The Paradoxical Kingdom

Saudi Arabia and the Momentum of Reform

Edited by
August 2003 9781850656470 400pp
Out of print
August 2003 9781850656685 400pp


Saudi Arabia remains a closed society with its own interpretation of Islamic Law, an insistence on royal privilege and an uneven record on human rights. This study examines the paradoxes and considers the pressure for reform.


‘In this detailed, informative, and well-researched study, Champion focuses on the challenges Saudi Arabia faces both at home and abroad and the sociopolitical and economic factors that may undermine its stability in the twenty first century.’ — Library Journal

‘Deserves a round of applause.’ — Arnold Beichman Washington Times

‘Champion offers an excellent review of Saudi history. […] Highly recommended [for] graduate, faculty, and professional collections.’ — Choice

‘Saudi stability is the subject of Daryl Champion’s book The Paradoxical Kingdom. Champion starts from the premise that Saudi Arabia remains of critical economic and strategic importance to the West. […] He has done a good job of synthesizing the work of other observers of the Saudi scene and weighing the merits of their research. […] His conclusions are balanced and avoid the alarmist tone of so much other recent writing about the kingdom.’ — Brooks Wrampelmeier Middle East Policy

‘The overall scope of the book and the author’s keen insights help dispel much of the misinformation and misperceptions that seem to cloud outsiders’ views of this important but essentially closed society.’ — David E. Long Middle East Journal

‘This book is for both the specialist and the non-specialist alike, since it presents a comprehensive analysis of the Kingdom. […A]ccompanied by interviews with a range of Saudi personalities including some related to the regime. […] this is a serious study that is worth attention, whether one is approaching the complexities of the Saudi regime for the first time or wishes to examine more closely the predicaments currently faced by the Kingdom.’ — Alejandra Galindo Marines International Affairs

‘His style is meticulous and he is… adept at interweaving and overlapping an enormous amount of material.’ — Peter C. Valenti Arab Studies Journal Spring 2005



Daryl Champion, a former research scholar at the Centre for Arab and Islamic Studies, Australian National University, is a Middle East-based media and education consultant.

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