Black Wave by Kim Ghattas


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Black Wave is a paradigm-shifting recasting of the modern history of the Middle East, telling the largely unexplored story of the rivalry between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran—a rivalry born out of the sparks of the 1979 Iranian revolution—that has dramatically transformed the culture, identity and collective memory of millions of Muslims over four decades. Like George Packer did in The Unwinding, Ghattas follows everyday citizens whose lives have been affected by the geopolitical drama, making her account both immediate and intimate.

Ghattas shows how Saudi Arabia and Iran went from allies against the threat of communism from Russia, with major roles in the US anti-Soviet strategy, to mortal enemies that use religious conservatism to incite division and unrest from Egypt to Pakistan. Black Wave will add to the reader’s perception of and conversation about the modern history of the Middle East.