madness of American agricultural policies, particularly in the West.

Regrettably the book often adopts stilted academic prose, which may, in part, be the fault of the translator. For example: "irenic political history" and "essentially involves a recovery of the heuristic power of Islamic concepts beneath the coating of accumulated tradition and political intervention." Whew!And by far, the most overworked word in the book is "endogenous." The style is a shame, because Ménoret has some valuable insights that need to reach a general reader.

I did find several statements that I would consider errors, and it is ironic in a book that so many times uses "endogenous." Part of the problem seems to be that neither standard English language account on the creation of the Kingdom, Lacey's or Holden and Johns' are listed in the Bibliography. Furthermore Trofimov's excellent "The Siege of Mecca" was published two years after this work, so he could not cite his research. But the author repeatedly asserts the contribution of outside forces at key junctions in Saudi history when others do not. For example: "In 1902 Abdelaziz bin Abd al-Rahman Al Saud retook Riyadh with the help of the same British who..." (p 78) What help?As Nestor Sander says in his biography of the king, "Ibn Saud," when the treaty was signed in 1915 between Britain and Ibn Saud it was the result of 12 years efforts on his part to attract the attention of Britain. At the Battle of Sibila, when Abdul Aziz defeated Ikhwan forces, the author says: "The last Ikhwan were finally overcome in December 1929, when they were pushed south by British machine guns and encircled by British forces and the troops of Abdelaziz." (p 90) What British forces? No one else has ever mentioned them.Concerning the siege of Mecca in 1979, the author says: "The action was eventually terminated only with the help of a French rapid deployment force (the GIGN)..." (p110) Is this the three men who stayed in a hotel room in Taif that Trofimov describes? "The Saudi state cracked down on jihadist circles with the help of the American FBI." (Yes, I saw the movie `The Kingdom' too, and it was only a movie, and a bad one at that.) I also had problems with some other assertions, for example: "In 2003, at the end of twenty years of economic decline..." (p144)What decline?"...for defense against the imperialism of Bedouin tribes..."(p 158)Surely a poor translation. "...polygamy became a common practice in the course of economic growth and social modernization." (p 162) Surely not "common."Ménerot routinely quotes economic and demographic statistics without the slightest caveat. As with such easily manipulated numbers as the US unemployment rate, some healthy skepticism is in order when dealing with official numbers in the Kingdom, including, certainly, the number of books published!

Overall though, the good far outweighs the bad, and the author's outlook and experience in the Kingdom are valuable for the American, and other Western readers. In his conclusion, he reinforces one of his points about the futility, and counter-productivity, of Western efforts to force the Kingdom to "reform." The Saudis know they have numerous problems in their society, like virtually all countries, and they will formulate their own solutions, ones that will be, dare I say it, "endogenous"?

1-0 out of 5 stars Much Non-sense Abounds Herein
As Patrick Clawson says, Saudi Arabia need not be an enigma. French scholar Menoret demonstrates the wide array of information available about Saudi society--from detailed statistics to frank press accounts--on sensitive subjects as well as on the mundane. The picture emerging from his account is in many ways similar to that of other middle-income developing countries. As in most such societies, many are left out of modernization: 55 percent of young Saudis do not complete middle school, showing that the problem with Saudi education is not only its content but its limited reach. Despite this, government schooling has created a mass-educated middle class: by 1996, as many book titles (3,700) were published each year in Saudi Arabia as in the rest of the Arab world combined, other than Egypt and Lebanon. A similar mixed picture characterizes all aspects of Saudi society. Modernization has even reached into homes: the average number of children borne to a women dropped from 8.26 in 1980 to 4.37 in 2000 and appears to be continuing downwards. Yet massively inappropriate government policies--expenditures on all the wrong things, perverse regulations, inappropriate education, feeding of unrealistic expectations, open doors for immigrants--has created a job crisis so severe that only 19 percent of working-age Saudis hold jobs; even among men, the rate is only 32 percent.

If Saudi Arabia remains poorly understood, much of the explanation is that scholars such as Menoret devote their energies to denying the obvious. In the midst of the rich information he provides, Menoret offers such analytical nonsense as, "the evolution of Saudi society owes very little to Islam." Indeed, his main theme is that it is an "essentialist" error to understand Saudi society as being shaped by radical Islam, Bedouin tribalism, and oil wealth--precisely the three forces that have most shaped Saudi Arabia. Even more nonsensically, Menoret blames Islamist terrorism by Saudis not on Salafi Islam but on "the worst features of the West: a crude will to power, corrupt arrangements, police violence and media lies"--as though such features were not amply present in Arabia long before the West arrived in the region. Menoret's mixture of detailed knowledge and stubborn denial of reality should warn off those who think listening to experts would result in improved U.S. policies.

4-0 out of 5 stars Excellent Counter to "Conventional Wisdom"
For anyone interested in Saudi Arabia from the inside, this is a good place to start. Pascal Menoret arrived in Saudi Arabia shortly before 9/11. A member of the French Embassy staff, he was assigned as a teacher of French language courses. This book results from his conversations with his students and families--as well as research. His interlocuters represent a wide cross section of Saudi society, not just the elite and "westernized".

His book shows the complexity of Saudi Arabian society as well as many seemingly paradoxical aspects of it. For instance, he sees (correctly, in my view) fundamentalist Islamism as a "counter culture," challenging the status quo. He identifies (again, correctly) the "women's liberation movement" in Saudi Arabia to be very much a home-grown matter, rejecting the terms of argument and labels projected on Saudi women by women in the West.

I think the book an important contribution to understanding Saudi Arabia. It's marred--to me--by a European point of view regarding the US. It barely misses an opportunity to slam US activities in and policies toward the region in a quasi-Marxist manner, i.e., "all bad."

The book is a bit annoying to read in that it's laced with deconstructionist cant and post-modern sensibilities, but that just makes it a bit harder to read, though no less interesting.

Do take a look at it. It goes a long way to disabuse the concept of Saudi Arabia as a state promoting terror, filled with slathering "Wahhabis" intent on a restoration of the 14th C.
... Read more

12. Saudi-Arabia: Bibliography on Society, Politics, Economics/Saudi-Arabien : Bibliographie Zu (Bibliographies on Regional Geography & Area Studies) (Vol I)
by Hans-Jurgen Philipp
 Hardcover: 405 Pages (1984-09)
list price: US$50.00
Isbn: 3598211341
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13. Najd Before the Salafi Reform Movement: Social Political and Religious Conditions During the Three Centuries Preceding the Rise of the Saudi State
by Uwidah Metaireek Al-Juhany, Uwaidah M. Al Juhany
 Hardcover: 224 Pages (2002-08)
list price: US$69.95 -- used & new: US$48.70
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Asin: 0863724019
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In the middle of the 18th century, a religious reform movement arose in al-Dir'iyyah, a small town in Najd, central Arabia. Founded by Shaykh Muhammad Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab, and politically and militarily supported by Muhammad Ibn Sa'ud, the chief of al-Dir'iyyah, this movement, known as the Salafiyya, called for a return to the pure and original teachings of the Qur'an and the traditions of the Prophet Muhammad. In the later decades of the century, it spread to other parts of Najd, and by the death in 1814 of its third political leader, Sa'ud Ibn 'Abd al-'Aziz, it controlled most of Arabia and imposed peace and order on its people for the first time since the early caliphs of Islam. Despite the central role it has played in the creation of modern Saudi Arabia, the social, political, and religious conditions which led to the emergence of Ibn 'Abd al-Wahhab's Salafi movement are not well understood. They also present something of a historical puzzle, for the Najd of the pre-Salafis was not a centre of religious learning, nor did it contain the kind of large urban communities which might be expected to produce such a movement.In this book Professor Al Juhany brings skilful and painstaking scholarship to bear on the scant and often difficult sources on the study of Najd during the three centuries preceding the rise of the Salafis. The result is a historical narrative that reveals phenomenal developments in the spheres of nomadic migration, settlement, the growth of the sedentary population, and the growth of religious learning. These all combined to produce a new society that had new prospects and expectations by the middle of the 18th century. ... Read more

14. The Making of Saudi Arabia, 1916-1936: From Chieftaincy to Monarchical State (Studies in Middle Eastern History)
by Joseph Kostiner
Hardcover: 272 Pages (1993-12-02)
list price: US$120.00 -- used & new: US$80.00
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Asin: 0195074408
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Editorial Review

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The Making of Saudi Arabia focuses on the transformation of the Saudi state from a loose tribal confederation into a more organized, monarchical state, a process which evolved mainly between 1916 and 1936.The study analyzes the formation and evolution of Saudi Arabia's main state attributes: its territorial hub and borders, central government, and basic social and regional cohesion.Relying on a careful analysis of vast archival and other sources, Joseph Kostiner explains the historical dynamics of the myriad of relations among tribal groups, rulers, and British authorities in the Arabian Peninsula, and the changing nature of local political and social institutions. Contributing both to historical knowledge of the Middle East and to comparative analysis on tribes and states, this book offers new information and understanding of Saudi Arabia, one of the most important states in the Middle East. The strategies and dynamics of Saudi territorial expansion; the subsequent attempts to integrate new regions into a united kingdom; the institutionalization of Islamic and lay ruling bodies; the coexistence among nomadic and town-based populations, and the development of the Saudi "elite" are analyzed. ... Read more

15. Syria and Saudi Arabia: Collaboration and Conflicts in the Oil Era (Library of International Relations)
by Sonoko Sunayama
Hardcover: 288 Pages (2007-06-15)
list price: US$89.00 -- used & new: US$69.12
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Asin: 1845113020
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Editorial Review

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The nature of the relationship between Syria and Saudi Arabia during the oil era poses many questions for the commentators and analysts of inter-Arab politics during this period. Why have these two states pursued mutually conflicting aims in almost every major regional or international foreign policy issue? Why, over the course of the past thirty years, have they often propagated contrasting ideological banners while both acting as though some form of an alignment existed between them? Here Sonoko Sunayama explores the apparent paradox behind this longstanding relationship and argues that what ultimately makes Saudis and Syrians so indispensable to each other is the perception and the historical appeal of Â'shared identities', be they Arabism or Islam.
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16. A History of Saudi Arabia.(Book Review) (book review): An article from: Middle East Policy
by Brooks Wrampelmeier
 Digital: 9 Pages (2003-03-22)
list price: US$5.95 -- used & new: US$5.95
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Asin: B0009FWT00
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Editorial Review

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This digital document is an article from Middle East Policy, published by Middle East Policy Council on March 22, 2003. The length of the article is 2649 words. The page length shown above is based on a typical 300-word page. The article is delivered in HTML format and is available in your Amazon.com Digital Locker immediately after purchase. You can view it with any web browser.

Citation Details
Title: A History of Saudi Arabia.(Book Review) (book review)
Author: Brooks Wrampelmeier
Publication: Middle East Policy (Refereed)
Date: March 22, 2003
Publisher: Middle East Policy Council
Volume: 10Issue: 1Page: 168(4)

Article Type: Book Review

Distributed by Thomson Gale ... Read more

17. Health and Disease in Saudi Arabia (Volume 01); Oral History Transcript: the Aramco Experience, 1940s-1990s | 1998
by Bancroft Library. Regional Office
Paperback: 296 Pages (2010-01-04)
list price: US$37.30 -- used & new: US$37.30
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Asin: 1152283359
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Editorial Review

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Volume: 01Publication date: 0Subjects: Arabian American Oil CompanyHealth -- Saudi ArabiaMedicine -- Saudi ArabiaPhysicians -- InterviewsMedical care -- Saudi ArabiaPetroleum industry and trade -- Medical careSaudi Arabia -- Social conditionsNotes: This is an OCR reprint. There may be numerous typos or missing text. There are no illustrations or indexes.When you buy the General Books edition of this book you get free trial access to Million-Books.com where you can select from more than a million books for free. You can also preview the book there. ... Read more

18. Kings and Camels: An American in Saudi Arabia
by Grant C. Butler
Paperback: 124 Pages (2008-03-30)
list price: US$34.95 -- used & new: US$30.95
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Asin: 1859642004
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Editorial Review

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First published in 1960, "Kings and Camels" is a straightforward account of how an American went to work in Saudi Arabia and came home to America to realize how little the average American appreciated the strategic importance of the area and, more crucially still, how little he understood the people in the area. Butler presents his material in the form of an informal account of his personal experiences in the Middle East, both while he lived there, working for the Arabian American Oil Company (ARAMCO), and as a successful lecturer and writer who has returned to the area often.The book goes behind the scenes in the Arab world, and into private audience with the legendary Ibn Saud. It explains Islam, the religion of the Arabs. It introduces the reader to the desert Bedouin, and the Arab of the cities. It focuses on human interest, on the Americans who lived and worked in Saudi Arabia. Above all, the book's emphasis is on the cultivation of understanding between the American and Arab peoples. It points out how vital such understanding is to Saudi Arabia, to the Arabs themselves, and to Americans. ... Read more

19. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (Arabian Library)
by Norman Anderson
Hardcover: 256 Pages (1997-06)
list price: US$50.00 -- used & new: US$20.00
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Asin: 0905743679
Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars
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Editorial Review

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As the world's largest exporter of petroleum and oil, one of the richest countries in the world, and the supreme fountainhead of Islam, Saudi Arabia is without doubt a most powerful, fascinating and complex place.This book is the comprehensive reference work on Saudi ARabia, providing an overarching view to encompass the history, culture, religion, economy, government, and future development of the country.Enlivened throughout with high quality photographs, charts and maps this book is at once authoritative and accessible. ... Read more

Customer Reviews (1)

5-0 out of 5 stars An imaginary journey to Saudi
An excellent description about the country, unaccessible for non-muslim tourists. Includes detailled information about geology, geography, history, religion, tradition, architecture, regions of the today country and the leading dynastie. Good fotos, nice print. ... Read more

20. The Role of Multinational Companies in the Middle East: The Case of Saudi Arabia
by Mamarinta P. Mababaya
Paperback: 488 Pages (2003-01)
list price: US$39.95 -- used & new: US$39.95
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Asin: 1581121725
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Editorial Review

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This study investigated whether known economic and international business theories available in the literature are meaningful enough to explain the nature, existence and role of multinational companies (MNCs) in the Middle East, particularly Saudi Arabia. Two sets of questionnaires were distributed in major cities of Saudi Arabia -- one set for 100 multinational managers and another for 280 multinational customers. 234 questionnaires were collected -- 45 from multinational managers and 189 from customers. This represents a total response rate of 62 percent, which is adequate for this study. The empirical results, supported with comprehensive secondary data, confirmed virtually all of the research hypotheses. The study found that joint ventures are the dominant form of multinational business in Saudi Arabia, both in manufacturing and service industries. The core roles of MNCs in the Saudi-foreign ventures are evident in the cross-border value-adding activities of marketing, trading, manufacturing, consulting, contracting, project management, insurance, hotel operation and banking. The results indicate that the business success of multinationals operating in Saudi Arabia is positively related to their local cultural awareness and responsiveness. Along this line, this study covers some vital elements of Islamic culture, which will help MNCs understand further the cultural needs, values and sensitivities of the Saudi people and Muslims in general. ... Read more

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