Saudi Arabia: Book Review – A Kingdom’s Future: Saudi Arabia Through the Eyes of its Twentysomethings

a kingdoms future

I have always been an admirer of Pulitzer prize winner, Caryle Murphy, and of her respective articles and books.  I have the personal pleasure of knowing Caryle when our paths initially crossed in Riyadh back in 2008.  She spent significant time between the Kingdom and the United States from 2008 to 2012 and her new book portrays the realities of the mindset of Saudi’s youth.

Caryle has recently written a new book, “A Kingdom’s Future: Saudi Arabia Through the Eyes of its Twentysomethings.”  This book is both an insightful and candid read.  Caryle, known for her direct interview and writing style has chapters in the book which address education, politics, religion as well as Women: Rights and Romance and a chapter focused on Students Abroad.  The book is composed from many interviews with Saudi’s male and female youth.

I came away from this book with a further validation that Saudi Arabia, through its youth, is in an era which will see significant change within the Kingdom.   For after all, aren’t the youth the future?

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5 Responses

  1. That sounds interesting. Is it possible to publish a selection of excerpts here?

  2. I’ve only read about a third of it so far. I find the story depresssing (poor education, limited choices so far etc.). It is good that so many Saudis think the country has a good ruler, but given the size of the youth bulge they are moving to slowly for the changes that must happen. There is no way the current system can provide the jobs all those people will need.

    It is possible to have massive development in very short time. Countries like the US have mobilized for war almost over night (and I mean a real war like WWII, not the mini wars of today), but I don’t think the Saudi people understand that it is all of them who are going to have to be involved in learning how to do the work that Saudi needs and then doing the work for real. If my aunt could go from house maid to someone assembling airplane engines in 1942, so could a typical Saudi but I don’t know if the right mindset is there.

  3. I hope you’ll read the complete book, Jerry. Caryle interviewed Saudi youth from a wide margin and backgrounds both within and outside KSA.

  4. @AB

    I did get a chance to read it completely. The message is a bit more optimistic but I still wonder if they can modernize at the speed they need to. I think the current king realizes the need for change but he seems unwilling or unable to make the changes needed. Given his age, it might simply be that he doesn’t get it.

    Compared to other world leaders he is a generation older and his successor isn’t going to be a spring chicken either. They need to move up the generations in succession if at all possible.

  5. Didnt read the book, but I hope to.

    At the youth level, I believe there have been HUGE changes in the last 10 years through the modernisation of the educational system, which has been massive.

    Now couple this with the KASP scholarships, I can say that the new Saudi generation- men and women- are being pushed towards a much brighter future in terms of attitudes, education and a much more open perspective in life.

    I do belive there is great hope and that there could have not been a faster change than this. It is indeed exponential.

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