• Blood and Oil

  • Mohammed bin Salman's Ruthless Quest for Global Power
  • By: Bradley Hope, Justin Scheck
  • Narrated by: Peter Ganim
  • Length: 12 hrs and 37 mins
  • 4.6 out of 5 stars (521 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

From award-winning Wall Street Journal reporters comes a revelatory look at the inner workings of the world's most powerful royal family, and how the struggle for succession produced Saudi Arabia's charismatic but ruthless Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, aka MBS.​ 

Thirty five-year-old Mohammed bin Salman's sudden rise stunned the world. Political and business leaders such as former UK prime minister Tony Blair and WME chairman Ari Emanuel flew out to meet with the crown prince and came away convinced that his desire to reform the kingdom was sincere. He spoke passionately about bringing women into the workforce and toning down Saudi Arabia's restrictive Islamic law. He lifted the ban on women driving and explored investments in Silicon Valley.

But MBS began to betray an erratic interior beneath the polish laid on by scores of consultants and public relations experts like McKinsey & Company. The allegations of his extreme brutality and excess began to slip out, including that he ordered the assassination of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. While stamping out dissent by holding 300 people, including prominent members of the Saudi royal family, in the Ritz-Carlton hotel and elsewhere for months, he continued to exhibit his extreme wealth, including buying a $70 million chateau in Europe and one of the world's most expensive yachts. It seemed that he did not understand nor care about how the outside world would react to his displays of autocratic muscle - what mattered was the flex.

Blood and Oil is a gripping work of investigative journalism about one of the world's most decisive and dangerous new leaders. Hope and Scheck show how MBS' precipitous rise coincided with the fraying of the simple bargain that had been at the head of US-Saudi relations for more than 80 years: oil, for military protection. Caught in his net are well-known US bankers, Hollywood figures, and politicians, all eager to help the charming and crafty crown prince.

The Middle East is already a volatile region. Add to the mix an ambitious prince with extraordinary powers, hunger for lucre, a tight relationship with the White House through President Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, and an apparent willingness to break anything - and anyone - that gets in the way of his vision, and the stakes of his rise are bracing. If his bid fails, Saudi Arabia has the potential to become an unstable failed state and a magnet for Islamic extremists. And if his bid to transform his country succeeds, even in part, it will have reverberations around the world.

Longlisted for the Financial Times & McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award

©2020 Bradley Hope and Justin Scheck (P)2020 Hachette Books

Critic Reviews

"This is as close to the truth, to the real story of the corruption, vulgarities, horrors, and lies of the Kingdom and its current despot as we are likely to get. It also can be read as a Shakespearean story of utter greed." (Seymour Hersh, author of Chain of Command)

"A masterful biography...This fast-paced, well-researched book is an excellent primer on current U.S.-Saudi relations and Middle Eastern dynamics, and will also draw in those interested in palace intrigue." (Library Journal, starred review)

"Hope and Scheck take a comprehensive and alarming look at Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman....[They] marshal their research into a page-turning narrative that persuasively casts MBS as a grave danger to the region. This detailed exposé rings true." (Publishers Weekly)  

What listeners say about Blood and Oil

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Nothing New Here

Nothing new in this book if one has been following MBS rise to power. A very difficult book to listen to in part because the reader affects all kinds of accents that seem egoistic and interruptive of a very detailed reading. This book would be much better read by owner. Many complicated Arab relationships and names. It would have been easier to see the names written or to write them making notes as to who was related or connected with whom. The reader also had the most annoying habit of hissing his s’s after every sentence or letting his sentences drawl on softly rather than ending a sentence at the period. All in all a tiresome boring listen.

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Phenomenal

Not one dull moment. Very well-written and narrated. I’m hoping to find another book that comes even close to this.

Great job.

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E X C E L L E N T

First review. Another tour de force from co-author Bradley Hope (co-author of Billion Dollar Whale - a must read/listen). The two authors (and the narrator) did a fantastic job on this book (and audio book)

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Tells it all

A page turner as well as a thoroughly researched
Biography about the development of a Saudi prince. The Arab state of government100 princes as is well
Explained. Essentially leaders from 6 tribes
share a common identity . There are possibly.
100 princes in line for the throne. The book is about one of the princes power plays Against anyone else who wants to reach the
Throne. No spoilers as to whether he succeeds or not.



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Entertaining and educational

narrator was awesome. entertaining and educational for those interested in understanding the power dynamics in the middle east of late...

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So interesting!!

I have followed MBS news for many years now but this book gave so much great insight into his and his family’s life. I loved it — it was interesting and the story moved quickly, so I was never bored. Really fantastic read!

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Fascinating!

For anybody working or interested in the Middle East, this is an absolute must. The authors provide solid insight into the psyche of one of the region's most enigmatic characters.

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my view

the story is Biased. and some stories are repeated. the reality of the story is questionable.

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an epic joy

I listened @ 1.7 speed and spread it over a couple flights, midwest to west coast. loved, loved it.

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character study by open source intel of events

a chronology of the past several years of MBS's role in reshaping the kingdom. it manages to paint a portrait of the person without being overly biased by his positive role as a much needed reformer or the at times capricious at times cutthroat methods he brings to the table to accomplish these massive changes within such a compressed period of time.