Sandra S. Mackey
Sandra S. Mackey
  • September 13, 1937 - April 19, 2015
  • Atlanta, Georgia

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Sandra Mackey, 77, Middle East Author

Sandra Sherman Mackey, a Middle East expert and author of six books and numerous articles, passed away on Sunday, April 19th. She was 77.

After graduating with a history degree from the University of Central Oklahoma, Sandra Mackey pursued a graduate degree in International Relations at the University of Virginia. She was in the first class of females to attend the graduate program at UVA.

In 1978, she moved with her family to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, where she spent four years reporting on Saudi politics, economics, military affairs, and society. Her many articles on the Middle East have appeared in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Christian Science Monitor, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the International Hearld Tribune, the Guardian, the Atlanta Journal Constitution, USA Today, and The National Interest.

In 1987, she published her first of six books, The Saudis: Inside the Desert Kingdom. This was followed by Lebanon: Death of a Nation, a New York Times "Notable Book of 1989"; Passion and Politics: The Turbulent World of the Arabs (1992); The Iranians: Persia, Islam, and the Soul of a Nation (1996); The Reckoning: Iraq and the Legacy of Saddam Hussein (2002), which was featured on the cover of the New York Times Review of Books,; and Mirror of the Arab World: Lebanon in Conflict (2008). In addition to her individual works, she also contributed a chapter on twentieth century politics to the National Geographic publication Cradle and Crucible: History in Faith in the Middle East.

A frequent commentator on the Middle East, Sandra appeared on CNN, MSNBC, Fox, Nightline, ABC Evening News, CBS Sunday Morning, C-Span, National Public Radio, Monitor Radio, the BBC, Canadian Broadcasting, Bill Mahr's Politically Incorrect and many local media outlets.

In researching her writing, Sandra traveled to Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, Libya, and Morocco. In the years of 1992, 1993, and 1994, she traveled as an unaccompanied Western woman to Iran for six weeks at a time. She traveled to Iraq in 1998 and 1999, and returned in October of 2004 with the 1st Infantry Division.

From 2004-2010, she aided in preparing upper level officers in the U.S. Army who were rotating to Iraq.

Sandra Mackey was a masterful teacher. She taught history at Harding High School in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma and St. Anne's School in Charlottesville, Virginia. She taught political science at Georgia State University and was a visiting scholar in the Woodrow Wilson Department of Government and Foreign Affairs at the University of Virginia.

As an active member of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Sandra shared her expertise in the Education Ministry by leading Sunday School classes and giving lectures to the congregation and community of Atlanta in times of turmoil in the Middle East.

Sandra was politically active, volunteering in political campaigns and rallying for causes from Civil Rights to women's rights to gun control, including participating in the March on Washington in 1963.

She is survived by her loving husband and partner, Dan, her son, Colin, her daughter-in-law, Patty, and her cherished grandson, Adrian.

Services will be held on Thursday, April 23rd at 11:00am at Trinity Presbyterian Church, 3003 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta 30327.

In lieu of flowers, the family requests memorial donations be made to support research at the Emory Parkinson's and Movement Disorders Program (Emory University, Attn: Katie Dozier, 1440 Clifton Road NE, Suite 170, Atlanta, GA 30322) or to the Boys and Girls Clubs of Metro Atlanta (1275 Peachtree St. NE, Suite 500, Atlanta 30309). Online condolences may be made at