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A good refresher on many topics, first half did not contain much new information and seemed to almost be a long-winded paraphrasing or retelling of "The American House of Saud" by Steven Emerson, which was published in 1985. To further flesh out things like Raytheon's relationship with Saudi Arabia (SA) and extent to which SA financed the first Gulf War, I'd recommend "Desert Warrior: A Personal View of the Gulf War by the Joint Forces Commander". The second half did a good job of presenting details of SA's involvement in world affairs post-1985 and was an eye opener regarding the effects the Iranian Revolution of 1979 on the thinking of the Saudi leadership and how that factored into their stance in the first Gulf War (i.e. to make themselves indispensable so that they would not be abandoned by the U.S. as they perceived that the Shah of Iran and President Hussein of Iraq had been). Also, interesting were the details of Saudi financing of charities and wars and its effects on SA. Much has been made of SA's financing of the Gulf War, as well as of its efforts in the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan and how that lead to the Taliban and Al Qaida, but I was unaware of SA's considerable financial support of Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980's and how, collectively, these efforts depleted the Saudi treasury and caused a country with such fabulous income to run deficits for much of the last 15 years or so. The book does a good job of detailing and illustrating what a delicate balancing act this country, that is run like a giant Mafia family, must put on to barely maintain order. I would recommend this book to anyone interest in SA or Middle East issues and suggest that Americans who are presented with the fact of the policies and practices in SA should be appalled by the U.S.'s special treatment of a theocratic dictatorship that, in many ways is a polar opposite to the U.S., tries and often seems to succeed on imposing their narrow values on the U.S.
16 of 16 people found this review helpful
Except for a few overly detailed sections, Secrets reads like a thriller. It is one of the very best audiobooks I have heard. The story of the House of Saud is outlandish, but given human nature and the warnings of Machiavelli and Hobbes, not surprising. Every American should hear this story. I want to know more, after hearing Posner's enticing story.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful