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Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia (The Princess Trilogy #1)

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really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating Details ·  23,917 Ratings  ·  2,202 Reviews
PRINCESS describes the life of Princess Sultana Al Sa'ud, a princess in the royal house of Saudi Arabia. Hidden behind her black veil, she is a prisoner, jailed by her father, her husband and her country.

Sultana tells of appalling oppressions, everyday occurrences that in any other culture would be seen as shocking human rights violations: thirteen-year-old girls forced to
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Nook, 304 pages
Published February 1st 2011 by Liza Dawson Associates (first published 1992)
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Jean Sasson
Apr 15, 2011 Jean Sasson rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I'm the author of this book. It's great to see the ongoing discussions about women in Saudi Arabia. I am delighted to reveal that under the current King Abduallah, that Saudi women are seeing an improvement in life. Although there is a long way to go, there is great hope that change is coming.

Also, I'd like to let readers know that I am currently working with Princess Sultana and one of my publishers on the 4th book on Princess Sultana. It should be published fall 2014. More news to follow!
Candace
Every once in a while I try to read something that is "deeper" than my usual smutty romance selections. This was one of those books. I listened to the Audible version and I could not pull myself away from the plight of Princess Sultana Al Sa'ud and the other women from this story.

Her story offered a poignant look at what life is like for women in Saudi Arabia. Even the wealthiest and most "privileged" women are not spared the cruelty of the misogynistic and oppressive culture. Women are treated
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Shyam
May 16, 2011 Shyam rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-east
First of all, I do not believe that this work is a genuine autobiography of a Saudi princess. It just doesn't make sense to not reveal the name for 'protecting the identity of the author' after giving such a detailed life story and other intimate details about her family structure and other stuff. It is naive to assume that she would not be caught and put to death. I guess, maybe it could be the story of the maid of the Princess or something. Nevertheless I found it to be a highly compelling rea ...more
Fabian Davy
Nov 13, 2010 Fabian Davy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a person who had spent some time in Saudi Arabia as an expatriate, I can say that many elements of this book had indeed lived up to match some of my experiences there. However, it should be noted with caution that this is a tale that spans many years: back from the time when Saudi Arabia is slowly opening itself up to embrace the world and modernization. The country that I came to, live in and left a few years back was a stark contrast to the hear-say and media portrayal of late. In fact, I w ...more
Raven and Beez
Aug 26, 2013 Raven and Beez rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Read on the blog!!

Okay, I might be way too harsh with this review but that's only because I have never hated a book more than this one right here. So here goes my rant.

This book is said to be about Sultana (Not real name) who is a Saudi Princess and even though she belongs to the royal family she is bound by strict rules that define that women are only used for sexual relief and to bear the children for their husbands. And how they are enslaved by their fathers, husbands and brothers.

First of
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Stephanie
Gripping first book in a trilogy about a Saudi Arabian Princess. Non-fiction that reads like a novel.

Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia is the story of Princess Sultana (a pseudonym), who is a Saudi Arabian princess. She told her story to Jean Sasson at great personal risk to herself. Her story starts during her turbulent childhood and continues through to after her arranged marriage. Stories of her family, friends, and servants are intertwined.

The book is an im
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Dan Schwent
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Linda
Dec 30, 2009 Linda rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
After reading this book and comments from other readers, i really feel like i need to say something regarding Islam and Muslims because I am a Muslim.
To all people who read the book, don't be mislead by what you read. That is not the true picture of Islam. What is portrayed in the story is more of culture-based, not religion (Islam particularly). The way the men in the story treated their women is not what is taught in Islam. I know because I am a Muslim, living in a Muslim community. In Islam,
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Renee
Oct 18, 2007 Renee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in role of women in Islam
Shelves: bookclub, islam, biography
Princess, by Jean Sasson is the life story of a Saudi princess as told to an American journalist. It details the dysfunction, hypocrisy and imposed inertia of the royal family in general, and depravity of some members in particular. Most of all, it describes the gilded but treacherous cage in which royal women are forced to live, and the vulnerability of all Saudi & foreign worker women in the Kingdom.

On a personal note, if I thought the Saudis were a bunch of troglodyte degenerates before,
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Debarati
Oct 22, 2007 Debarati rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all
I seriously dont know if the book is fiction or non-fiction. But few months after reading the book I saw an interview of some Arabian princess on a news channel. The incidents she shared sounded so same to the book. It talks about the kind of life women lead in Saudi Arabia. It discloses some shocking facts like a young girl stoned to death and a girl child was married to a man of 50's. The life of a princess in Arab is only about gold and dimonds but when it comes to self respect and love, she ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
3.5 stars
I was slightly put off by the way Princess Sultana tried to portray her life as somehow representative of what average Saudi women have to endure. The reality for most women there is so much worse. She does mention some examples of what happened to other women, but her tone is often self-pitying. "I was born free, yet today I am in chains." Give me a break! Her life of leisure was a dream compared to the lives of most Saudi women. Here's what filled her days:

"Since the servants fed the
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Mansuriah Hassan
Oct 06, 2015 Mansuriah Hassan rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is truly a fabulous book about the life and family of Princess Sultana. It has a touch of humour, despite the suffering. Very defiant and is certainly eye opening in a way we could never imagine. This book had the true Arab feel to it. It makes you want to learn more about the Saudi Arabia culture and their royal family.

This is the story of Princess Sultana, a Saudi princess, living a life of extreme wealth and yet experiencing poverty within the realm of freedom and equality. Princess Sul
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Anastasia
Nov 28, 2013 Anastasia rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
Shelves: islamic-studies
Note: Comments by Jean Sasson and Friederike Monika Adsani or their fake accounts will automatically be deleted.

I am an American who has an interest in both Muslims and Arab countries. I got this book for Christmas. It is a very gripping story, a real page-turner. However, while reading through it I couldn't help noticing that the way the book was written just seemed....off. It read like a novel: the way the chapters were structured, the horrifying crimes committed by the males in the story (I'm
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Cheri
As a woman who has traveled to Saudi Arabia and having worn the veil; I have to admit, when I read the stories of these women Jean Sasson writes of, I now feel--looking back on wearing the veil--that I was somehow an imposter (I can't explain it any better than that) when comparing my life with the lives of these women. My wearing the veil was only compulsory when I went outside the confines of the base on which I was stationed; to these women it is a way of life. I couldn't help but feel that n ...more
Sara M. Abudahab
It's SHOCKING and SICKENING in every possible way! I had a few "that-can't-be-true" moments and I really wished that it wasn't a true story, bc knowing that those acts against women are real and are happening now and are not just history is simply heartbreaking.

I really liked this book although I wished for a better happy ending.
Sue
Jan 10, 2009 Sue rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Remember Margaret Atwood's The Handmaid's Tale? This is the real handmaid's tale. First published in 1992, it has been reissued in paperback. While some of the facts cited about women's lives in Saudi Arabia may have changed since then, most of the story is still, unfortunately, true. Not an easy book to read, but one that gives voice to a whole group of women you never hear from.
Lally
Oct 17, 2010 Lally rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book was terrible. Terribly written, edited terribly, and I have serious reservations over the authenticity of this book. While I do not question that women are treated very poorly in Saudi Arabia and several other Middle Eastern countries, I have a hard time believing that this 'autobiography by proxy' is true. When I picked up this book, the quick internet research I did brought up the pettiness between Jean Sasson and her would-be plagiarism victim and I find it hard to respect an author ...more
Suzannah
Years ago I read Bojidar Marinov's article "Civilisation and Self-Control", which agreed with, and expanded upon, some things I'd already read on Islamic views of sexuality. It's the kind of article that sums up some startling insights in a very concise way, and as a result I never felt I really understood it.

Until I read this book.

Princess, by Jean Sasson, purports to be the memoir of an anonymous woman from the Saudi royal family, passionate about changing the oppressed status of women in her
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فاتن
Feb 22, 2013 فاتن rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
*{ كلا إن الإنسان ليطغى * أن رآه استغنى}*


أكثر شي ضحكت عليه

Selma
May 26, 2015 Selma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Odlično opisan život u zlatnom kavezu - bolno i dirljivo svjedočanstvo o sudbini žena u Saudijskoj Arabiji.
Anum
Hypocrisy rules the land of the religion that strongly condemned the act the act of hypocrisy centuries ago!

The true story of one of the princesses of the royal house of Al Saud in Saudi Arabia is told in a fashion that is both charming and riveting. The veil that guards the women of the Saudi Arabia also hides behind it years of cruelty and injustice.

It was a very strange experience to read this book. It appears highly prophetic to find out that the very people who call themselves the keepers o
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Irina Garaeva
Apr 13, 2013 Irina Garaeva rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A very questionable book. How can it be true and still be published if Saudi is such a strict and even ferocious country? How can this princess (and the writer) still be alive? There are facts that she mentioned - she can not hide from the Royal family :) And all these awful men actions that are described there: sure, there are a lot of restrictions of women rights in Saudi but living here I can't say that local women feel abused and miserable.Of course it depends on family, but lot of them can ...more
Marjanne
This is the true story of a Saudi Arabian Princess. I am sure that most people can guess some of the horrors discussed in this book. Unfortunately, this wasn't really anything new to me. I am fairly familiar with Arab culture. I imagine this book would really surprise some.
This story makes me think that perhaps is it Saudi Arabian men who give Muslims a bad name/reputation (at least here in the US). I am not so quick to condemn them all because of the acts of a few. However, it is difficult to
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Brightness
I finished this book and set it aside, wanting to immediately write an incensed rage review at a world where inequalities like this still exist and atrocities are still committed against women in the name of religion.

Granted, a lot of what occurs to our Sultana and her relatives and friends can be categorized more as cultural practices instead of religious mandates, but to me countries like Saudi Arabia and others have found a way to fuse those two separate categories into one grossly unfair pr
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A'ishah
Aug 07, 2011 A'ishah rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: at-school
This book is pure fiction. I do not say that just because I am a Muslim from Saudi Arabia. I'm saying it because it is true. There are a number of problems with this book, including factual errors and situations that are unlikely/implausible.

My three main problems are:

1. For starters, how does someone just "traveling" to Saudi Arabia just happen to befriend a princess and extract the many details of her life in this book? She's a princess, not a woman on the street, who would still be much mor
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Anaszaidan
ما معنى أن تجمع كل سلبية من مجتمع عربي،كي تسودها كخصال اأبطال قصتك. ثم تنسج من هذا الخليط روايتك التي ستكتب على غلافها: (الكتاب الذي أثار ضجة وأغضب الأسرة الحاكمة)!.

صحيح أنها تحدثت عن سلبيات في المجتمع، كمنع رؤية الخاطب لعروسه، قبل عقد القران.ولكن الحديث عنها وعن غيرها من السلبيات بهذا التضخيم لن يعطي الصورة الواضحة للواقع المعاش سعوديا.

قالت المؤلفة في كتابها بأن الأميرة المسماة في كتابها سلطانة، قد استبشرت خيرا بقدوم القوات الأمريكية لتحرير الكويت،وإقامة هذه القوات في الأراضي السعودية.إذ أن هذا
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Annette
Feb 22, 2008 Annette rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who can handle reading a realistic portrayal of women in Saudi Arabia
Recommended to Annette by: Kalamazoo book club
Shelves: adult, true-stories
This book really affected me. I read this book about 13 years ago and still have not been able to erase the images from my mind. I found the treatment of women, as portrayed in this book, appalling. I was not prepared for the startling realism portrayed in this book. I gave it a favorable rating because it truly made me grateful that I am an American citizen. I did not give it a 4 or 5 because I found it to be emotionally disturbing. I would not recommend this book to anyone who prefers to read ...more
Tempo de Ler
«Quando o normal é proibido, as pessoas caem no anormal.»
E assim é.
Pessoalmente, nada tenho contra qualquer religião nem
tampouco me penso no direito de ter - mas condeno-as , a todas, quando colocam
em perigo ou precarizam tantas vidas.
Condeno-as quando as vejo incutir tanta maldade e perversão num menino de nove anos (Ali - irmão de Sultana).
E ficam-me sempre estas questões: se não conseguem ouvir o riso de uma mulher sem se sentirem sexualmente excitados, como é o caso dos homens afegãos, ou o
...more
Yuanita
Jun 14, 2007 Yuanita rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Untill now, I still have a huge doubt wheter the story is real or just a smart fiction.Sasson claimed her writing to be an original story of a real Arab's Princess who underwent a very tough life in Arabs noble realm.This book tells that becoming a princess of Arabs was not as happy as it might seem.Sasson wrote down every adversity that Princess Sultana (and other Arabs women) had to go through in her stages of life with a full-of-detail way.The story took a setting against a backdrop of Arab w ...more
Bridget
Nov 26, 2007 Bridget rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This was OK. I can't say I learned too much - life sucks if you are a woman in Saudi Arabia...but I knew that already. Reading this reminds me that I am very, very lucky and happy to be an American. There is no mention of how the American writer befriended this Princess or the circumstances surrounding thier friendship. I think I would have liked that story. The end bugged me because it kind of just stopped, and then there was a note to go read the author's 2 more books if you wanted to know mor ...more
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Jean Sasson was born in a small town in Alabama. An avid reader from an early age, she had read all the books in her school library by the time she was 15 years old. She also began her book collection at age 15. When given the chance to travel, Sasson accepted a position at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Riyadh, and lived in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for 12 years. She ...more
More about Jean Sasson...

Other Books in the Series

The Princess Trilogy (3 books)
  • Princess Sultana's Daughters
  • Princess Sultana's Circle (Princess Trilogy)

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