On September 11, 2001, Carmen Bin Ladin heard the news that the Twin Towers had been struck. She instinctively knew that her brother-in-law was involved in these horrifying acts of terrorism, and her heart went out to America. She also knew that her life and the lives of her daughters would never be the same again.
In 1974 Carmen, half-Swiss and half-Persian, married into the Bin Laden family. She was young and in love, an independent European woman about to join a complex clan and a culture she neither knew nor understood. In Saudi Arabia, she was forbidden to leave her home without the head-to-toe black abaya that completely covered her. Her face could never be seen by a man outside the family. And according to Saudi law, her husband could divorce her at will, without any kind of court procedure, and take her children away from her forever.
Carmen was an outsider among the Bin Laden wives, their closets full of haute couture dresses, their rights so restricted that they could not go outside their homes-not even to cross the street-without a chaperone. The author takes us inside the hearts and minds of these women-always at the mercy of the husbands who totally control their lives, and always convinced that their religion and culture are superior to any other. And as Carmen tells of her struggle to save her marriage and raise her daughters to be freethinking young women, she describes this family's ties to the Saudi royal family and introduces us to the ever loyal Bin Laden brothers, including one particular brother-in-law she was to encounter-Osama.
In 1988, in Switzerland, Carmen Bin Ladin separated from her husband and began one of her toughest battles: to gain the custody of her three daughters. Now, with her candid memoir, she dares to pull off the veils that conceal one of the most powerful, secretive, and repressive countries in the world--and the Bin Laden family's role within it. Inside The Kingdom is shocking, impossible to put down, and a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand the events of today's world.
USA Today - Carol Memmott
Bin Ladin's story is a courageous one. To stand up as a woman and share her personal experiences and feelings, although quite subjectively, about the Bin Laden family's daily life in Saudi Arabia is surely a bold and possibly consequential act.
The New York Times
Makes a fiery case against what its author calls the oppression and fanaticism that dominates much of Saudi society. Her unabashed conclusion: 'The Saudis are the Taliban, in luxury.'
Addicted to the "I-married-the-Mob" genre? Try this variation: smart women who marry Islamic fundamentalists....The gravity of the events Carmen writes of, her insider's perspective and her engaging style make this memoir a page-turner.
International Herald Tribune
Carmen Bin Ladin chronicles her nine years of married life in a puritanical, male-dominated community where 'women are no more than house pets'....the book is a diary-style account of her struggle to cope with rules and strictures as suffocating as the desert climate.
Tells how she fell in love with the rich Saudi Arabian that she met in Geneva, and how, after the early days of happiness, she had to face the reality of life within a powerful Saudi family...Today she has chosen to tell the truth...For her it is the only way to fight against the terror.
Takes us into the heart of the ruling class of Saudi Arabia, and into the Bin Laden tribe...The Middle Ages in the desert with dollars added...she fled the clan, fought to save her children, publicly condemned Osama, and criticized Saudi Arabia: that's a lot.
Recent Reader Reviews
Rated of 5
by louise Truth I found the writing simple and non sensationalist. This lady was not trying to create a literary masterpiece. the content was the truth .As one who worked for the Bin Ladens during the 90's inside and outside of KSA i admire the author in her... Read More
Rated of 5
by kate lessig
I could not put this book down. With compelling honesty and clarity Carmen Bin Ladin tells the story of how women for the love of a husband and children can bit by bit be swallowed by the powers that sustain their lives. Yet it is the triumph of... Read More
Rated of 5
There was nothing spectacular about either the content or the style. A rather simple expression of emotions that were supposedly evoked by the author's life in Saudi Arabia. A well written piece of literature makes one sympathize with even the... Read More
Rated of 5
by Suzanne Horne
This book should be read by everyone in America for a comprehensive understanding of the country. I lived in Riyadh for 5 years and agree with everything in the book. Even with a U.S. government... Read More
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