Jeffrey Ogden Thomas's Reviews > Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia

Princess by Jean Sasson
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Jun 18, 11

Read in May, 2011

The writing is o.k.; the content is powerful. I had skimmed this book a few years ago. But I came back to is now, as I am currently living and working in Saudi Arabia. This book is particularly meaningful, the more so because it is 20 years old, yet sounds like it was written yesterday (so little has changed since 1990).
It is truly stunning how much Saudi Arabia represses women in comparison to all other countries in the world, and how Saudis conjure the weakest rationalizations for this repression. The issue of allowing women to drive is in the news this June; yet it was part of Jean Sasson's book 20 years ago as well.
Although this is certainly a more serious work than Girls of Riyadh, Girls... is a logical follow-on, an effort to make women's freedom seem a trivial thing to grant, an effort to minimize the threat felt by the conservative clerics. I think that's a fool's errand -- the conservatives will fight every inch of the way, and they know that the slightest relenting will lead down that slippery slope to equality and justice for women.
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Jean Sasson Hi Jeffrey, Thanks for the very thoughtful review. While I'm glad that the book is still important, it is sad in a way that so few things have changed--making the book timeless! Yet, I would rather that things improved for women rather than have a timeless book, to tell you the truth. Thanks, again, Jean


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