Saudi Arabia is a country in transition, slowly but steadily changing from within and increasingly flexing its muscle and influence regionally. The country has entered the new century as a pivotal regional power. As the birthplace of Islam, it remains a powerful moral leader of the Muslim world, particularly the Arab arena. Its response to domestic terrorism has shown that the monarchy has the drive to confront destabilising elements within its borders and the increasing value of its oil has provided financial and political security at home. Yet Saudi Arabia still faces the challenges of unemployment for many of its citizens, and its education system makes it difficult for Saudi youth to compete in the global market. While the country held its first elections in history in 2005, the war in Iraq has deepened the divide between Sunni and Shiite policies.
From Saudi Arabia's pre-Islamic history to the events of today, this book offers a balanced, informative perspective on the country's long history. Complete with black-and-white illustrations, maps, charts, a chronology, and basic facts, this comprehensive overview of the history of Saudi Arabia places the political, economic, and cultural events of today into a broad historical context.
James Wynbrandt, a writer and journalist, is the author of A Brief History of Saudi Arabia for Facts On File and Flying High, a biography of JetBlue founder David Neeleman. Wynbrandt began studying Arabic in Damascus before continuing study on that region's language and history at New York University's Hagop Kevorkian Center for Near Eastern Studies. As a journalist, his work has appeared in The New York Times, Management Review, Forbes, Smithsonian Air & Space, and many other national publications. He lives in New York City.