‘The House of Saud’ by David Holden & Richard Johns – A Book Review

Updated 12 June 2017

A brilliant, well researched and valuable historical record about the founding of the Kingdom of Saud, [Saudi Arabia], with detailed accounts of its early dealings with the USA,  Britain, what now is Turkey, and other Arab nations, and how it grew from a small desert tribe, into a powerful and obscenely wealthy Islamic state.  The authors also give readers insight into the Shiite disturbances that began in the 1970s  culminating in the seizure of the Grand Mosque, and the bloodshed that followed. “The siege of the Grand Mosque raised more fundamental questions relating to the legitimacy and credibility of the dynasty”.

Published 1981.


house of saud


The authors tell us that Saudi Arabia, as we know it today,  was founded around 1902 by a young, blood thirsty, Emir Abdul Aziz bin Abdul Rahman bin Feisal al Saud, better known by his given name, Abdul Aziz, Servant of the Beloved. Beloved being only one of the ninety-nine synonyms for the sacred name of Allah. Originally born of isolated Bedouin tribes of the desert, the House of Saud attaches great importance to the purity of the bloodline. Marriages between first cousins, or equivalent relations, are preferred, or else carefully selected partners of equal status and purity  in another tribe…

“As Islam permits each man to keep four wives at any one time, and as divorce is made easy for males under Koranic law, so that the magic number of four can be multiplied many times over in one man’s life, this custom begot not only large numbers of children by a single father, but also an immense ramification of family and tribal inter-relationships through several generations.  Nephews married aunts, uncles were wedded to nieces and their children married each other to form a close knit and, to the outsider, impenetrable mesh.” At the time of writing, the authors estimate that with about 500 princes descending from Abdul Aziz, together with wives, daughters and collateral branches of the family, “the House of Saud cannot number less than 20,000 people.” The number of Abdul Aziz’ wives has never been officially computed but official records show that he fathered 45 sons from 22 different women. In addition there were at least as many daughters from an even wider range of women, including no doubt some unacknowledged mothers among the various concubines and slave girls, not to forget ‘wives of the night’ whom it was customary [and still is] for Arabian men to enjoy whenever the opportunity arose. All they had to do was to ‘marry’ the woman or girl for as many hours as they desired, then divorce her by saying ‘I divorce you’.  Today, many women and girls are kidnapped from Yemen, and other surrounding Arab nations, for the purposes of this euphemism for a ‘one night stand’. [On the other hand, they can fly to western countries and pay huge money for the same ‘privilege’.]

In Islamic countries, the Koran and its inherent sharia law, or path to follow, supplies a total and explicit moral code but in Saudi Arabia it is even more than that. It remains there, the only recognised and enforceable code of law, so that the country is held in a ‘1300-year-old corset of town and desert morality that is deemed to be universally and eternally applicable.’ This desert morality is upheld and brutally enforced by Wahhabism:

“In the middle of the eighteenth century, in what now must be regarded as the most fateful meeting of minds in Arabia since  the time of Muhammad, Sheikh Muhammad bin Saud, ruler of Diriya, and great, great grandson of Mani, the first identifiable Saudi ancestor, gave shelter to an itinerant preacher of Nejd, named Sheikh Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab. The preacher was a Muslim ‘revivalist’ and the world of Islam by then was much in need of rejuvenation and reform…Abdul Wahhab was a true zealot, come to cleanse the ‘stinking stables of Arabia’ once more with the Word of God. But the Word of God proved insufficient for the task. Like the Prophet, Abdul Wahhab needed a sword as well – and to his eternal joy, he found one in Muhammad bin Saud and his family…Although Muhammad bin Saud was only one of the numerous quarrelling Nejdi sheikhs at the time, little more important than the rest, he evidently grasped that a man who had a message would give him an edge over all his rivals, enabling him to unite Bedouin and townsfolk in a new jihad to extend his personal dominion…

…Accordingly, in 1744 Muhammad bin Saud married off his son, Abdul Aziz, to a daughter of the preacher and thus sealed a compact between the two families that has been continued unbroken by their descendants ever since…Contemporary Saudi Arabia, for all its money and the new corruption and idolatry that wealth has encouraged, remains in theory and to a surprising extent in practice, a Wahhabist state, officially dedicated to the preservation of pure Islam as propounded by Muhammad bin Abdul Wahhab.”

“A penetrating analysis and major contribution the the literature of the subject” – The Sunday Times.

“An impressive work by two distinguished British journalists” – New Statesman.



“The House of Saud…wealth and power to make the world tremble”… Saudi Arabia is USA’s partner in the Middle East… 

Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah died on 23 January 2015  and Western governments lowered their countries’ flag to half mast…WHY? For a King who allowed women to be whipped, stoned, beheaded, or imprisoned for years for such things as being raped, driving a car, or speaking out about the Saudi Arabia’s disgusting treatment of women?  

Oh that’s right, Western Governments loved this King for his wealth and his oil! Who cares how he treats women, even his own daughters and granddaughters, as long as the oil keeps flowing?  And are we really sure slavery has been abolished in Saudi Arabia?

And what of the Saudi’s treatment of gays?


When are Islamic countries going to face up to the fact that homosexuality exists in their countries  and that the majority of their people are just as human as most Westerners?  In my experience of life, religious righteousness and fervour only encourage hypocrisy.   Suppressing our true natures  and living a lie propped up by constant prayer and ritual can only cause grief and violence in the long run.  As I have stated previously on my blog,  many men from Islamic countries live a huge lie by following and enforcing Islamic laws and religious beliefs within their own countries, but once they step into  secular, liberated Western countries, they rape, or become the homosexuals they desire or pay for  glamorous prostitutes.  Some have mistresses and children in Western countries they would not like their Mullahs at home to find out about.

In their worlds  of make-believe, Islam and Catholicism are alike.

Prince Abdulaziz bin Nasser  Al Saud

News and prince’s photo from Express.Co.UK  and UK News:

The prince once beat his aide Mr Bandar Abdullah Abdulaziz so hard his right ear swelled up to three times its normal size, and after one attack, he had to wear a hat and sunglasses while eating at a top restaurant to hide his injuries, the jury was told.

It is alleged that Al Saud was caught on CCTV subjecting his aide to savage and prolonged beatings in the lifts at the five-star Landmark hotel in Mayfair.  The court had heard that behind closed doors, the hotel staff thought the two men were “just like a couple” who spent their time in bars and nightclubs.

Saud Abdulaziz bin Nasser al Saud, 34, is on trial in London after 32-year-old Bandar died during a brutal attack with a “sexual element” on February 15.  Two male escorts are alleged to have performed sex acts on the prince at the hotel in central London where he and Bandar were staying.  The jury in the case was told gay relationships are illegal under Saudi Arabia’s sharia law code.

In the early hours of February 15, fellow guests heard thuds coming from their room and the body of the servant was later found on a blood-spattered bed. His head and face were badly bruised, his teeth broken and his left eye swollen and closed. Bones in his neck had been fractured as if he had been strangled and there was deep bruising to his back, fractured ribs and “trauma” to his abdomen caused by punches or kicks, the court heard.

He had also suffered brain damage and there were bite marks to his cheeks, left arm and possibly to his ears, the jury was told. It was said that Al Saud stood over the body “very upset and crying” as he spoke on the telephone saying: “I don’t believe it”.

The prince  at first claimed he was not involved in the killing. He told police Bandar had died from injuries suffered in a street robbery three weeks earlier.

But blood stains suggested a series of assaults before the killing, the jury was told. Detectives also seized CCTV film said to show the prince beating him. Al Saud tried to make out that he was not gay and had a girlfriend in Saudi Arabia, the jury heard. Jonathan Laidlaw, QC, prosecuting, said: “The bare fact of his sexuality would ordinarily be of no relevance in a criminal trial.

But it is clear that his abuse of Bandar was not confined simply to physical beatings.” He added: “Concealing the sexual aspect to his abuse of the victim was for all together more sinister reasons.” Al Saud denies murder and causing grievous bodily harm. Mr Laidlaw told the jury the Saudi royal admits being responsible for his manservant’s death.

Follow-up World News Item 21/10/2010:

Saud Bin Abdulaziz Bin Nasir al Saud, 34, was jailed for life by a British court on Wednesday for murdering his male servant in a brutal attack at a London hotel after a long campaign of sexual abuse.  He was ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years by a judge at London’s Old Bailey, also known as the Central Criminal Court.

The court convicted Saud of beating and strangling Bandar Abdullah Abdulaziz to death on February 15 at the culmination of a lengthy period of sexual violence towards his employee. Saud – whose mother is a daughter of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah – had tried to claim diplomatic immunity when he was arrested following the discovery of his servant’s body in their shared suite at the luxury Landmark hotel.

The victim, also a Saudi, was left with severe injuries including bite marks on both cheeks which prosecutors said showed a clear “sexual element” to the killing. The prince’s lawyers argued that he could face the death penalty in Saudi Arabia over the revelations of homosexuality aired at the trial. (you mean the Saudi authorities aren’t too bothered about the brutal murder of another Saudi – it is homosexuality that is the major crime here!?) Witnesses had told the court that Bandar – an orphan who was adopted into the family of a low-ranking civil servant in Jeddah – was treated “like a slave”. A post-mortem found Bandar had suffered chipped teeth, heavy blows to the head, injuries to the brain and ears and severe neck injuries consistent with strangulation by hand, the trial heard.


The prince was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment when in 2010, he was found guilty at the Old Bailey of murdering his servant Bandar Abdulaziz. In March, 2013 he was allowed to return to Saudi Arabia to serve the remainder of his term in a Saudi prison. According to the agreement between the U.K. and Saudi Arabia, he must serve at least 20 years before he can be released. 


Abdul Aziz [Ibn Saud] with the eldest of his grandsons in 1935

Quote from the blurb of  ‘The House of Saud’:

At Riyadh, in 1902 the Desert Raider Ibn Saud [Abdul Aziz] tossed  the head of the town governor from a parapet down to his followers below…thus was the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia founded. Two-thirds of the size of India, it holds a quarter of the world’s oil and has six times more overseas assets than the USA.   A land of desert unchanged for centuries, with wealth and power to make the world tremble…the domain of the House of Saud

-Anne Frandi-Coory – 25 January 2015


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