The Saudi Enigma: A History

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Zed Books, Aug 20, 2005 - History - 257 pages
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 account is 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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User Review  - waleed - LibraryThing

The author is a personal friend of mine. He spent one year in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia mingling with the locals to get a direct feel of the Saudi society. Through his friendships he discovered a society ... Read full review

Contents

Osama bin Laden and Saudi Arabia
5
The island of the Arabs
15
Contempt for history
25
An unattainable national identity?
31
Modernity and tradition
39
The Najd revolution
47
Genesis and structure of the modern state 19021973
71
From Ottoman domination to the British demiurge
78
Atomized families
162
The invention of tradition
168
The nagging question of womens status
174
The veil and Islam
180
The Gulf War generation
189
A shipwrecked youth
195
What reform of education?
201
Conclusion
208

Twilight of the Bedouins
86
Hijaz merchants and the Sauds
92
We are progressives by virtue of our Islam
99
From the era of opulence to the age of need
133
An ambiguous social modernization
153
from the Riyadh Spring to reform from
215
Chronology
222
Notes
228
Select bibliography
246
Copyright

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About the author (2005)

Pascal Ménoret worked as a French civil servant with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and was attache to the French Embassy in Riyadh, beginning a few days after September 11, 2001.

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