Inside The Kingdom by Robert Lacey is a comprehensive and insightful look at Saudi Arabia. The book explores the paradoxical nature of the country, which is a modern state with vast oil deposits but is also driven by a powerful religious establishment that seeks to roll back customs and practices to match those of the prophet Muhammad.
Lacey draws on years of access to every circle of Saudi society, giving readers the fullest portrait yet of the nation’s princes and paupers, its clerics and progressives.
The book covers the rise of Sunni jihad terrorism, Wahhabism, Al Qaeda, and Bin Laden, as well as the struggle between Islamic fundamentalists and modernists in Saudi Arabia. It traces a path through the Persian Gulf War and the events of 9/11 to the oil market convulsions of today, providing a modern history of the Saudis in their own words.
The struggle of the Saudis to reconcile life under religious law with the demands of a rapidly changing world will have powerful reverberations around the globe, and this rich work provides a penetrating look at a country no one can afford to ignore.
What I Liked
I liked how the book was such a nuanced look at a complicated place with outsize importance in the world.
What I Did Not Like
Nothing – great read.