What We’re Reading: Royal Ambition

Weekly reviews of what's on our bookshelves.

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MBS: The Rise to Power of Mohammed bin Salman By Ben Hubbard This month I decided to read Ben Hubbard’s much-anticipated book about one of Saudi Arabia’s most mysterious figures: Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (or MBS, as he’s commonly known). Outside of rumors and palace intrigue, not much is known about MBS’ unprecedented rise from a low-ranked prince to the crown’s next-in-line. His father was one of the youngest of Saudi Arabia’s first king’s hundreds of grandsons. Yet the 35-year-old prince rose from powerbroker in local Saudi politics to defense minister and deputy crown prince, to heir to the Saudi throne. Hubbard, using his impressive array of contacts that he built as a journalist in the country, details MBS’ fascinating ascent, complicated by his family’s anxieties and his country’s changing national interests. The book does a great job describing Saudi Arabia at a crossroads, with a depleted post-9/11 global image, deepening social divisions at home and an increasing need to diversify the economy. Members of the royal family recognized that it had a public image problem within Saudi Arabia too; media reports detailed how princesses left the Shangri-La Hotel in Paris without paying a $7 million bill after occupying 40 […]

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Caroline D. Rose
Caroline Rose has a Masters of Science (MSc) in the History of International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE). Just before joining GPF she served as a Research Associate for LSE’s International Drug Policy Unit (IDPU), where she researched the nexus between illicit economies and armed insurgencies. She earned her undergraduate degree from American University's School of International Service and has worked previously at both Brookings Institute and the Atlantic Council. Her studies and projects at these institutions covered a range of topics, from Russian and Chinese cyber warfare, evolving American interest within a changing international order, and grand security strategies against state-led revisionism in Eastern Europe, the Middle East, and the Pacific. Throughout she's written for a diverse array of publications including Limes in Italy.