The Kingdom is the story of a country - a country of astonishing contrasts, where routine computer printouts open with the words “In the name of God,” where men who grew up in goat-hair tents now dominate the money markets of the world, and where murderers and adulterers are publicly executed in the street. By its own reckoning, this country is just entering the 15th century.
The Kingdom is also the story of a family - a family that has fought its way from poverty and obscurity into wealth and power the likes of which the world has never known, a family characterized by fierce loyalty among its members, ruthlessness toward its enemies, and dedication to one of the world’s most severe and demanding creeds.
The Kingdom is Saudi Arabia - the only country in the world to bear the name of the family that rules it.
©1981 Robert Lacey (P)2000 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
“In Saudi Arabia, Robert Lacey had the kind of access most journalists only dream of.” (David Brancaccio)
“Frederick Davidson’s well-paced, crisp, and forthright reading commands the listener’s attention.” (AudioFile)
“[Lacey’s] grasp of Saudi thinking and purposes is most intensely felt in the final, 1973-and-after, section—where he is able to make sympathetically intelligible, even inescapable, everything from the oil boycott to the Saudis’ nonconservation of their one valuable resource, from their tolerance of internal dissidence to their outrage at the TV-film Death of a Princess.” (Kirkus Reviews)
Writing this review is very hard. I lived in Saudi Arabia for 10 years and was eager to read the sections on Abdual Aziaz early conquest of the kingdom and the dealings with I'quan, especially since the later topic was almost a taboo topic among the generation of Saudis old enough to remember them The book also does a good job at explaining the pivital role played the late king Fisal, love him or hate him he is critical to any history of the kingdom.
The problems with the book are two fold.the first is with the text, it almost too detailed. the names often run together even though I knew the major players I found myself rewinding and having trouble keeping track of who was being talked about. the second problem is the narration Fredrick Davidson reads in a dry laconic style which with a book this long it can become dull to listen for long periods.
While the the book was good and informative I find it hard to recommend the book to wide audience given the esoteric nature of the topic but for those interested in the kingdom this book is full of good tidbits and follows a logical pattern but for those looking for an introduction I recommend Lacy's 2009 follow up to this book inside the kingdom
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