In 2018, journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi regime operatives, shocking the international community and tarnishing the reputation of Muhammad bin Salman, the kingdom’s young, reformist crown prince. Domestically, bin Salman’s reforms have proven divisive, and his adoption of populist nationalism and fierce repression of diverse critical voices – religious scholars, feminists and dissident youth – have failed to silence a vibrant and well-connected Saudi society.
Madawi Al-Rasheed lays bare the world of repression behind the crown prince’s reforms. She dissects the Saudi regime’s propaganda and progressive new image, while also dismissing Orientalist views that despotism is the only pathway to stable governance in the Middle East. Charting old and new challenges to the fragile Saudi nation from the kingdom’s very inception, this blistering book exposes the dangerous contradictions at the heart of the Son King’s Saudi Arabia.