An important U.S. ally in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia is a mysterious land to most Americans, who may know it only as the place where Islam originated and Islamic fundamentalism is a powerful force. In recent years, the relationship between the governments of the United States and Saudi Arabia has come under increasing scrutiny, and among the general public in the United States there is a need and desire for a greater understanding of Saudi Arabia. A language barrier and the closed nature of the Saudi Arabian society have done little to invite or ease open inquiry to all but trained academics and linguists. A Brief History of Saudi Arabia redresses the lack of suitable references to this unique and important country and offers a balanced, informed perspective on its long history. This readable and comprehensive overview of the history of Saudi Arabia places the political, economic, and cultural events of today into a broad historical context. It provides a concise yet thorough account of the genesis of Saudi Arabia, from the geology of its land mass and its settlement in prehistoric times through recent events that have reminded the world of Saudi Arabia's strategic importance to global peace and stability.