The Prince: The Secret Story of the World's Most Intriguing Royal, Prince Bandar Bin Sultan

William Simpson, Author ReganBooks $32.5 (480p) ISBN 978-0-06-089986-8
Saudi Arabian prince Bandar Bin Sultan emerges in this biography by Simpson, a long-time friend of Bandar's, not only a figure well-connected and well-placed among public and private power structures, but a super-man who melds his incredible wealth with savoir faire, razor-sharp pragmatism and a disarming sense of humor. With an intensely loyal coterie of confidantes in many countries, Bandar is described as ""an expert at playing the long game,"" who used Saudi Arabia's status as a crucial ally to the West-among ""seven volatile, militaristic countries, Saudi Arabia is the fulcrum of leadership in the Muslim world, and sits on nearly two thirds of the world's oil supply""-to leverage a starring role in a multitude of fascinating, high-stakes political gambits. Marred in its early pages by a yawn-inducing array of Arabian arms deals, Simpson's chronicle thankfully shifts focus to the decades when, as Saudi Arabian ambassador to the U.S., Bandar wrangled, finagled and influenced policy with the aid of presidents and historical notables. Especially riveting tales feature Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and the first president Bush, in which all parties participate in an intricate diplomatic dance-at times skirting the brink of international disaster-while wars raged throughout the Middle East. In this lengthy account, Bandar plays his role with as much aplomb as the infamous Machiavelli, but with far more humanity. 16-page color insert, b/w photos throughout.
Reviewed on: 10/01/2006
Release date: 10/01/2006
Genre: Nonfiction
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