The History of Saudi Arabia
2nd Edition
by Wayne H. Bowen
December 2014, 194pp, 6 1/8x9 1/4
1 volume, Greenwood

Hardcover: 978-1-61069-876-4
$70, £54, 61€, A96
eBook Available: 978-1-61069-877-1
Please contact your preferred eBook vendor for pricing.

Saudi Arabia is the only major absolute monarchy in the world.

The revised edition of this comprehensive survey follows the political, military, religious, economic, and diplomatic history of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from pre-Muhammad times to the present day.

With its huge oil reserves and notoriety regarding human rights issues, Saudi Arabia has long been a country in the global spotlight. This book traces the long history of this desert region, from the times before the creation of Saudi Arabia, to the political activities of the modern Saudi state, to recent developments in Arab and Muslim culture, enabling readers to grasp the country’s key importance in 21st-century global politics.

Educator and author Wayne H. Bowen provides a comprehensive and accessible overview of Saudi Arabia’s history that makes clear this nation’s political and economic significance as well as its vital role in the history and development of Islam. The second edition includes the most notable events from the past 10 years, such as King Abdullah’s economic reforms after the 2011 Arab Spring protests and the passing of a law allowing women to vote. Organized chronologically, the revised edition contains updated appendices, an expanded bibliography featuring electronic resources, and new photographs and maps.


  • Features an introductory chapter on Saudi Arabia today
  • Includes new entries on notable figures and additional chapters on recent events
  • Makes the subject easy to understand for readers with little background knowledge on the topic through concise, straightforward language
Wayne H. Bowen, PhD, is professor and chair of the department of history as well as director of university studies at Southeast Missouri State University. His published works include Praeger's A Military History of Modern Spain: From the Napoleonic Era to the International War on Terror (coedited with Jose E. Alvarez) as well as Spain and the American Civil War and Undoing Saddam: From Occupation to Sovereignty in Northern Iraq. He received his doctorate and master's degree in history from Northwestern University.


"The History of Saudi Arabia is an exceptionally informative and thoroughly 'reader friendly' introduction to the history of Saudi Arabia. Very highly recommended for community and academic library World History reference collections. Ideal for the non-specialist general reader with an interest in knowing this history and evolution of Saudi Arabia."—Midwest Book Review, February 1, 2015

The Greenwood Histories of the Modern Nations

Every school and public library should update its resources with these engagingly written and succinct narrative histories of the world’s nations covering prehistoric times through today. Based on the most recent scholarship, each history provides a chronological narrative examining the political, cultural, philosophical, and religious continuities in the featured nation’s long, rich history in an exploration of how its people came to be who they are today. Each volume includes a chronological narrative history, a timeline of events, biographical sketches of key figures, a glossary, and a bibliographic essay.
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