Editor's note, early 2021: A report from the US has implicated Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, in the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The report contains little that's surprising, but as I mentioned in my best nonfiction books of last year, it's hard not to want to know more about a regime that could carry out such a brutal, cold-blooded murder.
If you want to read a good book about Mohammed bin Salman, Ben Hubbard's MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman has been shortlisted for the 2021 Pen/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography.
America's Kingdom: Mythmaking on the Saudi Oil Frontier
by Robert Vitalis
The Other Saudis: Shiism, Dissent and Sectarianism
by Toby Matthiesen
Joyriding in Riyadh: Oil, Urbanism, and Road Revolt
by Pascal Menoret
Being Young, Male and Saudi: Identity and Politics in a Globalised Kingdom
by Mark C Thompson
Girls of Riyadh
by Rajaa Alsanea
Saudi Arabia is one of the most misunderstood countries on earth. Here Saudi-born anthropologist, Madawi Al-Rasheed, chooses five books to help understand the country, its society and the very modern challenges it faces.