In This Review

The Making of Saudi Arabia, 1916-1936:  From Chieftaincy to Monarchical State
The Making of Saudi Arabia, 1916-1936: From Chieftaincy to Monarchical State
By Joseph Kostiner
Oxford University Press, 1993, 260 pp

This solidly researched monograph is an excellent account of how Saudi Arabia came into existence as a state. Tracing the evolution from tribal chieftaincy early in the century through the period of expansion and conquest in the 1920s, and then into the phase of consolidating the state in the 1930s, the author emphasizes local tribal factors at each stage. While not ignoring the important role of Abd al-Aziz, he avoids the hagiography that has marred some earlier accounts and gives due recognition to the ability of this shrewd leader who successfully forged a state out of feuding tribes. This is a densely written, rewarding book for scholars and those with a keen interest in the early years of Saudi Arabia.