Monday, May 16

Book: A Brief History of Saudi Arabia, James Wynbrandt

The thing I've found about history books in general is that you can't really take them as gospel. Perhaps it was just me who did this, but once you realise that these books have been written by humans each capable of making mistakes and some with agendas of their own, you also realise that their books will reflect these qualities also. I guess what I'm saying is that one should never just stick to a single source of subjective information, and further that it's ok to pick and choose what you believe.

Having said that, A Brief History is pretty good. I had issues with some of the earlier coverage regarding the life of the prophet etc since it at times contradicted what I had learned elsewhere from various other sources. However, once you get past that era, and particularly the more recent history of around the 1700+, things become pretty interesting. For a start it's amazing to imagine an Arabian Peninsular without oil wealth or the countries which make it up.

Well written (it seems to be aimed at the casual reader over the academic historian), well annotated and well diagrammed, the book is well recommended by me for those who want a layman's insight to Saudi and it's neighbours.

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