A history of the most profitable company in the world, Saudi Aramco, and the story behind the family that ruthlessly maneuvered to control this multi-trillion dollar enterprise.
The Saudi royal family and Aramco leadership are, and almost always have been, motivated by ambitions of long-term strength and profit. They use Islamic law, traditional ideology, and harsh justice to maintain stability and their own power, but underneath the thobes and abayas and behind the religious fanaticism and illiberalism lies a most sophisticated and ruthless business enterprise. Today, that corporation is poised to pull off the biggest IPO in history.
Over more than a century, fed by ambition and oil wealth, al Saud, as the royal family is known, has come from next to nothing to rule as absolute monarchs, a contrast with the world around them and modernity itself. The story starts with Saudi Arabia's founder, Abdul Aziz, a lowly refugee embarking on a daring gambit to reconquer his family's ancestral home?the mud-walled city of Riyadh. It takes readers almost to present day, when the multinational family business has made al Saud the wealthiest family in the world and on the cusp of a new transformation.
Now al Saud and its family business, Aramco, are embarking on their most ambitious move: taking the company public and preparing the country for the next generation.
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Table of Contents
Prologue: The Refugee Becomes King ix
Part 1 1
1 "A Devil Of A Time" 3
2 The Americans In King Ibn Saud's Court 24
3 Actual Accrued Benefit 49
4 An Arabian Dawn 78
Part II 101
5 He Met His Duty 103
6 Putting The House In Order 120
7 Wahhabism, Women, Westerners, And Riyals 146
Part III 177
8 "Masters Of Our Own Commodity" 179
9 "Nationalization Was Not The Thing At All" 202
10 "Barrels Of Oil and Gigawatts Of Power" 225
Epilogue: For Their Sons 253
Note On sources 267