In This Review

Saudi Arabia in the Balance: Political Economy, Society, Foreign Affairs
Saudi Arabia in the Balance: Political Economy, Society, Foreign Affairs
Edited by Paul Aarts and Gerd Nonneman
New York University Press, 2006, 460 pp.

With contributions on Saudi Arabia by 15 different authors -- natives of or based in almost as many different countries and representing a mix of old Middle East hands and relative newcomers -- this book achieves its own weighty balance. The different chapters are gathered under four rubrics: "Ideology and Change," "Political Economy" (the rise of a Saudi "national bourgeoisie" being one of the more interesting findings), "Regime and Opposition," and "External Relations" (with chapters offering a rather theoretical disquisition on Saudi foreign policy, a case study of Crown Prince Abdullah's 2002 peace initiative, and two complementary takes on U.S.-Saudi relations). The result is a successful venture in international scholarship and a coherent book.