- Paperback: 432 pages
- Publisher: Arrow (5 Aug. 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0099539055
- ISBN-13: 978-0099539056
- Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.8 x 19.9 cm
- Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars See all reviews (53 customer reviews)
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 16,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Inside the Kingdom Paperback – 5 Aug 2010
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"Beautifully written and thought-provoking ... Robert Lacey has written a highly accomplished book which should go into the bags of anyone who has to travel to the kingdom" (Literary Review)
"Compelling ... [I] know of no book that captures so convincingly the intimate connection between the kingdom and the rise of al-Qaeda and its jihadist ideology...What distinguishes Mr Lacey's account is his use of Saudi voices - many of them, even in this most reticent of cultures, on the record - to anatomise a deeply rooted culture of intolerance" (Economist)
"Incisive ... The real triumph of this book ... is the way it peels away the layers of mystery that shroud a civil society of which we have almost no knowledge" (Sunday Times)
The complex story of what's been happening within Saudi Arabia - while the West wasn't lookingSee all Product description
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Top Customer Reviews
How does a Royal Kingdom of such overt wealth and power encompass Mecca , the home of the Muslem faith, and sustain such fierce religious adherence.
The skills and wisdom with which the successive kings worked with and listened carefully to the powerful religious leaders is dissected - Robert Lacey certainly seems to have developed exceptional access to the leading players. The kings are elected in an unexpectedly democratic manner from the various strands of nobility and come with different strengths. As the Saudi proverb goes:
If you did not go hungry in the reign of King Abdul Aziz, you would never go hungry (This is the king who conquered surrounding kingdoms to create the vast Saudi Arabia as recently as 1932)
If you did not have fun in the reign of Kin Saud, you would never have fun
If you did not go to prison in the reign of King Faisal, you would never go to prison
If you did not make money in the reign of King Khaled, you would never make money
If you did not go bankrupt in the reign of King Fahd.....
That is about as far as it goes although, for my money, King Abdullah, the present king comes out the shrewdest.
Starting in 1977, Islam fundamentalism, organised by Juhayman, rose against the Saudi royal family: "The Al-Saud had exploited religion as a means to guarantee their worldly interests, putting an end to Jihad , paying allegiance to the Christians (America) and bringing evil and corruption upon the muslims". The ambitions of the Muslim Brotherhood were to re-establish the order of Allah.Read more ›
the luxury they live in is astounding.The control through fear of upsetting the wrong member of the family can be brutal
Lacey describes Saudi Arabia through a series of loosely linked journalistic vignettes and case studies (" think tanks and foreign affairs societies can offer statistics and analyses aplenty," he observes). He introduces us to terrorists, holy men, secret policemen, reformers both male and female, a former Guantanamo inmate, a rape victim (who suffers more perhaps in the social aftermath than in the crime itself) and even princes and kings, both corrupt and benign. Lacey has penetrated deep into the psyche of the Kingdom, and he takes us with him. His overall tone is respectful and even empathic. This makes his picture all the more unsettling.
The central strand of Lacey's episodic narrative is the tight alliance of convenience between the Al Saud and the Wahhabi clerisy (named after the eighteenth century cleric, Muhammad ibn Abd-al-Wahhab). The terms were straightforward: in return for supporting the dynasty's temporal rule (and disportionate access to the nation's wealth), the Wahhabis would be given supreme authority in matters spiritual, a sphere to which they gave a broad and in some regards an arguably un-Islamic definition. This deal was first struck at the formation of the first Kingdom in 1774 and was reasserted on the formation of the modern state in 1932 by King Abdul Aziz.Read more ›
An excellent read, and well recommended for anyone who wants to understand the country, its Islamic traditions, and its relationship with the US.
What is perhaps more interesting is the power play between the House of Saud and the religious sheikhs (ulema). King Abdullah's push for reforms certainly makes a western audience support his cause but Lacey forms a good question with his last chapters. Would we support a dictator who wants westernising reform or a democracy that would undoubtably be radical and religious? Are we supporters of democracy or rather western ideals? The case of King Abdullah (exemplified in his intervention of a rape victim being punished) makes the latter seem to take precedent over the former.
If this brief account has piqued your interest, do read the book!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Robert Lacey's 'Inside the Kingdom' is a masterly sequel to his first book about Saudi Arabia, 'The Kingdom', written and published when I was working as a banker in Jeddah, in the... Read morePublished 4 months ago by CA
Having worked in Saudi for 7 years, I can say that this book has been well written and is (mostly) a fair and balanced portrayal of life in the 'Magic Kingdom'
While... Read more
A very entertaining and easy to read account of the roots of terrorism by people who call themselves muslims and the ongoing relationship between wahabism and the Al Sauds since... Read morePublished 17 months ago by Amazon Customer
Fascinating and well-written. A balanced and fair history of Saudi Arabia, its rulers and religious struggles. Reads like a thriller. I found it hard to put down. Read morePublished 18 months ago by Mark