Many books claim to tell the untold story of whatever the subject
happens to be, but few can actually live up to the claim quite as well as
Yaroslav Trofimov's second book, following
Faith at War: A Journey on the Frontlines of Islam, from Baghdad to Timbuktu
(2005) which, as the title suggests, reports on the infamous (in some parts of the world) but virtually unknown (in other parts of the world) siege of the Sacred Mosque of Mecca*.
It is a thrilling historical narrative of the events that took place in Mecca
over two weeks at the dawn of the Islamic 15th century, offering hitherto
undisclosed details that provide an instructive introduction to Muslim
fundamentalist terrorism while clearly connecting the dots between then and now.
The 1979 siege of the Sacred Mosque of Mecca, in which tens of thousands were held hostage and about 1,000...
Beyond the Book
A Short History of Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia covers an area about the third of the size of
the USA, and occupies most of the Arabian peninsula (map),
most of which is desert.
Its population is about 27 million, of which 5 million are foreigners
(technicians, merchants, diplomats and soldiers). 90% of citizens are
Arabs and all are Muslims (citizenship is only open to Muslims). Saudi
Arabia is home to the two holiest cities of Islam,
Mecca and Medina - the former being where most of the Koran was revealed
to Muhammad, the latter being his administrative capital and the capital of the
The region has been home to various groups of Semitic* people
through most of recorded history. Before Islam, the different tribes...