Saudi Arabia is a country in transition, slowly but steadily changing from within and increasingly flexing its muscle and influence regionally. The country has entered the new century as a pivotal regional power. As the birthplace of Islam, it remains a powerful moral leader of the Muslim world, particularly the Arab arena. Its response to domestic terrorism has shown that the monarchy has the drive to confront destabilizing elements within its borders and the increasing value of its oil has provided financial and political security at home. Yet Saudi Arabia still faces the challenges of unemployment for many of its citizens, and its education system makes it difficult for Saudi youth to compete in the global market. While the country held its first elections in history in 2005, the war in Iraq has deepened the divide between Sunni and Shiite policies.
From Saudi Arabia's pre-Islamic history to the events of today, A Brief History of Saudi Arabia, Second Edition offers a balanced, informative perspective on the country's long history. Complete with black-and-white illustrations, maps, charts, a chronology, and basic facts, this comprehensive overview of the history of Saudi Arabia places the political, economic, and cultural events of today into a broad historical context.
- Pre-Islamic Arabia
- Bedouin society and culture
- The birth and spread of Islam
- The development of and philosophy behind Wahhabism
- The origins of the House of Saud
- Saudi Arabia's role in the Middle East
- Saudi Arabia's relationship to the United States
- The battle between conservative and progressive elements in the monarchy today
- The reign of King Abdullah.
Black-and-white photographs and illustrations. Maps. Charts. Index. Bibliography. Glossary. Suggested reading. Chronology. Basic facts. Sidebars. Tables.
About the Author(s)
Author and journalist James Wynbrandt began studying Arabic in Damascus before continuing study on that region's language and history at New York University's Hagop Kevorkian Center for Middle Eastern Studies. His work has appeared in The New York Times, Management Review, Forbes, Smithsonian Air & Space, and many other national publications. He is the author of A Brief History of Pakistan for Facts On File, and he resides in New York City.
Foreword author Fawaz A. Gerges has been appointed Chair at the London School of Economics and Political Science. He obtained an M.Sci. from London School of Economics and a D.Phil. from Oxford University. A consultant and regular commentator for ABC News, Gerges has appeared on many television and radio networks throughout the world, including CNN, CBS, NPR, and the BBC. He has taught at Oxford and Harvard universities and was a research fellow at Princeton University before becoming Christian A. Johnson Chairholder in International Affairs and Middle Eastern Studies at Sarah Lawrence College. He is the author of several books on Islam and America, and his articles and essays have appeared in Foreign Affairs, Foreign Policy, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Los Angeles Times, The Christian Science Monitor, and The International Herald Tribune.