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Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia

3.66  ·  Rating Details ·  3,974 Ratings  ·  510 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 2004)
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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
♥ Marlene♥
Nov 29, 2008 ♥ Marlene♥ rated it really liked it  ·  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
Sep 20, 2007 Sanjina rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 03, 2011 Melinda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography, history
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
Shahr Baran
Dec 07, 2014 Shahr Baran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
ين كتاب سرگذشت كارمن بن لادن دختر دورگه ايراني سوئدي است كه مادري از اشراف زادگان ايران داشته وپدرش سوئدي بوده ..او به همسري بن لادن در مي ايد وسالها در صحرا ودر ميان خانواده بن لادن زندگي ميكند وسختي ها ورنجهاي زيادي را به سان زنان عصر حجر متحمل ميشود ..او زندگي در صحرا را مانند زندگي در قرون وسطي ولي با دلار هاي بي حساب تشبيه ميكند ..او ابتدا از دوران خوش كودكي خويش ميگويد وسپس از ازدواج ودوران تلخ و وحشتناك خود در ميان خانواده سلطنتي سعودي وسپس زندگي در ميان فرقه طالبان ..كتاب بسيار بسيار قشن ...more
Lestari Nurhayati
Oct 09, 2008 Lestari Nurhayati rated it liked it  ·  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
Jun 04, 2009 Beth rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
They should republish this book with the by-line:
"Rich House Wives of Saudi Arabia"
Beth F.
I’ve read some critiques of this book and the ones that bother me the most are those that say, “She isn’t a very good writer so the writing is awkward.”

I read things like that and I can’t help but think, “um, DUH?” When you are reading a memoir, as opposed to a piece of well-written literary fiction, you are not reading it because the person is an excellent writer. You’re reading it because they’ve had an interesting life and you want to know more about it.

Carmen bin Laden is the daughter of a
إيمان الشريف
السيرة الذاتية للسويسرية كارمن زوجة "يسلم بن لادن" شقيق أسامة بن لادن، والتي تبلغ من العمر الآن اثنين وستين عاماً، أما وقت نشر هذا الكتاب فكانت في الخمسين. وبما أنها ليست كاتبة محترفة فقد كتبته بمساعدة من روث مارشال.

أنهيت الكتاب في ثمانية وأربعين ساعة، وبقي يشغل تفكيري لفترة واستمتعت بالتفكير به وتحليل أحداثه. يستحق خمسة نجوم عن جدارة واستحقاق. سأسرد مميزاته على شكل نقاط:

*أنا مغرمة بالسير الذاتية، وتأتي عندي في المرتبة الثانية بعد الروايات. قرأت سيراً ذاتية للعديد من الناجحين ومنهم كُتّاب كبار،
Nathaniel James
Sep 13, 2014 Nathaniel James rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 17, 2007 Kara rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
This is the memoir of a woman who was married to one of Osama Bin Laden's brothers and lived in the Bin Laden compound in Saudi Arabia. Carmen is half-Swiss, half-Iranian, and she always felt like an outsider in Saudi Arabia. This is a pessimistic, grim view of Saudi Arabia. She was raised in Europe and America, so she chafed under the restrictions on women in Saudi Arabia (no going out in public, having to wear the abaya).

She has a very interesting story, and I'm sure I would feel the same cul
Faye Rahman
I read quite a number of books about Saudi women, their life stories are interesting heart-wrenching at times, as I am a true believer of woman's rights and freedom and of course, the stories I read about Saudi women opposed otherwise. Carmen's story is yet another appealing story to add to my woman's rights book collections, but for me it is just another book written about the same old Saudi life, same old women, same old men. There seems to be no movement of change in Saudi, and I am sad for t ...more
Aug 21, 2011 Darlene rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 03, 2010 Kelly rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 24, 2009 Ashlee rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Mar 07, 2010 Cwhittall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
I found this book to be very interesting. I picked it up because I thought that it would give me insight to Ossma Bin Laden, but I was mistaken. The author Carmen Bin Laden married in the early seventies one of the brothers of the Saudi terrorist but had very little contact with the man. That was due to the fact that her husband had over fifty siblings. The real value to this book is the insight that it gives to the tribal culture of the Saudi's and in particularly the Bin Laden family. There is ...more
Aug 25, 2009 Nancy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Apr 07, 2009 Andrea rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
You learn a lot about Saudi culture (if you don't already know anything about it), but not really because she lived it. She had an almost egalitarian relationship with her husband, and could have left Saudi Arabia almost any time she wanted (and eventually did). Her passing mention of her husband trying to convince her to buy a $60k dress, and how she never looked at price tags was unnecessary, but just ended up making her sound annoying. In the end, she mentions that she's struggling to bring u ...more
Maryam Mohsenzadeh
كارمن بن لادن، همسر يسلم برادر بزرگتر اسامه بن لادن، زنى نيمه ايرانى و متولد سوئيس است كه در سال ١٩٧٤ پس از ازدواج با مردی از خانواده بن لادن براى زندگى به عربستان سعودى مى رود. با زندگى در اين كشور كارمن به مرور از قوانين عربستان سعودى در مورد زن و خانواده آگاه مى شود. در اين كتاب خواندنى كارمن بن لادن از زندگى خود در ميان زنان خانواده بن لادن و آنچه در دل و ذهن اين زنان كه با داشتن مجموعه اى از لباس هاى گرانقيمت حق خروج از خانه را ندارند و اختيار زندگى شان دربست به دست شوهرانشان است، مى نويسد. ...more
Mar 14, 2012 Anita rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Nikki Hendricks
Mar 08, 2015 Nikki Hendricks rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book gave me of an insight to the Saudi culture for women and the Saudi way of life, religion, politics, etc. I am sure it is biased. Aren't all memoirs?
However, I enjoyed learning more about a culture that is so different. I found it sad and quite frightening - for the women and for the world. I always wondered who was financing the Taliban and all of the extremists. An interesting read.
Oct 27, 2014 Hannah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2014
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.
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Cultural 1 12 Mar 08, 2008 09:11AM  
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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 about Carmen Bin Ladin...

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