David Rundell studied Arabic at Oxford and served as an American diplomat for thirty years in Washington, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tunisia and the United Arab Emirates. Over those three decades he spent fifteen years in the kingdom working at the Embassy in Riyadh as well as the Consulates in Jeddah and Dhahran. His assignments in Saudi Arabia included the Chief of Mission, Charge d'Affaires, Deputy Chief of Mission, Political Counselor, Economic Counselor, Commercial Counselor and Commercial Attache. He has won numerous awards for his analytical reporting, and participated in Operation Desert Storm, Saudi accession to the World Trade Organization and the defeat of the al-Qaeda terror campaign in Saudi Arabia.
A rich, superbly researched, balanced history of the modern Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. David Rundell was one of the State Department's pre-eminent authorities on Saudi Arabia and the Arab world, one on whom those of us working in the region depended heavily, and this history reflects his decades of experience in the region, his eye for nuance and detail, his deep understanding of the culture and relationships in the kingdom, and his exceptional ability to distill and present all of that brilliantly. -- General David Petraeus, US Army (Ret.), former Commander of the US Central Command and the Coalition Forces in Afghanistan, and former Director of the CIA Saudi Arabia has always been difficult for outsiders to understand, but it will be much less so now thanks to David Rundell. With insightful analysis of the roles of the ruling family, the tribal structure, the merchant class and the religious leadership, he forges all the pieces into a coherent whole that will enlighten specialists and novices alike. -- Thomas W. Lippman, author of Saudi Arabia on the Edge Amidst an array of parabolic pressures ranging from geopolitical forces to economic uncertainty and domestic instability, the House of Saud has long been one of the most powerful families in the Middle East. In spite of this, it faces a number of existential challenges as it moves into the 21st century. Vision or Mirage: Saudi Arabia at the Crossroads offers a fascinating and timely exploration of how the Al Saud dynasty has retained power which is essential in understanding how the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia may evolve in the coming years. -- Simon Mabon Senior Lecturer, Lancaster University; author of Houses Built on Sand, The Origins of ISIS and Saudi Arabia and Iran The author of this book is pro-Saudi , and at the same time he is entirely objective. He reconciles direct opposites not by fudging the differences, but by offering us his uniquely deep knowledge of a country and a state that remain poorly documented. This is a very valuable book. -- Edward Luttwak, , Senior Associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, Washington D.C A readable and breezy account of recent developments in Saudi Arabia as well as the author's interpretation of the transformational and polarizing trends during the last several years. It is a noteworthy contribution to the field. -- J. E. Peterson, historian and political analyst, author of Saudi Arabia Under Ibn Saud and Historical Dictionary of Saudi Arabia