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Black Wave : Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle E
by Kim Ghattas




Overview -

A New York Times Notable Book of 2020

" A] sweeping and authoritative history (The New York Times Book Review), Black Wave is an unprecedented and ambitious examination of how the modern Middle East unraveled and why it started with the pivotal year of 1979.

Kim Ghattas seamlessly weaves together history, geopolitics, and culture to deliver a gripping read of the largely unexplored story of the rivalry between between Saudi Arabia and Iran, born from the sparks of the 1979 Iranian revolution and fueled by American policy.

With vivid story-telling, extensive historical research and on-the-ground reporting, Ghattas dispels accepted truths about a region she calls home. She explores how Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, once allies and twin pillars of US strategy in the region, became mortal enemies after 1979. She shows how they used and distorted religion in a competition that went well beyond geopolitics. Feeding intolerance, suppressing cultural expression, and encouraging sectarian violence from Egypt to Pakistan, the war for cultural supremacy led to Iran's fatwa against author Salman Rushdie, the assassination of countless intellectuals, the birth of groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the September 11th terrorist attacks, and the rise of ISIS.

Ghattas introduces us to a riveting cast of characters whose lives were upended by the geopolitical drama over four decades: from the Pakistani television anchor who defied her country's dictator, to the Egyptian novelist thrown in jail for indecent writings all the way to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Black Wave is both an intimate and sweeping history of the region and will significantly alter perceptions of the Middle East.

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More About Black Wave by Kim Ghattas

 
 
 

Overview

A New York Times Notable Book of 2020

" A] sweeping and authoritative history (The New York Times Book Review), Black Wave is an unprecedented and ambitious examination of how the modern Middle East unraveled and why it started with the pivotal year of 1979.

Kim Ghattas seamlessly weaves together history, geopolitics, and culture to deliver a gripping read of the largely unexplored story of the rivalry between between Saudi Arabia and Iran, born from the sparks of the 1979 Iranian revolution and fueled by American policy.

With vivid story-telling, extensive historical research and on-the-ground reporting, Ghattas dispels accepted truths about a region she calls home. She explores how Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran, once allies and twin pillars of US strategy in the region, became mortal enemies after 1979. She shows how they used and distorted religion in a competition that went well beyond geopolitics. Feeding intolerance, suppressing cultural expression, and encouraging sectarian violence from Egypt to Pakistan, the war for cultural supremacy led to Iran's fatwa against author Salman Rushdie, the assassination of countless intellectuals, the birth of groups like Hezbollah in Lebanon, the September 11th terrorist attacks, and the rise of ISIS.

Ghattas introduces us to a riveting cast of characters whose lives were upended by the geopolitical drama over four decades: from the Pakistani television anchor who defied her country's dictator, to the Egyptian novelist thrown in jail for indecent writings all the way to the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Black Wave is both an intimate and sweeping history of the region and will significantly alter perceptions of the Middle East.


 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781250131201
  • ISBN-10: 1250131200
  • Publisher: Henry Holt & Company
  • Publish Date: January 2020
  • Page Count: 400
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.28 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

Black Wave

“What happened to us?” This question haunts the Middle East and the Arab world, from Iraq to Syria, Iran to Saudi Arabia. It’s also the question posed by Kim Ghattas at the beginning of her new book, Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East.

Ambitious and novelistic in its approach, Black Wave attempts to answer this question through extensive research, vibrant reporting and personal stories. At its core, the book is a survey of the once harmonious relationship between Saudi Arabia and Iran. As Ghattas examines how a culturally diverse region full of hope could twist itself into an entirely new body of destruction and instability, she explores the events that led to these nations’ opposition of each other, and to their desire for cultural supremacy over an entire region and its people.

Ghattas, an Emmy award-winning journalist who was born and raised in Lebanon, focuses on the three major touchstones in 1979 that led to the current crisis: the overthrow of the shah and the Iranian Revolution; the siege of the Holy Mosque in Mecca by Saudi militants; and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. As Ghattas writes, “Nothing has changed the Arab and Muslim world as deeply and fundamentally as the events of 1979.”

Unlike narratives told from a Western point of view, this book doesn’t highlight terrorism or ISIS but instead seamlessly weaves history and personal narrative into a story that explains the gradual suppression of intellectualism and the creep of authoritarianism in the region, while highlighting those who have tried to fight against it, like murdered journalist Jamal Khashoggi. It also shows how the United States’ numerous attempts at intervention have made the situation indelibly worse.

Illuminating, conversational, rich in details and like nothing else you’ve ever read about the Middle East, Black Wave will leave you with a new understanding of this diverse and troubled region.

 

BAM Customer Reviews