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Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia

Overview

"Saudi Arabia is a country defined by paradox: It sits atop some of the richest oil deposits in the world and yet its roiling disaffection produced fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. It is a modern state, where wealthy princes and tycoons raise futuristic cities in the desert, and yet its powerful religious establishment would roll back its values fourteen hundred years to the time of the Prophet Mohammed. To fully understand our interdependent twenty-first-century world, we must understand Saudi Arabia." With Inside the Kingdom, author

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Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia

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Overview

"Saudi Arabia is a country defined by paradox: It sits atop some of the richest oil deposits in the world and yet its roiling disaffection produced fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. It is a modern state, where wealthy princes and tycoons raise futuristic cities in the desert, and yet its powerful religious establishment would roll back its values fourteen hundred years to the time of the Prophet Mohammed. To fully understand our interdependent twenty-first-century world, we must understand Saudi Arabia." With Inside the Kingdom, author Robert Lacey gives readers a remarkable portrait in full of this most enigmatic of lands. More than twenty years after moving to Saudi Arabia during the oil boom to write his groundbreaking epic The Kingdom, Lacey returned to live once again among the princes and the paupers, the clerics and the progressives. What he found was a society slowly recovering from the past. In this recounting, which takes us from the bloody seizure of Mecca's Grand Mosque in 1979 to the deepening of U.S.-Saudi relations during the Gulf War of 1991 to the fostering of a new generation of Islamic holy warriors led by Osama bin Laden, Lacey shows how Saudi Arabia came to the precipice at which it now stands, struggling to learn how not to be at war with itself.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Lacey (The Kingdom) delves into the paradoxes in Saudi society—where women are forbidden to drive but are more likely to attend universities than men—and why this nation yielded most of the terrorist team on September 11, Osama bin Laden and one of the largest group of foreign fighters sent to Guantánamo from Afghanistan. Lacey's conversational tone and anecdotal approach to storytelling and analysis gives us a vivid portrait of personal and political life in Saudi Arabia's public and personal spheres, the traditions that govern everyday life, the country's journey from relative liberalism on the tide of extreme oil wealth in the 1980s to a resurgence of traditionalism. Lacey shows us a land where the governing dynasty gives rehabilitated Guantánamo returnees an $18,000 stipend toward their marriage dowry, and 15 young girls died in a schoolhouse fire in 2002 because they were not properly veiled, and religious police forbade them to escape and prevented firefighters from entering the burning building. Lacey's eye for sweeping trends and the telling detail combined with the depth, breadth and evenhandedness of his research makes for an indispensable guide. (Oct.)
Kirkus Reviews
A lucid exploration of profound divisions in Saudi society, many of which are of immediate concern to the West. Dismissing an American editor's characterization of his subjects as a "bunch of camel jockeys," Arabia expert Lacey (Great Tales from English History, Volume 3, 2006, etc.) accords great respect to the House of Saud, which knitted three distinct nations into modern Saudi Arabia. Yet, the author speculates, without Saud's rise, "the horrors of 9/11 would never have been inflicted on the United States, since Osama Bin Laden's poisonous hostility to the west was a brew that only Saudi Arabia could have concocted." Lacey patiently explains the rise of Wahhabist orthodoxy and its puritanical view of the world, in which so slight an infraction as enjoying music would earn a Muslim a spot in the inferno. That orthodoxy, ultimately, underlies the jihadist aspirations of bin Laden and al-Qaeda, who want ensure that such infractions are properly punished on Earth. The Saudi royal family-of whom bin Laden is a distant cousin-does not go uncriticized by the Wahhabist mullahs. Provocatively, Lacey explores the Sunni-Shia split in Saudi society, noting that the despised Shia minority was quick to come to the nation's defense during the Gulf War, even as the Wahhabists decried the presence of American troops on Saudi soil and encouraged resistance. The author also describes the assassination of Shia saint Ali as "one of the earliest victims of Islamic terrorism"-a statement that should cause a stir in Riyadh. What should win him respect there, however, is his evenhanded treatment of Saudi efforts to introduce modernizing reforms and to curb homegrown terrorism in the wake of 9/11, includingthe rehabilitation of jihadists released from Guantanamo. Lacey concludes by noting that Saudi Arabia, once believed to be a steadfast ally of the West, has been forging links with new partners-especially China-that will change geopolitics in the years to come. A culturally sensitive portrayal of a troubled-and potentially troublesome-region.
From the Publisher
"This is high drama and an epic tale. Dazzling—-on every level." —-Tom Brokaw
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781400113378
  • Publisher: Tantor Media, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2009
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged, 12 CDs, 14 hrs 30 min
  • Product dimensions: 6.50 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author


Robert Lacey is a British historian and the author of twenty books, including Majesty, The Year 1000, and the New York Times bestseller The Kingdom.

Stephen Hoye has won more than a dozen AudioFile Earphones Awards and two prestigious APA Audie Awards, including one for Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. He has recorded many other notable titles, such as Every Second Counts by Lance Armstrong and The Google Story by David A. Vise and Mark Malseed.

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Table of Contents

Map: Saudi Arabia and Its Neighbors

Preface: Welcome to the Kingdom

Family Tree: Rulers of the Kingdom

Note on the Islamic Calendar

Pt. 1 Kingdom of God

1 Angry Face 3

2 The Brothers 14

3 Siege 24

4 No Sunni, No Shia 37

5 Vox Populi, Vox Dei 46

6 Salafi Soccer 54

7 Jihad in Afghanistan 62

8 Special Relationship 68

9 Dawn Visitors 78

10 Stars in the Heavens 86

11 Into Exile 97

12 The Dove and the East Wind 105

13 Vacationing Jihadi 114

Pt. 2 Kingdom at War

14 Desert Storm 127

15 Battle for Al-Khafji 141

16 Awakening 148

17 Stopping the Sins 157

18 In from the Cold 167

19 Change of Heart 174

20 Enter the Crown Prince 180

21 The Students 193

22 Infinite Reach 204

23 New Century 214

Pt. 3 Al-Qaeda Comes Home

24 Fifteen Flying Saudis 225

25 Fire 237

26 Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula 244

27 Prodigal Sons 253

28 King Abdullah 264

29 Girls of Saudi 274

30 Illegitimate Occupation 284

31 End of the Affair 292

32 Condition of the People 303

Epilogue 316

Time Line 333

Glossary of Names and Arabic Terms 335

Notes 343

Suggested Reading 377

Acknowledgments 381

General Index 389

House of Saud Index 401

Photographic Sources 403

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 9 of 8 Customer Reviews
  • Posted February 16, 2012

    Very detailed view of Saudi Arabia

    This was a well written book about the history, the culture and the royalty of Saudia Arabia. The book reads like it was written by a Saudi citizen. The author captures all kinds of details and historical nuances. Kept my attention and interest very well. The only thing that bothered me a little was the lack of critique against radical Islam. He talks about it but never makes a value judgement. A summation at the end of how western civilization compares favorably to the islamic culture would have helped. I felt like he was either co-opted by the culture a bit or was trying to hard not to be negative (although there is ample material for it).

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2010

    Fantastic book!

    Provided insight on historical and political aspects of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its royal family. Clear, concise and informative. A great read.

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    Posted April 5, 2010

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