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The Veiled Kingdom Paperback – 7 Dec 2006

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Virago; New Ed edition (7 Dec. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1844081036
  • ISBN-13: 978-1844081035
  • Product Dimensions: 12.3 x 1.4 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 726,236 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

If you want to beat Osama, you've got to start by listening to Carmen (BARBARA Ehrenreich, New York TIMES)

A searing indictment of a society and a family perverted by fanaticism ... a terrifying insight into the psychology of Al-Qaeda. (TIMES)

Book Description

From pop music to purdah, Osama Bin Laden's sister-in-law provides a unique insight into Saudi society and the Bin Laden's family role within it.
'A terrifying insight into the psychology of Al-Qaeda' Times

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4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book is truly amazing. Carmen gives a great review on how life is really like within the Bin Lardin family. I admirer her courage upon her journey in Saudi Arabia.
My heart whet out to the family especially after September the 11th.
She had to make a huge choice when taking her daughters out of Saudi Arabia , however I truly believe she made the right choice.
This book is worth every penny.
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Format: Paperback
I reccommend this book to anyone wanting a readable introduction to understanding the nature of Saudi Arabia, Wahabbi islam, and the society that produced Osama bin Laden, and, in her final chapter, the danger that now facces the West. Carmen bin Ladin, Osama's former sister-in-law, writes of her curtailed and limited life during her marriage into the bin-Ladin clan with the depth of understanding of a woman who is descended from and knows two worlds
- the european/american (post-)christian West and islamic Iran - and has spent a considerable part of her life at the heart of a third, wahabbi Saudi Arabia.
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Format: Paperback
Carmen was born in Switzerland and had been brought up with western values. However, in 1974 she married into the Bin Laden family and her life completely changed. As penetrating Saudi culture is difficult as it is one of the most powerful, secretative and repressive kingdoms, this book provides a unique insight of Women in Saudi Society and gives us a chance to appreciate their mentality. It also makes the reader appreciate what freedom means, something that most of us take for granted. Saudi society is so different, you might as well be describing another planet or universe.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a fantastic book I read it from cover to cover the first time, it uncovers a whole new perspective on the bin laden family and life in their world from a very brave and endearing women. The book came fast and the price is great!
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Format: Paperback
This is a superb book; interesting and passionate. Some relatives of mine lived in Saudi Arabia for many years, and they would often tell me of the restrictions faced by local women and the extreme social codes of Saudi society. After reading Carmen's book, I now have a much better understanding of the culture. Carmen's personal story is particularly fascinating. A first hand account of someone brought up in a modern & democratic society, suddenly exposed to whole new world of strict adherence and harsh regulations.

Her journey is an inspiration.
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Format: Paperback
Sometimes it's hard to believe what you're reading and such was the case for me with "The Veiled Kingdom" by Carmen Bin Laden.

Life for women living in Saudi Arabia couldn't be more different from that of living in the West. This I suppose most of us accept, but the contrasts are really difficult to imagine. To be veiled from head to foot in exceedingly hot weather, in desert conditions, appears to be non-sensical. However, for those born into and brought up in such conditions, it is not questioned.

For someone like Carmen Bin Laden (half Swiss - half Iranian) who in 1974 fell in love with and married an older brother of Osama Bin Laden, and quite unused to such extremes of living, it became a living hell.

She was able to escape the rigorous conditions by frequent visits to Geneva and by taking her young daughters with her, but her constant worry was that she didn't want her daughters to grow up in the Saudi controlled conditions of a veiled life that other members of Saudi society had to live with, including the clan of Bin Ladens and Royal Saudis who ruled the country.

Western values of freedom may often be extreme in contrast to those of Saudi Arabia but at least we have the choice of how to live our lives. Wahabbi Islam is repressive, to say the least, and it governs the lives of Saudi Arabian society in a way the Western world has little knowledge of.

A very readable book and a most interesting insight into the very rich and powerful Bin Laden family.
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Format: Paperback
Carmen was born in Switzerland of a Swiss father and Persian (Iranian) mother. She frequently spent holidays in Iran with her mother's family, but had little contact with her father after he left them when she was nine.

Yeslam Bin Ladin was holidaying in Switzerland when they met and fell in love. They spent the early years of their married life in America, and there their first baby, Wafah, was born.

It was not until they moved to Saudi to further Yeslam's career, that any problems arose.

For many years Carmen lived under the repressive regime of Saudi Arabia, with severely restricted freedoms for all women. It was a life that we in the West cannot begin to contemplate.

When finally she broke away, it was concern for the future of her daughters that motivated her. she wonders herself whether things might have been different had she had sons instead.

This is Carmen's very personal account of her life behind the scenes in a country that has such different attitudes to ours, influenced heavily by an extreme form of Islam.
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