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MBS
Cover of MBS
MBS
The Rise to Power of Mohammed Bin Salman
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A Financial Times Book Best Book of the Year 2020 A Foreign Affairs Best Book of the Year 2020 The gripping, untold story of how Saudi Arabia's secretive and mercurial new ruler rose to power. Even in his youth as a prince among thousands of princes, Mohammed bin Salman nurtured sweeping ambitions. He wanted power – enough of it to reshape his hyper-conservative, insular Islamic kingdom. When his elderly father took the throne in 2015, MBS got his chance. As the hands-on-ruler, he made seismic changes, working doggedly to overhaul the kingdom's economy, loosen its strict Islamic social codes and confront nearby enemies, especially Iran. His vision initially won fans at home and abroad as he convinced other nations that the moment had come to bet big on Saudi Arabia. Over time, however, the sheen of the visionary young reformer has tarnished, leaving many wondering whether MBS is actually an aspiring dictator whose lack of experience and rash decisions are destabilizing the world's most volatile region. Based on years of reporting and hundreds of covert interviews, MBS provides new insights into Saudi Arabia's catastrophic military intervention in Yemen, the bizarre detention of the Lebanese prime minister, the surprise arrest of hundreds of princes and businessmen, and the greatest scandal of the young prince's rise: the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state officials with links to MBS – a crime that shocked the world. A riveting portrait of a determined autocrat on the rise, MBS asks how one man's actions and obsessions are shaking the Middle East.
A Financial Times Book Best Book of the Year 2020 A Foreign Affairs Best Book of the Year 2020 The gripping, untold story of how Saudi Arabia's secretive and mercurial new ruler rose to power. Even in his youth as a prince among thousands of princes, Mohammed bin Salman nurtured sweeping ambitions. He wanted power – enough of it to reshape his hyper-conservative, insular Islamic kingdom. When his elderly father took the throne in 2015, MBS got his chance. As the hands-on-ruler, he made seismic changes, working doggedly to overhaul the kingdom's economy, loosen its strict Islamic social codes and confront nearby enemies, especially Iran. His vision initially won fans at home and abroad as he convinced other nations that the moment had come to bet big on Saudi Arabia. Over time, however, the sheen of the visionary young reformer has tarnished, leaving many wondering whether MBS is actually an aspiring dictator whose lack of experience and rash decisions are destabilizing the world's most volatile region. Based on years of reporting and hundreds of covert interviews, MBS provides new insights into Saudi Arabia's catastrophic military intervention in Yemen, the bizarre detention of the Lebanese prime minister, the surprise arrest of hundreds of princes and businessmen, and the greatest scandal of the young prince's rise: the brutal murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi state officials with links to MBS – a crime that shocked the world. A riveting portrait of a determined autocrat on the rise, MBS asks how one man's actions and obsessions are shaking the Middle East.
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  • Publisher's Weekly

    Starred review from March 23, 2020
    Journalist Hubbard debuts with an incisive portrait of modern Saudi Arabia and 34-year-old crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, better known by his initials MBS. Though much about MBS’s early years remains unknown, Hubbard details his close relationship with his father, the governor of Riyadh, following the untimely deaths of two of MBS’s older half-brothers, and his willingness to threaten with violence those who don’t fall in line. After his father’s ascension to the throne in 2015, MBS took control of the royal court and became minister of defense. He implemented ambitious social and economic reforms, including rolling back the kingdom’s ban on women drivers, and courted Western investors with plans to build a $500 billion “smart city” near the Red Sea. He also declared war on the Houthi rebels in Yemen, escalated tensions with Iran and Qatar, detained hundreds of ministers and royal family members in the Ritz-Carlton hotel in a move billed as an anti-corruption push, and empowered underlings to aggressively silence dissidents—a campaign that led to the slaying of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Saudi Arabia’s Turkish consulate in 2018, severely damaging MBS’s international reputation. Hubbard enriches the narrative with informed discussions of Saudi history and culture, illuminating the kingdom’s complex blend of religious fundamentalism and technological ambition. This deeply researched and vividly written account provides essential insight into a figure poised to lead the region for the next half century.

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Bahrain, Egypt, Hong Kong, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Mauritania, Morocco, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, the Sudan, the Syrian Arab Republic, Tunisia, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, and Yemen

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The Rise to Power of Mohammed Bin Salman
Ben Hubbard
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