A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia

Book - 2004
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Sultana is a Saudi Arabian princess, a woman born to fabulous, uncountable wealth. She has four mansions on three continents, her own private jet, glittering jewels, designer dresses galore. But in reality she lives in a gilded cage. She has no freedom, no control over her own life, no value but as a bearer of sons. Hidden behind her black floor-length veil, she is a prisoner, jailed by her father, her husband, her sons, and her country.Sultana is a member of the Saudi royal family, closely related to the king. For the sake of her daughters, she has decided to take the risk of speaking out about the life of women in her country, regardless of their rank. She must hide her identity for fear that the religous leaders in her country would call for her death to punish her honesty. Only a woman in her position could possibly hope to escape from being revealed and punished, despite her cloak and anonymity.Sultana tells of her own life, from her turbulent childhood to her arranged marriage--a happy one until her husband decided to displace her by taking a second wife--and of the lives of her sisters, her friends and her servants. Although they share affection, confidences and an easy camaraderie within the confines of the women's quarters, they also share a history of appaling oppressions, everyday occurrences that in any other culture would be seen as shocking human rights violations; thirteen-year-old girls forced to marry men five times their age, young women killed by drowning, stoning, or isolation in the women's room, a padded, windowless cell where women are confined with neither light nor conversation until death claims them.By speaking out, Sultana risks bringing the wrath of the Saudi establishment upon her head and te heads of her children. But by telling her story to Jean Sasson, Sultana has allowed us to see beyond the veils of this secret society, to the heart of a nation where sex, money, and power reign supreme.
Publisher: Atlanta, Ga. :, Windsor-Brooke Books,, [2004]
Copyright Date: ©2004
ISBN: 9780967673745
Branch Call Number: ANF 305.488927 SAS
Characteristics: 291 pages : illustrations, genealogical table, maps ; 22 cm


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Feb 28, 2020

It was an interesting read, heartbreaking. If it was fiction I'd be so disappointed in the ending but it was nonfiction so it is a tragic ending as far as I'm concerned but I supposed it could be a lot worse.

I read this 20 years ago and it's still on my top 10 list. When this princess' husband took a second wife, she forged his signature and absconded with his private jet and her 5 kids to Germany where she hired five of the biggest body guards she could find. She then zig-zagged across Europe to cover her trail. He does eventually track her down & promises whatever she requests so that she will come home. Compared to most of the women in her culture she was lucky in her marriage, but she tells their stories of rape and helplessness with a sober voice & the courage to stay and fight for the rights of her children. There are two sequels that are lovely because it feels good to hear from her again, but the first book is a blockbuster. I would love to see it made into a movie.

ArapahoeKati Aug 24, 2017

This memoir sucked me in. It was fascinating and some parts were horrifying. A must read.

ArapahoeAlicia Aug 09, 2016

This book really opened my eyes to the experiences of women (even royal women) in the middle east. While it can be disturbing and upsetting at times, I find it to be an absolute must-read and highly recommend the whole trilogy.

Dec 21, 2012

This was a pretty good book. I had hoped things would get better, but I guess that's real life there. I hope God really does some work in the people's lives in this country and pray for them.

BookQueen88 Oct 15, 2012

This was an eye-opener for me, too. I knew that most Muslim women in the Arab world aren't really remotely treated like queens, but even as a Saudi princess, it's the same, if not, worse. Saudi Arabia is actually the second most oppressive nation in the world (North Korea is the first).

Aug 26, 2012

At first I read this book because we were required to in lit class, but as I read on, I realized and learned so many things about Saudi Arabia that I never knew. At some points in the book it's hard to believe this is a real person's life from how disturbing some of the events are. This book is a major eye-opener, and a great read.

Mimi9988 Dec 30, 2011


Mar 27, 2011

Another book that was difficult to read because of the violence to women and children. I am glad I read it though. It was an eye opener.

Oct 13, 2010

An interesting read. Very disturbing in some parts but necessary to understand what these women must endure.

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Jul 04, 2010

email_becs thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over


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