What We Are Reading Today: Ibn Saud

Updated 21 September 2018
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What We Are Reading Today: Ibn Saud

  • This book tells the story of how Ibn Saud transformed himself into a revered king and elder statesman
  • This fascinating biography of the founding king of Saudi Arabia is a must-read for anyone interested in the formation of a Kingdom that covers the vast majority of the Arabian Peninsula

Living the harsh traditional life of a desert nomad, and with immense physical courage, Ibn Saud’s often resorted to breathtaking military tactics unlike any employed by empires in the past. 

Thanks to series of astonishing military triumphs over a succession of adversaries who outnumbered his tribal forces, in 1932 he was able to unite the Hejaz and Najd territories into Saudi Arabia.

Written by Michael Darlow and Barbara Bray, this book tells the story of how Ibn Saud transformed himself into a revered king and elder statesman. It describes his building of solid foundational ties with fellow world leaders such as the 32nd US President Franklin D. Roosevelt and the British Prime Minister Sir Winston Churchill. 

As Ibn Saud’s tremendous power and influence over the region increased exponentially, instead of using his might to conquer additional territories, Saud instead promoted peace and stability across his newfound Kingdom, establishing the roots for Saudi Arabia as an invaluable player on the world’s political and economic stage.

This fascinating biography of the founding king of Saudi Arabia is a must-read for anyone interested in the formation of a Kingdom that covers the vast majority of the Arabian Peninsula. The text is illuminated by priceless historical photos and extensive footnotes. 

Critics have praised the authors for steering clear of any bias in their pursuit of historical accuracy.


What We Are Reading Today: Viruses as Complex Adaptive Systems

Updated 17 min 21 sec ago
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What We Are Reading Today: Viruses as Complex Adaptive Systems

Authors: Ricard Solé and Santiago F. Elena

Viruses are everywhere, infecting all sorts of living organisms, from the tiniest bacteria to the largest mammals. Many are harmful parasites, but viruses also play a major role as drivers of our evolution as a species and are essential regulators of the composition and complexity of ecosystems on a global scale. This concise book draws on complex systems theory to provide a fresh look at viral origins, populations, and evolution, and the co-evolutionary dynamics of viruses and their hosts, according to a review on the Princeton University Press website. New viruses continue to emerge that threaten people, crops, and farm animals. Viruses constantly evade our immune systems, and antiviral therapies and vaccination campaigns can be powerless against them. These unique characteristics of virus biology are a consequence of their tremendous evolutionary potential, which enables viruses to quickly adapt to any environmental challenge. Ricard Solé and Santiago Elena present a unified framework for understanding viruses as complex adaptive systems.