Black Wave: Saudi Arabia, Iran, 40-year Rivalry that Unraveled Culture, Religion, Collective Memory in the Middle East, Kim Ghattas, New York: Henry Holt and Company, 2020, 368.


The Dutch-Lebanese journalist turned author Kim Ghattas poses a crucial question in this book that has befuddled Middle Eastern experts and writers for ages; “what happened to us?” She asks what went so wrong in the Muslim world to the extent that now all the Middle Eastern countries remain embroiled in deep conflicts of different types rendering the region unstable. This book narrates the story of 1979 and the four turbulent decades that followed; of turning points in the Middle East’s modern history that could explain how the people of this region ended up in these depths of despair. Years leading up to the Iranian Revolution of 1979 and three crucial points in time that followed have been taken up as three sections of this book: a) the Iranian Revolution of 1979; b) Siege of Holy Mosque in Mecca by Saudi zealots; c) the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

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