The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom by Sandra Mackey

This book is about what happens when a hopelessly backward society is suddenly flooded with wealth and forced to modernize overnight. Of all the Islamic countries that are facing a crisis of modernity, Saudi Arabia has been the hardest hit. The Saudis have a bottomless appetite for the material goodies the West has to offer, but they still for the most part totally reject Western culture and have gone to great lengths to insulate themselves from it. Paradoxically, while they are forced to acknowledge their educational and technological inferiority to Westerners, they still believe fervently that their rigidly conservative Islamic culture is superior, and they are deeply resentful of the intrusions Western culture has made into their society. Although this book was written in the ’80’s, it goes a long way toward explaining why fifteen of the nineteen 9-11 hijackers were Saudi.

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