The ex-wife of Osama Bin Ladin's older brother speaks out in this shocking, impossible to put down memoir.
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.
SEPTEMBER 11, 2001, WAS ONE OF THE MOST TRAGIC dates of our lifetimes. It took, and shattered, the lives of thousands of innocent people. It robbed the Western world of its sense of freedom and security. For me, it was a nightmare of grief and horrorone that will imprison me and my three daughters for the rest of our lives.
And yet 9/11 began as a lovely Indian summer day. I was enjoying a leisurely drive from Lausanne to Geneva with my eldest daughter, Wafah, when one of my closest friends, who was working in New York, called me on my cell phone.
"Something terrible just happened," he told me, his voice urgent, from his office in Manhattan. "I'm watching the news. It's incredible: A plane hit one of the towers of the World Trade Center." And then, his voice rising further, he yelled, "Wait a minutethere's another planeit's going straight toward the second tower. Oh my God"he was screaming now"it hit the second ...
No doubt there are more erudite and learned books written post 9/11 (and before, for that matter, for the few people who were interested enough to read the warning signs). However, few have the up close and personal touch of Carmen Bin Ladin's memoir - the Swiss-born ex-wife of Yeslam, Osama's older brother. The life she describes for women in Saudi Arabia is consistently oppressive, and the mentality of the exceedingly rich Bin Ladin family is unnerving to say the least.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (291 words).
If you're interested in learning more about Saudi Arabia and the Wahhabi religious sect, you might find this Washington Post article to be of interest.
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