The iconic deserts of the American southwest could not have been colonized and settled without the help of desert experts from the Middle East. For example: In 1856, a caravan of thirty-three camels arrived in Indianola, Texas, led by a Syrian cameleer the Americans called “Hi Jolly.” This “camel corps,” the US government hoped, could help the army secure the new southwest swath of the country just wrested from Mexico. Though the dream of the camel corps – and sadly, the camels – died, the idea of drawing on expertise, knowledge, and practices from the desert countries of the Middle East did not. […Learn More]
The Prophet Muhammad taught the word of God to the Arabs. Within a generation of his death, his followers – as vivid a cast of heroic individuals as history has known – had exploded out of Arabia to confront the two great superpowers of the seventh-century and establish Islam and a new civilization. […Learn More]
In this wide-ranging history of the African diaspora and slavery in Arabia in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Matthew S. Hopper examines the interconnected themes of enslavement, globalization, and empire and challenges previously held conventions regarding Middle Eastern slavery and British imperialism. Whereas conventional historiography regards the Indian Ocean slave trade as fundamentally different from its Atlantic counterpart, Hopper’s study argues that both systems were influenced by global economic forces. […Learn More]
Something extraordinary is happening in Saudi Arabia. A traditional, tribal society once known for its lack of tolerance is rapidly implementing significant economic and social reforms. An army of foreign consultants is rewriting the social contract, King Salman has cracked down hard on corruption, and his dynamic though inexperienced son, the Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman, is promoting a more tolerant Islam. But is all this a new vision for Saudi Arabia or merely a mirage likely to dissolve into Iranian-style revolution? […Learn More]
A bracing corrective to the myths that have shaped economic, military, and diplomatic policy, dispelling our oil-soaked fantasies of dependence.
There is a conventional wisdom about oil—that the U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf is what guarantees access to this strategic resource; that the “special” relationship with Saudi Arabia is necessary to stabilize an otherwise volatile market; and that these assumptions in turn provide Washington enormous leverage over Europe and Asia. Except, the conventional wisdom is wrong. […Learn More]
Since the mid-twentieth century, the United States and Saudi Arabia have built a close but often troubled alliance. In this critical history, Victor McFarland reveals the deep ties binding the leaders of the two nations.
Connecting foreign relations and domestic politics, McFarland challenges the view that the U.S.-Saudi alliance is the inevitable consequence of American energy demand and Saudi Arabia’s huge oil reserves. Oil Powers traces the growth of the alliance through a dense web of political, economic, and social connections that bolstered royal and executive power and the national-security state. […Learn More]
From award-winning Wall Street Journal reporters Justin Scheck & Bradley Hope (coauthor of Billion Dollar Whale), this revelatory look at the world’s most powerful ruling family reveals how a rift within Saudi Arabian royalty produced Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, a charismatic leader with a ruthless streak. […Learn More]
Kim Ghattas seamlessly weaves together history, geopolitics, and culture to deliver a gripping read of the largely unexplored story of the rivalry between 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. […Learn More]
MBS is the untold story of how a mysterious young prince emerged from Saudi Arabia’s sprawling royal family to overhaul the economy and society of the richest country in the Middle East—and gather as much power as possible into his own hands. Since his father, King Salman, ascended to the throne in 2015, Mohammed bin Salman has leveraged his influence to restructure the kingdom’s economy, loosen its strict Islamic social codes, and confront its enemies around the region, especially Iran. […Learn More]