Saudi expert to visit Cayman

| 30/10/2009

(CNS): History and current affairs author Robert Lacey will visit Books & Books, Camana Bay for a discussion and signing of his latest book, Inside the Kingdom: Kings, Clerics, Modernists, Terrorists, and the Struggle for Saudi Arabia next week. Lacey is the author of twenty books, including Great Tales from English History, The Year 1000, and the New York Times bestseller, The Kingdom. For the last three years, he has split his time between Jeddah, Saudi Arabia and London. According to Lacey, Saudi Arabia is a country defined by paradox: It sits atop some of the richest oil deposits in the world and yet its roiling disaffection produced fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers.

It is a modern state where wealthy princes and tycoons raise futuristic cities in the desert, and yet its powerful religious establishment would roll back its values fourteen hundred years to the time of the Prophet Mohammed.

With Inside the Kingdom, Lacey gives readers a portrait of this most enigmatic of lands. More than twenty years after moving to Saudi Arabia during the oil boom to write his epic The Kingdom, Lacey returned to live once again among the princes and paupers, the clerics and the progressives. What he found was a society slowly recovering from the past. In this recounting, which takes us from the bloody seizure of Mecca’s Grand Mosque in 1979 to the deepening of US-Saudi relations during the Gulf War of 1991 to the fostering of a new generation of Islamic holy warriors led by Osama bin Laden, Lacey shows how Saudi Arabia came to the precipice at which it now stands, struggling to learn how to be at war with itself.

Filled with voices of many Saudis, from royals to ambassadors to ordinary men and women, Inside the Kingdom examines the questions on which the uncertain future turns: Can Saudi combatants freed from Guantánamo be rehabilitated through cash payments and arranged marriages? Will a society that still stages public beheadings find a way to address its notorious reputation on human rights? And is there any hope of success for King Abdullah’s progressive reforms in a land where rape victims can be sentences to lashings for their “immoral” behaviour?

Inside the Kingdom is now available for purchase at Books & Books. This event is part of the International Visiting Author Series, sponsored by the Cayman Islands Department of Tourism, Ogier, and Sunshine Suites Resort, and is free and open to the public. For up to date information on all Books & Books events in Grand Cayman, visit:

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