In This Review

Saudi Arabia: Government, Society and the Gulf Crisis
Saudi Arabia: Government, Society and the Gulf Crisis
By Mordechai Abir
Routledge, 1993, 269 pp

Partly a revision of an earlier book on Saudi Arabia and partly a new analysis of the impact of the gulf crisis on the kingdom, this well-crafted history is relatively sanguine about the regimes future. The author sees a slow process of reform taking place, weakening many traditional elements of the society while strengthening the hand of the royal family and setting in motion something of a fundamentalist backlash. Given the closed nature of Saudi society and the paucity of reliable sources, no one can be too sure how the regime really functions, but oil revenues certainly help. As an Israeli citizen, the author has not been able to visit the kingdom, but he has made effective use of available sources, including the little-known doctoral theses of Saudi students in the United States. On the whole, a welcome and up-to-date study.