Black Wave

Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry that Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East
Narrated by: Kim Ghattas, Nan McNamara
Length: 16 hrs and 33 mins
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (41 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Kim Ghattas delivers a gripping account of the largely unexplored story of the rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran, born from the sparks of the 1979 Iranian revolution and fueled by American policy.

With vivid story-telling, extensive historical research and on-the-ground reporting, Ghattas dispels accepted truths about a region she calls home. She explores how Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, once allies and twin pillars of US strategy in the region, became mortal enemies after 1979. She shows how they used and distorted religion in a competition that went well beyond geopolitics. Feeding intolerance, suppressing cultural expression, and encouraging sectarian violence from Egypt to Pakistan, the war for cultural supremacy led to Iran's fatwa against author Salman Rushdie, the assassination of countless intellectuals, the birth of groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the September 11th terrorist attacks, and the rise of ISIS.

Ghattas also introduces us to a riveting cast of characters whose lives were upended by the geopolitical drama over four decades: from the Pakistani television anchor who defied her country's dictator, to the Egyptian novelist thrown in jail for indecent writings all the way to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018.

©2020 Kim Ghattas (P)2020 HighBridge, a division of Recorded Books

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Sunni Shia Divide and the World Order

Black Wave, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry that Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East. Written by Kim Ghattas, and narrated by Kim Ghattas, Nan McNamara. A full-throated history accompanied by an explanation of the underlying theories causing the Sunni - Shia confrontation of Islam and its effect on World Order.

The book lays out the modern history of the initial development of the Sunni – Shia (Saudi-Persian) confrontation the author claims had its present-day origins in the late 1970s. The book, though, is so much better than my simplified statement on the present-day status of the clash. It provides the reader with an analysis of the individual people and their political circumstances that ignited these great theocratic and philosophical arguments and then lays out how those opinions brought about mass movements by large numbers of peoples, as well as the results of those human trends and their effect on World Order. The author goes even further to then explain how the autocratic power brokers took advantage of the trends and came to power and how they held that power; or not. The historic tale reads like a cliff hanger. The book is a page-turner. For example, the manner in which the author Ghattas, demonstrates how the Shia-Alawis axis came into being is both dramatic and serendipitous. Great read; and even better literate study that will provide an understanding of forces emanating from the middle east and effecting World Order.

4 people found this helpful

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Intriguing!!!

I came across this title while listening to an interview of Kim Ghattas on Sirius XM POTUS and was immediately drawn into the subject. I have lived through much of the timeline when a lot of the changes were taking place, but did not really have much in the way of details, understanding of the motivations of the key players or their impact on the region. This book is incredibly comprehensive in laying out the development of the Middle East region and how it became what it is today, and maintains an optimism for the future.

I highly recommend this well thought-out presentation and I will definitely be listening again.

2 people found this helpful

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Excellent

This was an excellent book on the Middle East and ideological battle between Saudi Arabia and Iran since 1979. The author has an excellent understanding of the area and times. I do think she is too optimistic about the ability of Middle East states to break out of the strong man/dictatorship historical trend of the last couple hundred years. Most of the hopeful individuals she cites at the end of the book are excited, not able to remain in their native countries unfortunately. I look forward to other books by this author.

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Unveiling the darkness of the Middle East

I don’t usually call a book “important” but I do feel like the information conveyed throughout Black Wave is essential for modern Americans. I am in my mid 30s, and almost my entire cognitive life, the American military has been campaigning across the Middle East. There have only been a few years of my life that America was not in an open war against Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, or carrying out other missions in Libya, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Lebanon or Syria. Despite this ongoing war effort, I had never been able to answer the questions “what are America’s objectives in the Middle East? Who are our allies and enemies? Why?” This book helped to de-shroud some of that mystery and showed me the deeper history and inter-tangled rats-nests that have kept our troops in the region. I am no closer to a solution to the problems there, but I do feel like I understand the situation much better.

As an English-only American, I frequently stumble on stories about the Middle East because some of the names and places seem so foreign that I could never really understand what was happening. This book helped to change that. I am immensely grateful to Kim Ghattas for putting together this essential tome which could help provide clarity for the common man and, hopefully, some people with the powers to fix the situation.


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Well researched and entertaining.

Well researched and entertaining. As someone who is from the middle east, specifically Iran, I was familiar with most of the stories, some of them with my sole and flesh. Still interesting to see the perspective of someone with the authur's background.

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An important book to read

Excellent. An amazing and important book to read. The author has provided in candid terms what people throughout the world should know and learn about a part of world that is complicated by religion and modernism, the two great forces of our time shown in its extreme