In recent yeares, Saudi Arabia has experienced changes that have both altered the internal structure of the country and affected its foreign relations. Women have gained additional civil rights; the educational system has been overhauled in an attempt to generate a skilled workforce that can enter the competitive global market; and international concern regarding terrorists within Saudi Arabia's borders has prompted an aggressive response from King Abdullah. Yet despite economic, social, and political improvements, the country still faces turmoil from continued conflict in the Middle East. And as the birthplace of Islam, Saudi Arabia must find a way to balance its religious authority with the demands of a modern socicty. From Saudi Arabia's pre-Islamic history to the events of today, A Brief History of Saudi Arabia, Second Edition offers a balanced, informative perspective on the country's long history. Coverage includes · Pre-Islamic Arabia · Bedouin society and culture · The birth and spread of Islam · The development of and philosophy behind Wahhabism · The origins of the House of Saud · Saudi Arabia's role in the Middle East · Saudi Arabia's relationship to the United States · The battle between conservative and progressive elements in the monarchy today · The reign of King Abdullah Basic facts, a chronology, a bibliography, and a list of suggested reading make up the appendixes.