Tom MacWright

I read MBS by Ben Hubbard on


MBS is everything you could want for a contemporary history of Saudi Arabia and its current leadership. Mohammad bin Salman’s influence has extended to America in the last few years: a glowing profile in the New York Times, his enormous investment in Uber and Saudi Arabia’s role as a LP to SoftBank.

Hubbard’s treatment of the topic is excellent. He gives just enough context to explain some of the dynamics of the Middle East, and enough history to frame Saudi Arabia’s struggles for and against secularism. He quickly dispenses with the idea that Khasoggi wasn’t a relevant journalist or that his murder was a break from convention. Maybe MBS will become a balanced, fair, nonviolent leader but Hubbard leaves no doubt that he isn’t one yet.

There will be many more histories of MBS as the world learns about him and as he evolves. We’re lucky to start with this one, which is well-constructed, thoroughly researched, and a really good read.