Excerpt from Inside The Kingdom by Carmen Bin Ladin, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Inside The Kingdom

My Life in Saudi Arabia

by Carmen Bin Ladin

Inside The Kingdom by Carmen Bin Ladin
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

  • First Published:
    Jul 2004, 224 pages
    Paperback:
    Jun 2005, 224 pages

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
BookBrowse Review Team

Buy This Book

About this Book

Print Excerpt


Osama was a warlord, who assisted the Afghan rebels in their fight against the Soviet occupation of their country. When the Soviets left, Osama returned home, to Saudi Arabia. For many he was already a hero.

When Iraq invaded Kuwait, in 1990, Osama was outraged at the idea that U.S. forces might use Saudi Arabia as a base. He offered Saudi King Fahd the use of his Afghan warriors to fight Saddam Hussein. Some of the more religious princes thought Osama's ideas had merit, but King Fahd refused.

Osama began making incendiary statements against the corruption and moral bankruptcy of the Saudi ruling family, and the Americans who were defending them. Finally, Osama was forced to leave his country, and take refuge in Sudan, where his compound of armed men was surrounded by sentries in tanks. Then he moved back to Afghanistan.

In those days, even though we were separated, I was still on speaking terms with Yeslam, who kept me up-to-date on the evolution in Saudi Arabia and the Bin Laden family news—including Osama's whereabouts. Yeslam told me that Osama's power was growing, despite his exile. Osama, he said, was under the protection of conservative members of the Saudi royal family.

In 1996, when a truck bomb blasted the Khobar Towers living quarters of American forces posted in Dahran, in eastern Saudi Arabia, Osama was mentioned as a possible culprit. I was dumbstruck, yet I knew it could be true. Who else could possibly have at his disposal enough explosives in a country so highly controlled? Osama was a warrior, a zealot, and a member of the family that jointly owned the Bin Laden Organization—the wealthiest and most powerful construction company in Saudi Arabia. I knew of Osama's fiercely extreme opinions, and deep down I felt that he was capable of a terrible, blind violence.

As attack followed attack, I read everything I could lay my hands on about Osama. So on September 9, 2001, when the news broke of the attack on Afghan fighter Ahmed Shah Massoud, I realized it had to be Osama's doing. I walked over to the television, with a sick feeling. "This is Osama. He is getting ready for something truly awful." "Oh Carmen, you're obsessed," scoffed a friend of mine. But I knew.

I wish I had been wrong.

It never occurred to me that Osama was plotting an assault on the heart of New York. I thought perhaps it would be an embassy—that would have been bad enough. But when the World Trade Center went down in flames just two days after Massoud's death, it hit me again. The sick feeling in my stomach. The fear.

Now I know that it will never go away again.

In the days that followed the attack on the World Trade Center, our lives revolved around the TV news bulletins. The toll of victims kept rising, as the dust settled on the ashen streets of my children's favorite city. We watched people searching for the missing, clutching old snapshots in their hands. Bereaved relatives told reporters about the last phone messages left on their answering machines before their loved ones died. There were those awful photographs of people jumping. I kept thinking, "What if Wafah had been there?" I felt so very deeply for those mothers, for those children.

My three girls were distraught with grief and bewilderment. Noor, the girl who just one year earlier had brought an American flag home from South Carolina to stick on her bedroom wall, sank into despondency. She sobbed, "Mom, New York will never be the same." Fortunately, she never became the target of hostility from her classmates: Her pro-American cheerleading had made her the subject of friendly teasing for years, so all her friends realized how truly hurt my little girl was.

We hardly left the house. Reporters called constantly: I was the only Bin Laden in Europe with a listed phone number. Friends called, their voices strained. Then they stopped calling. We were rapidly becoming personae non grata. The Bin Laden name frightened even the hardiest professionals. A new law firm refused to take my divorce case: I suddenly found myself without a lawyer.

Copyright © 2004 by Carmen Bin Ladin.

Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" backstories
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $10 for 3 months or $35 for a year
  • More about membership!

Support BookBrowse

Become a Member and discover books that entertain, engage & enlighten!

Join Today!

Editor's Choice

  • Book Jacket: Priestdaddy
    Priestdaddy
    by Patricia Lockwood
    Patricia Lockwood is a poet and the daughter of Greg Lockwood, a Catholic priest. While Catholic ...
  • Book Jacket: Before We Sleep
    Before We Sleep
    by Jeffrey Lent
    Katey Snow, aged seventeen, leaves home one night. "There was a void within her and one that could ...
  • Book Jacket
    The Hermit
    by Thomas Rydahl
    If you can be comfortable with Scandinavian noir played out against the sun-drenched backdrop of ...

Win this book!
Win News of the World

News of the World

A brilliant work of historical fiction that explores the boundaries of family, responsibility, honor, and trust.

Enter

First Impressions

  • Book Jacket

    The Weight of Ink
    by Rachel Kadish

    An intellectual, suspenseful, and entertaining page-turner.
    Reader Reviews

Word Play

Solve this clue:

T's S I Numbers

and be entered to win..

Book Discussion
Book Jacket
The One-in-a-Million Boy by Monica Wood

A richly layered novel of hearts broken seemingly beyond repair and then bound by a stunning act of human devotion.

About the book
Join the discussion!

Books that     
entertain,
     engage

 & enlighten

Visitors can view some of BookBrowse for free. Full access is for members only.

Join Today!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends books that we believe to be best in class. Books that will whisk you to faraway places and times, that will expand your mind and challenge you -- the kinds of books you just can't wait to tell your friends about.