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Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia

3.62 of 5 stars 3.62  ·  rating details  ·  2,972 ratings  ·  440 reviews
Osama bin Laden's former sister-in-law provides a penetrating, unusually inti- mate look into Saudi soci-ety and the bin Laden family's role within it, as well as the treatment of Saudi women. On September 11th, 2001, Carmen bin Ladin heard the news that the Twin Towers had been struck. She instinctively knew that her ex-brother-in-law was involved in these hor-rifying act ...more
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Published July 31st 2007 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 1386)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Zach Peterson
While I do sympathize with the struggle of many middle eastern women, I thought this book was an exercise in victimhood. This woman who was much more privileged than the majority of any population complains and whines the entire book about her situation, while the whole time she was able to escape. She spoke of how hard it was for her and how she had to take a holiday to Europe. Sorry if I reserve my guilt for those who can not whisk themselves away at their whim. I believe her to be opportunist ...more
Ali Al-Gharrash
الكتاب يتحدث عن تجربة السيدة كارمن في الحياة في المملكة العربية السعودية مع زوجها السعودي يسلم بن لادن حيث عايشت فترة ما قبل الطفرة وفترة الطفرة وفي اعتقادي ان رؤيتها ناقصة وغير منصفة على الشعب السعودي فهي لم تعش مع جميع اطياف الشعب السعودي او تحتك بهم بل عايشت فئة قليلة وطبقة محددة فقط وعممت سلوكهم ومعتقداتهم على الشعب السعودي ككل وهذا في اعتنقادي فيه كثير من التجني وعدم الإنصاف

في النهاية نستطيع ان نعتبر هذا الكتاب تجربة لغربية عاشت في المملكة العربية السعودية ويسلط الضوء على اسلوب حياة طبقة مع
...more
♥ Marlene♥
Dec 19, 2008 ♥ Marlene♥ rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to ♥ Marlene♥ by: CdnBlueRose
on Friday, December 19, 2008


Finished it last night (Dec.18) . Guess what I loved her conclusion, the last chapter and she has given me a sentence I want to remember cause I totally agree with it.

They will use our tolerance to infiltrate our society with there intolerance.
This is so true. The Netherlands is well known for its tolerance but it slowly is giving away because we have let so many people into our country who now want us to change and do not like all the freedoms we have!

Now about th
...more
Sanjina
I found it to be very stuffy, stuck up, but sometimes honest and even touching prose. It is definitely well written, and the author’s personality shines through ever page. It is a good insight into the lifestyle of the Muslim woman in Saudi Arabia, however, I cannot help but feel that this is a completely biased story. I don’t trust the author. I don’t feel like she is a person I would enjoy having a conversation with if I knew her. I have a looming feeling that her perspective of reality is tre ...more
Melinda
This book was fascinating to read alongside Michael Scheuer's "Osama Bin Laden". Scheuer was head of the CIA's Osama Bin Laden unit from 1996 to 1999. He knows alot about OSB, but more about his book later.

Carmen Bin Ladin married into the Bin Laden family. (If you are noting the spelling difference between "Ladin" and "Laden", they use "bin Ladin" to refer to Carmen and her husband Yeslam, but use "bin Laden" when referring to the family clan.) Her father was Swiss and her mother was Persian (I
...more
Lestari Nurhayati
Oct 09, 2008 Lestari Nurhayati rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone who still thinking that Saudi Arabia so "pure" and didn't have any related with Osama:D
George Bush and every personel milliter also CIA must read this book:D !!! Carmen give the good answer how to caugth Osama Bin Laden. "Just stop it all of money flow from Saudi Arabia to Osama, whereas the Osama hidden!" ;)

Because without money from Saudi Arabia, Osama couldn't continued his war. This book so clear description the life style of Kingdom Saudi Arabia family, also how the act to women, as like as their property.

Carmen write with so brave and told the truth about what ever happen in
...more
Nathaniel James
I came across this book during a search for something entirely different, but was intrigued enough to obtain a copy and read it. With so much emphasis on Osama bin Laden, it is quite a surprise to see how little most people actually know about the family itself, its history and relationship to the Saudi royal family. Carmen, who was married to Yeslam bin Laden – one of 54 siblings – for eighteen years, is particularly well-placed to provide an account of the family and its history, having lived ...more
Kara
Before I even read this, I got the sense that this woman was exploiting her last name for profit. And that's exactly what this is.

You go into the book thinking "wow - she married Bin Ladin's brother, so she must have all these stories to tell about him." Well she doesn't, because she's never met him. Neither has her husband! She exploits the Bin Laden name to sell books. Bin Laden has something like 35 siblings, but if you just arbitrarily picked this book up thinking you're going to get some "i
...more
Carol Hunter
I'm very interested in reading books that help me understand the middle east. This interesting book about Carmen Bin Laden's life while inside the Bin Laden family helped my knowledge base. Carmen fell in love with a rich Saudi, young man, that she met in Geneva. She was not prepared for living the very repressive female role that is necessary in Saudi Arabia. She sheds some light on Osama Bin Laden. Carmen eventually leaves her husband, his family, & fights to retain her daughters.
Beth
They should republish this book with the by-line:
"Rich House Wives of Saudi Arabia"
Natalie Wickham
Written by the sister-in-law to Osama Bin Laden, this account gives an enlightening look into the oppressive culture of Islam in Saudi Arabia. Carmen is the wife (though now divorced) of Yeslam, one of the 54 children of the family patriarch, Sheikh Mohamed. His brother is the now infamous Osama Bin Laden, alleged mastermind behind the 9/11 terrorist attacks. The Bin Laden’s amassed their wealth through the formation of the Bin Laden Organization – a construction company that was employed to reb ...more
Darlene
I could not stop reading this book.Ms. Bin Ladin writes about her experiences being married to a brother of Osama Bin Laden and what it meant to be a foreigner (she was from Switzerland) in Saudi Arabia..... more importantly.. what it meant to be a WOMAN in Saudi Arabia.Reading this book made me feel grateful to be a woman in the United States. Although there are times when women in the United States have felt frustrated with the pace of change, reading about women's lives in Saudi Arabia was a ...more
Ashlee
This book was incredible. I bought this book a long time ago and have wanted to read it for awhile. This book is about Carmen Bin Ladin, the sister-in-law to Osama Bin Ladin. She writes the book herself and it is about her life as a Bin Ladin wife. Her husband, Yeslam Bin Ladin, is one of the fifty children of his father. His father who also had over twenty wives managed to build a life for himself as the most successful construction company in Saudi Arabia. The entire book is about Carmen's lif ...more
Cwhittall
This is a fascinating inside look at the family of Mohammed Bin Laden, the wealthy construction entrepreneur and father of Osama Bin Laden. Carmen is a Persian raised on Geneva who married one of Osama's brothers and for more than a decade lived the life of a wife and mother in a wealthy Saudi family.

Amy was reading this when I was reading The Looming Tower, and after reading that book I was so fascinated by the role of women in fundamentalist Islamic societies that I plowed into this excellent
...more
Debbie
I did not think this book was particularly well-written. However, it does provide a very good first-hand view of life inside Saudi Arabia.

The author was married to Osama bin Laden's brother (one of his 21 or 22 brothers). Born to an Iranian mother and Swiss father, she was raised in Europe. After she married bin Laden, they moved to Saudi Arabia to raise their family. But her life soon become hell due to all the Saudi restrictions against women and the cultural taboos.

She was like a bird in a ca
...more
C.
Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia by the Persian/Swiss~ Carmen Bin Ladin" who met Yeslam bin Ladin, Osama's older brother; after a fairy-tale courtship, including a semester together at USC[this was some period of time before 9/11].This story is so sad.

They were so in love,and he was a sensitive modern male, nothing like those backwards thinking Neanderthal radical Muslims that his brothers are! After Yeslam was called home to help with the family construction business[they do the con
...more
Kelly
Wow. This book was fascinating. I loved the very personal and honest approach. I know it's just one woman's opinion about the strict social mores of the middle east, a half western woman rather than a true local at that, but I feel her view of the way it happened is truthful and objective. I thought about this a lot, it's easy to be subjective and see things as you want rather than as they are, but she remains very respectful of her former relationship with the Bin Ladin family and doesn't try t ...more
Nancy
So, I'm trying to catologue my books (because what if the house burned down? How would I know what to tell the insurance company???), and I was going through one of the bookcases and found this book. It actually belongs to my mother, and I was supposed to read it and mail it back to her YEARS ago. Which I am now going to do. But I thought I'd better read it fast.

Carmen Bin Ladin is not a talented writer, but she is competent, and her story is sort of fascinating to a western sensibility. (In a
...more
Andrea
This book was riveting to me. It is a true story, and is written by a woman who is not a writer, so don't expect it to be a literary marvel. But the details she reveals about life in Saudi Arabia was eye-opening to me. I am not very familiar with the culture in the Middle East, and this book really detailed why the culture is defined by the Islam religion, and why it makes people do what they do there.

The author married a half-brother of Osama bin Ladin, and she describes a little about him and
...more
Hannah
This was a very interesting read on the life inside Saudi Arabia.

I admire Carmen for everything she has been through and what she did to spare her daughters of the life she could have easily succumbed to.
Anita
The author was Osama Bin Ladin's sister-in-law. A New York Times review of the book reads: "If you want to beat Osama, you've got the start by listening to Carmen."

Well, the book does nothing of the sort -- spill the beans on Osama that is. Instead it is an exposé of her restricted life, behind the veil, married into the Bin Laden clan.

This is a quick read, compared to Jean Sasson's 'Princess Sultana' (3-book) series, which expounds in greater detail the lives of women in Saudi Arabia, the rel
...more
Lucia
This book caused a big impression on me, because as you read, you learn about society in Saudi Arabia, about its culture, and especially eye-opening is how women are treated. Carmen Bin Ladin tells her story, and though she was very lucky because she lived in a wealthy family and had many privileges, it is also impressive how well she managed to keep some part of her western culture mindset and how she managed in a closed culture that never accepted her fully, not even the family of her husband, ...more
Neda Azimi
کتابی هست که نویسنده ی آن با نثر روان زندگی یک زن و مادر خارجی در عربستان سعودی رو خیلی زیبا توضیح میده تقریبا به این نتیجه رسیده که باوجود این همه سرمایه و پول سرسام آور نفتی که در جیب سعودی ها سرریز میشه با اینحال جامعه سعودی مدام رو به عقب میره و بیشتر به این دلیل هست که در آن کشور دین وهابیت قانون مطلق به حساب میاد و به دلیل پایبندی به وهابیت، آل سعود هیچ بهره ایی از نعمت آزادی در اندیشه و انتخاب نمیبرند

زنان آل سعود در همه جا در خانه و خیابان و خانواده و مکان های دیگه به نوعی زندانی مردان و
...more
Micaylah G
Although naive in her thinking that Saudi Arabia would become a more progressive country, she had reason to believe so in the 70s. With money flowing into the country with a snowball effect, as a Westernized woman she was seeing things on the outside and not really understanding the Saudi mindset.

This book takes you through her journey of love, hope, family, and finally reality and sorrow. It gives you insight to the Bin Laden family matrix and the protocols that this privileged family lived by.
...more
Trevor
Quite an interesting book this one. Facebook appears to be showing it as a different book but it's definitely "The Veiled Kingdom".

Carmen Bin Ladin is the sister in law to Osama, I don't think he needs any introduction.

The book itself details Carmen meeting and eventually marrying Yeslam Bin Ladin and moving to Saudi Arabia. The rest of book centres very much around the culture and way of life in Saudi, and especially the way the women are treated very much as second class citizens, there to act
...more
caroline
Read this book while I was traveling in Jordan with my half-Jordanian boyfriend. It was actually quite scary. I think I should have read it first. I got out okay though!
Melanie Ali
This was fascinating for its insight into daily life in Saudi Arabia, as well into what it's like to be a female in the Bin Ladin family. A big negative, however, is that Carmen doesn't come across as genuine. It's hard to believe that she has nearly as strong Western values as she claims to have, yet would marry into the Bin Ladin family and live for years in Saudi Arabia. She portrays herself as a strong woman who had a nearly egalitarian relationship with her husband and who constantly reeled ...more
Laura
May 21, 2014 Laura rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Laura by: Elsie
Shelves: read-in-2014
A truly fascinating perspective of life inside Saudi Arabia and inside the Bin Laden family. I often had difficulty relating to the author and her extremely (bordering on ridiculously) privileged life, and I didn't rate the book highly because I didn't find the writing to be very strong. Reading the description of her "escaping" an ultra-orthodox islamic clan and country I expected a little more drama than her just deciding to stay in her Swiss mansion instead of taking her private jet back to S ...more
Jules
No one will be able to argue with the majority of content of this book as it explains the difficulties of life experienced by women in Saudi Arabia. The author Carmen Bin Ladin uses her notorious married name to outline issues of her ‘veiled’ life following her marriage to Yeslem, one of Osama Bin Laden’s older brothers.

Born in Europe to Swiss-Iranian parentage, Carmen (and I’ll deliberately use her forename rather than her notorious surname here to save any confusion) demonstrates an attitude
...more
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Carmen bin Ladin, born Carmen Dufour, in Geneva, Switzerland, is a member of the bin Laden family. She was raised in Lausanne by her mother only in Switzerland with three little sisters (Salomé, Béatrice, and Magnolia). Her father is Swiss (Dufour) and her mother Persian (Mirdoht-Sheybani).

Carmen (56 years old) was married to one of Osama bin Laden's older brothers, Yeslam bin Ladin, until 1988. T
...more
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Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia

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