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Saudi Arabia: oil-rich, devoutly Muslim, and a vital ally To many in the West, Saudi Arabia is easy to criticize. It is the birthplace of Osama bin Laden and fifteen of the nineteen 9/11 hijackers. Saudi women are not permitted to drive, work with men, or travel without a man's permission. Prior to 9/11, the Saudis sent millions of dollars abroad to schools that taught Muslim extremism and to charities that turned out to be fronts for al-Qaeda. In Prophets and Princes, a highly respected scholar who has lived in Saudi Arabia contends that despite these serious shortcomings, the kingdom is still America's most important ally in the Middle East, a voice for moderation toward Israel, and a nation with a surprising ability to make many of the economic and cultural changes necessary to adjust to modern realities. Author Mark Weston offers an objective and balanced history of the only nation on earth named after its ruling family. Drawing on interviews with many Saudi men and women, Weston portrays a complex society in which sixty percent of Saudi Arabia's university students are women, and citizens who seek a constitutional monarchy can petition the king without fear of reprisal. Filled with new and underreported information about the most controversial aspects of life in Saudi Arabia, Prophets and Princes is a must-read for anyone interested in the Middle East, oil, Islam, or the war on terror..