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

3.98 of 5 stars 3.98  ·  rating details  ·  18,445 ratings  ·  1,841 reviews
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 priso ...more
Paperback, 286 pages
Published June 23rd 2005 by Windsor-Brooke Books (first published 1992)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jean Sasson
Jan 14, 2014 Jean Sasson rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  (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!
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
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
Dan Schwent
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 25, 2007 Renee rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: anyone interested in role of women in Islam
Shelves: bookclub, biography, islam
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,
Raven and Beez
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
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,
Oct 22, 2007 Debarati rated it 4 of 5 stars
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
Jul 18, 2008 Cheri added it
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
Jan 30, 2015 Anastasia rated it 1 of 5 stars
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 It read like a novel: the way the chapters were structured, the horrifying crimes committed by the males in the story (I'm
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.
This book provoked me to the extent that I couldn’t help but to write my opinion about it and its author as Muslim girl and a middle eastern. “Princess” is a book that allegedly reveals a true story of a real Saudi princess, which was given the name of Sultana to protect her from the consequences of publishing this book, yet the author reveals every small detail of her life to her precise relation to the king of Saudi (Abdulaziz) which makes it very easy to figure out who she was, if she was ac ...more
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
Irina Garaeva
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
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
*{ كلا إن الإنسان ليطغى * أن رآه استغنى}*

أكثر شي ضحكت عليه

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
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
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
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
Feb 23, 2008 Annette rated it 3 of 5 stars
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
This pictures portrays the life of a Saudi Princess. The book captures the reader's attention. The atrocious acts committed against women are difficult to read about at some points. I have to admit that some of the incidents absolutely incensed me, but it does illustrate some of the reasons why those in power have a great deal to lose by allowing progress to take hold.

I was bummed about the abrupt ending, but there are sequels I have heard. So maybe some of the hanging questions are explored in
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
I have read several books by contemporary Muslim women from Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, and Iran. Women from all of these countries have sad tales to tell about the strict laws of Islam and the cultural prejudices that restrict women's activities, personal expression and freedom, and keep them closely under the control of their fathers, husbands, or other men in their families. However, no stories were more heart-wrenching than this tale of a woman's life in Saudi Arabia. The narrator, known as S ...more
I wasn't sure if I should give 3 or 4 stars to rate the book. I liked reading this book because it was "easy to read" and because the story kept me reading almost "all night" and thinking about it when I wasn't reading the book. I read some reviews about this book and there were some people saying that the story isn't true. I don't know if it's true or not, but, it's shocking to imagine that it's still possible that in the 21st Century there might be a lot of women that have not one of the basic ...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
Ashlee Suddarth
The book Princess is about a young woman living the life of the royal family. The book tells the real life stories of this one girl and her family and friends. It blew me away when reading these stories. The women are looked at as tools used to reproduce sons and are they are only there for the sexual pleasures of the men.
The young lady in this story goes by the name, Princess Sultana. She is ahead of her time; because of this she had to learn to keep her thoughts to herself. It was shocking t
Ellen Isabella
This book reveals the story of the life in Saudi Arabia. A royal princess, Sultana, has told her story and also the stories of other women in Saudi that were treated so unfairly under the power of Saudi men. Women there are powerless, regarding to the religious beliefs and strong culture. They were abused by men, religious zealots, and law. This happened not only to the ordinary women citizens, but also to the royal families and the non-Muslim women from other countries especially those who came ...more
لا نستطيع أن ننكر أن العائلة المالكة بها مثل ما في الكثير من بيوتنا من تناقضات تصيب المجمتمع العربي المخملي خاصة ، ولكن من الواضحة بشهادة المؤلفة المعروفه بحقدها المتأصل للمجتمع المسلم .. أن راوية القصة (الأميرة) هي في الأساس مختله نوعاً ما وهذا الأمر واضح من البداية سواء كانت القصة حقيقية أو ملفقه ...

لا يعنيني ما يحدث كثيرا داخل القصور الملكية ولكن تعنيني المؤلفة التي تتنقل مرة من السعودية إلى افغانستان إلى العراق منتقدة وباحثة عن كل مثلب في مجتمعاتنا ولو أنها سخرت جزء من هذه الطاقة السلبية لكي
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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)
Princess Sultana's Daughters Princess Sultana's Circle (Princess Trilogy) Mayada, Daughter of Iraq: One Woman's Survival Under Saddam Hussein Love in a Torn Land: Joanna of Kurdistan: The True Story of a Freedom Fighter's Escape from Iraqi Vengeance For the Love of a Son

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