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Black Wave

Nonfiction: History, Politics
Unabridged   14 hour(s)
Publication date: 01/28/2020

Black Wave

Saudi Arabia, Iran, and the Forty-Year Rivalry That Unraveled Culture, Religion, and Collective Memory in the Middle East

Available from major retailers or BUY FROM AMAZON
Audio CD ISBN:9781684578634
Digital Download ISBN:9781684578627


Novelistic and character-driven, 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.

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Product Description

Kim Ghattas delivers a gripping account 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 also 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.


“[An] illuminating account of the origins of sectarian violence and the current political shape of the Muslim world… [a] fluid, fast-moving narrative...Essential for all who follow world events.” ―Kirkus Starred Review

“Skillfully written and scrupulously researched, Black Wave is an essential book in understanding the origins of the modern conflicts in the Middle East.” ―Lawrence Wright, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Looming Tower

“[A] wonderfully readable account… Ghattas has an enviable gift for going beyond politics… Whatever happens next in this long-running, oppressive and dangerous Middle Eastern drama, Black Wave will be a vivid, indispensable guide to the story so far.” ―The Guardian

Author Bio

Kim Ghattas is an Emmy Award–winning journalist and writer who covered the Middle East for twenty years for the BBC and the Financial Times. She has also reported on the US State Department and American politics, and is the author of The Secretary: A Journey with Hillary Clinton from Beirut to the Heart of American Power.