The importance of the region that is recognised today as Saudi Arabia (with its neighbours) can hardly be underestimated, let alone overlooked by the rest of the world, not merely because of its geographical location and religious significance to a large segment of the world's population due to the location of Islam's two holiest shrines in Makkah and al-Madinah, and for economic and political reasons too, for it has the world's largest known reserves of energy. This book attempts to trace and explain the rise, fall - then rise and fall again - and rise of the Saudi polity in the Arabian Peninsula, and explores the role played throughout these events by Shaykh Muhammad bin Abdal-Wahhab and his 'Call' for religious and social reform. Not since the writings of Philby five decades ago has a book exploring the history of such a politically important and sensitive region, and in such a comprehensive and academic manner, appeared on the scene. Supported by maps and illustrations, and written by an insider who has resided in the Kingdom for over four decades, the book is a fascinating eye-opener and historical reference, bringing almost all the known original indigenous Arabic and other source material into full purview.
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