Inside the Kingdom

  • by Carmen bin Ladin
  • Narrated by Shohreh Aghdashloo
  • 6 hrs and 9 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On September 11, 2001, Carmen bin Ladin heard the news that the Twin Towers had been struck. She instinctively knew that her brother-in-law was involved in these horrifying acts of terrorism, and her heart went out to America. She also knew that her life and the lives of her daughters would never be the same again. In 1974, Carmen, half-Swiss and half-Persian, married into the bin Ladin family. She was young and in love, an independent European woman about to join a complex clan and a culture she neither knew nor understood. In Saudi Arabia, she was forbidden to leave her home without the head-to-toe black abaya that completely covered her. Her face could never be seen by a man outside the family. And according to Saudi law, her husband could divorce her at will, without any kind of court procedure, and take her children away from her forever.
Carmen was an outsider among the bin Ladin wives, their closets full of haute couture dresses, their rights so restricted that they could not go outside their homes, not even to cross the street, without a chaperone. The author takes us inside the hearts and minds of these women, always at the mercy of the husbands who totally control their lives, and always convinced that their religion and culture are superior to any other. And as Carmen tells of her struggle to save her marriage and raise her daughters to be freethinking young women, she describes this family's ties to the Saudi royal family and introduces us to the ever loyal bin Ladin brothers, including one particular brother-in-law she was to encounter: Osama.
In 1988, in Switzerland, Carmen bin Ladin separated from her husband and began one of her toughest battles: to gain the custody of her three daughters. Now, with her candid memoir, she dares to pull off the veils that conceal one of the most powerful, secretive, and repressive countries in the world, and the bin Ladin family's role within it.


What the Critics Say

"The gravity of the events Carmen writes of, her insider's perspective, and her engaging style make this memoir a page-turner." (Publishers Weekly)


See More Like This

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

An inside view of the Saudi women's life

Carmen provides a personal and informative account of her life. This book is about a Saudi mother and her children, her love of a Bin Laden, and life behind the veil of Saudi women.
If you want to understand "why they hate us", this will help. Osama is not the focus of this book. The sewing of the seeds of hate for America and the Saudi internal pressures and mind-set are well presented.
Read full review

- Richard

Pretty close, but not everyone agrees...

Carmen has done an excellent job of presenting her story. This is a pretty good look into the restrictive society in Sauida Arabia. However, having lived in Saudi Arabia myself for 6 years, I can say that many Saudi women LOVE their lives. I think it is extremely dangerous for Americans to view any lifestyle unlike their own as somehow bad or less valuable. As an American woman in Saudi Arabia, I was startled to find that American women are pittied by many well educated, worldly, well traveled Saudi women. Pittied, you say? They think it sad that American women are forced to work outside the home, do their own housework and laundry, taxi the kids back and forth to school and extracurriculars, and don't have chauffers. Carmen had many of her freedoms curtailed in that rigidly Islamic society, but as one very wise Saudi pointed out to me: "American women cannot walk safely alone at night in any American city. They are kidnapped, raped and murdered. You pay a very high price for your 'freedom'." Food for thought?
Read full review

- Deborah

Book Details

  • Release Date: 07-14-2004
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio