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Jean Sasson is the author of the worldwide bestsellers Princess, Daughters of Arabia, Desert Royal and now Mayada: Daughter of Iraq. She lived in Saudi Arabia for over ten years from 1978 and became, during that time, the intimate friend and confidante of 'Sultana', who asked her to tell her story. She lives in the USA.
In the international bestseller, Princess: The True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, Princess Al-Sa'ud and the acclaimed author Jean Sasson began a remarkable series of books. Now, more than twenty-five years later, this compelling journey continues as we follow the fortunes and the dazzling life of the Princess, her friends and her family. But, of course, there is a less glamorous, much darker side to this engaging series, and in Stepping Out of the Shadows Jean and the Princess focus their attention on how, despite positive news on civil rights reforms, Saudi women still suffer physical and psychological abuse and have little legal protection due to the archaic guardianship laws of the land. So, although this is a kingdom on the threshold of revolutionary change - change spearheaded by the young Saudi Crown Prince who is keen to modernize his country - any thoughts of equal rights and the chance to lead an independent life remain little more than dreams for most Saudi women. Whilst the Princess acknowledges and welcomes the reforms that are on the horizon, through stories of joy and sorrow, we see how she is determined to continue to fight for equal rights for women in this, her beloved kingdom.
After the recent success of Princess, More Tears to Cry the Princess Al-Saud and Jean Sasson are collaborating on this new book to bring readers up to date not only with the Princess and her family but the stories and experiences of characters who formed the focus of the last book: Dr Meena - the woman who helps abused women to heal and fight for their rights, and Fatima, the mother of twin daughters who, once abused and abandoned by her family, now works for the Princess in one of the royal palaces. Here too, are the stories of other Muslim women - women who are struggling with human rights abuses from across the region - from Pakistan, Syria and Northern Lebanon - and the many innocent victims who suffer the consequences of ISIS's march across the Middle East. This new book will attract both Jean Sasson's many loyal readers and new audiences eager to learn more about not only how the Saudi Royal family live, but how with courage and determination the Princess continues the fight for equal rights for women in the Middle East.
SECRETS TO SHARE is Jean Sasson's explosive and riveting new book. As the world's attention traces the reluctant social advances in the Middle East, Princess Sultana and her female friends and family have stepped forward to rescue young women in the region who are cruelly mistreated by their husbands, their fathers and the brutish ISIS soldiers who kidnap them. But inside the Princess's lavish Saudi Arabian palace, sparks of anger and bolts of fear crackle because of the secrets kept to forward her efforts to help women and children. Kareem is furious when Sultana guards Maha's secret to volunteer to help traumatized children at a refugee camp in Turkey. When a beautiful Yemeni woman visits the royal palaces of Saudi Arabia, Sultana is saddened, yet mesmerized to be told the story of the woman's seven marriages. Meanwhile, Kareem's father takes a new wife - and Princess Sultana is blamed. Jean Sasson is author of thirteen bestselling books, including New York Times bestseller PRINCESS: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia and of GROWING UP BIN LADEN: Osama's Wife and Son Take Us Inside Their Secret World.
When Jean Sasson's book Princess: Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia was published, it became an immediate international bestseller. It sold to 43 countries and spent 13 weeks on The New York Times bestseller list. Now, in this long-awaited, compelling new book, Sasson and the Princess `Sultana' return to tell the world what it means to be a Saudi woman today. Through advances in education and with access to work, Saudi women are breaking through the barriers; they are becoming doctors, social workers, business owners and are even managing to push at the boundaries of public life. Major steps forward have, undoubtedly, been made. But this is not the whole story. Sadly, despite changes in the law, all too often legal loopholes leave women exposed to terrible suppression, abuse and crimes of psychological and physical violence. For many, the struggle for basic human rights continues. This fascinating insight will include personal stories of triumph and heartbreak, as told to Princess 'Sultana', her eldest daughter, and author Jean Sasson. Each of these stories will offer the reader a glimpse into different aspects of Saudi society, including the lives of the Princess, her daughter and other members of the Al-Saud Royal family.
This is the true story of Yasmeena, a bright and beautiful young Lebanese woman who was imprisoned in Kuwait during the first Gulf War. Yasmeena's shocking journey is a tale of the madness of war, of the sexual brutality unleashed by chaos, and of one woman's courage to stand in danger's way to aid her fellow sufferers. This is an explicit, graphic, and honest book. It is for mature audiences only.Jean Sasson has spent her career sharing the personal stories of courageous Middle Eastern women. PRINCESS: Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia was an international bestseller. It has become a classic, taught in colleges and high schools and devoured by anyone who aspires to understand the Middle East.Yasmeena was quite literally an innocent abroad. She was a college educated, English-speaking flight attendant graced with an unusual amount of confidence. She was also a virgin, a conservative Muslim daughter and sister.When Yasmeena's flight out of Kuwait was delayed, it was because Saddam Hussein had just invaded Kuwait. Iraqi soldiers threw her into a woman's prison where the guards committed ghastly sexual attacks and tortured the women.After Yasmeena was brutalized by the captain of the prison, she thought she was the most unfortunate woman on earth. But that was before she befriended Lana, whose rapist took glee in inflicting hurt. Yasmeena used her position as the captain's favorite to protect her friend, though she also was forced into a wrenching decision.As Americans and other allies march into Kuwait, the Iraqis flee and Yasmeena escapes. Eventually she finds a safe harbor where Sasson interviews her and records every horrific experience.Sasson has wanted to write this story for many years. But she knew that the sexual explicitness and violence would make it difficult to publish. A year ago, Yasmeena's story and the choices she was forced to make invaded Sasson's dreams. She realized that now was the right time to share the story. And so here it is, Sasson's testament to an articulate, angry, brave young woman who not only survived but who was eager to share her story with the world.PRAISE FOR JEAN SASSON'S WORK:"e;Absolutely riveting and profoundly sad..."e; --People magazine"e;Must-reading for anyone interested in human rights."e; --USA Today
From the New York Times bestselling author of PRINCESS: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, comes the heartbreaking story of one woman's quest for her stolen child. As a little girl in Afghanistan, Maryam fought for equality and defied the second-class standing of women by pretending to be a boy. When her feisty spirit nearly cost her life, after a public act of rebellion against the invasion of Russia, Maryam is forced to flee to America. But her fresh start at life is short-lived as her arranged marriage to a violent Afghan leaves her with only one joy--the birth of her son. When she attempts to escape her brutal marriage, her husband steals their son away and takes him back to Afghanistan, a land torn by civil war and Taliban oppression. What follows is the stirring true story of one mother's struggle for justice, as she fights to be reunited with her son.
In this updated 20th anniversary edition, PRINCESS describes the life of Princess Sultana Al Sa'ud, a princess in the royal house of Saudi Arabia. Hidden behind her black veil, she is a prisoner, jailed by her father, her husband and her country.Sultana tells of appalling oppressions, everyday occurrences that in any other culture would be seen as shocking human rights violations: thirteen-year-old girls forced to marry men five times their age, young women killed by drowning, stoning, or isolation in the "e;women's room."e;PRINCESS is a testimony to a woman of indomitable spirit and courage, and you will never forget her or her Muslim sisters.A New York Times bestseller, PRINCESS was named one of the 500 Great Books by Women since 1300. It was also an Alternate Selection of the Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club and a Reader's Digest Selection.PRAISE FOR THE NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER PRINCESS:"e;Absolutely riveting and profoundly sad..."e; --People magazine"e;A chilling story...a vivid account of an air-conditioned nightmare..."e; --Entertainment Weekly"e;Must-reading for anyone interested in human rights."e; --USA Today"e;Shocking...candid...sad, sobering, and compassionate..."e; --San Francisco Chronicle
Readers of PRINCESS were gripped by Jean Sasson's powerful indictment of women's lives behind the veil. Now, in the compelling sequel, Jean Sasson and Princess Sultana turn the spotlight on Sultana's two teenage daughters, Maha and Amani.
As the western world's most wanted terrorist, Osama bin Laden has fought to keep his personal life a mystery - loyalty and fear keeping those who know him from speaking out - until now. For the first time, two of Osama's closest family members, his first wife Najwa and their fourth son Omar, go behind the headlines to reveal the truth about the character and life of a man feared and revered around the globe. In gripping detail, they recount the drama, tensions, and everyday activities of the man they knew as a husband and father. Married at fifteen, Najwa describes the transformation of the quiet, serious young man she fell in love with into an authoritarian husband and stern father, an entrepreneur, and - finally - the leader of a complex international terrorist network. Uprooted from a life of extraordinary luxury and privilege in Saudi Arabia, they suddenly found themselves living life on the run, fleeing from country to country under assumed names and fake passports. Omar describes how he and his siblings were brought up in remote ranches and fortified Afghani mountain camps, handling Kalashnikovs and learning desert survival skills. Their eventual escape from Afghanistan would come just days before the terrible events of 9/11 changed the world forever. With unprecedented access and exclusive family photographs, Jean Sasson, author of the bestselling Princess, presents the story that we were never meant to hear.
From the time she was a little girl, Maryam rebelled against the terrible second-class existence that was her destiny as an Afghan woman. She had witnessed the miserable fate of her grandmother and three aunts, and wished she had been born a boy. As a feisty teenager in Kabul, she was outraged when the Russians invaded her country. After she made a public show of defiance, she had to flee the country for her life. A new life of freedom seemed within her grasp,but her father arranged a traditional marriage to a fellow Afghan, who turned out to be a violent man. Beaten, raped and abused, Maryam found joy in the birth of a baby son. But then her brutal husband stole him away far beyond his mother's reach. For many long years she searched for her lost son, while civil war and Taliban oppression raged back home in Afghanistan. Set against a landscape littered with tragic tales of horrific suffering, Jean Sasson, author of Princess, chronicles the story of one resolute but tormented woman determined to achieve freedom and equality with men.
Bestselling author Jean Sasson tells the dramatic true story of a young woman caught up in Saddam Hussein's genocide of the Kurdish people of Iraq. One morning Joanna, a young bride living in the Kurdish mountains of Iraq, was surprised to see dead birds drop silently out of the clear sky. They were followed by sinister canisters falling to the ground, bringing fear and death. It was 1987, and Saddam Hussein had ordered his cousin 'Chemical Ali' to bombard Joanna's village, Bergalou, with chemical weapons. Temporarily blinded in the attack, Joanna was rescued by her husband, a Kurdish freedom fighter. After being caught in another bombardment and left for dead in the rubble, they managed to flee over the mountains in a harrowing escape. Now living in the UK and working for British Airways, Joanna has told the story of her eventful life to Jean Sasson, the bestselling chronicler of oppressed women's lives in the Princess trilogy and Mayada. Love in a Torn Land is published while the world watches the trial of the notorious 'Chemical Ali', Saddam Hussein's most bloodthirsty henchman, for crimes including the genocide of the Kurdish people.
In a land where Kings still rule, I am a Princess. You must know me only as Sultana, for I cannot reveal my true name for fear that harm will come to me and my family for what I am about to tell you. Think of a Saudi Arabian princess and what do you see? A woman glittering with jewels, living a life of unbelievable luxury. She has gold, palaces, swimming-pools, servants, designer dresses galore. But in reality she lives in a gilded cage. She has no freedom, no vote, no control over her own life, no value but as a bearer of sons. Hidden behind the veil, she is a prisoner, her jailers her father, her husband, her sons. 'Sultana' is a member of the Saudi royal family, closely related to the King. For the sake of her daughters, she decided that it was time for a woman in her position to speak out about the reality of life for women in her country, whatever their rank. She tells of her own life, from her turbulent childhood to her arranged marriage - a happy one, until her husband decided to take a second wife - and of the lives of her sisters, her friends and her servants. In contrast to the affection and easy camaraderie amongst the women, she relates a history of appalling oppression against them, everyday occurrences that in any other culture would be seen as shocking human rights violations: forced marriages, servants bullied into sex slavery, summary executions. Princess is a testimony to a woman of indomitable spirit and great courage. By speaking out, 'Sultana' risked bringing the wrath of the Saudi establishment upon her head and upon the heads of her children. For this reason, she told her story anonymously.
In Princess, readers were shocked by Sultana's revelations about life in Saudi Arabia's royal family. Royal women live as virtual prisoners, surrounded by unimaginable wealth and luxury, privileged beyond belief, and yet subject to every whim of their husbands, fathers, and even their sons. Daughters of Arabia featured Sultana's teenage daughters, determined to rebel but in very different ways. And now, in Desert Royal, Sultana's fight for women's rights in a repressive, fundamentalist Islamic society, has an extra sense of urgency. The threat of world terrorism, the gathering strength of religious leaders and the discontent of impoverished Saudis are threatening to topple the comfortable world Sultana has known. But an extended family 'camping' trip in the desert brings Sultana and her relatives face to face with their nomadic roots, and nourishes her will to carry on the fight for women's rights in all Muslim countries. This updated edition contains an all-new chapter as well as a letter from Sultana herself, encouraging all women to take up the struggle for freedom for their abused sisters throughout the world.
Readers of Princess Sultana's extraordinary biography Princess were gripped by her powerful indictment of women's lives behind the veil within the royal family of Saudi Arabia. They were every bit as fascinated by the sequel, Daughters of Arabia. Here, the princess turns the spotlight on her two daughters, Maha and Amani, both teenagers. Surrounded by untold opulence and luxury from the day they were born, but stifled by the unbearably restrictive lifestyle imposed on them, they reacted in equally desperate ways. Their dramatic and shocking stories, together with many more which concern other members of Princess Sultana's huge family, are set against a rich backdrop of Saudi Arabian culture and social mores which she depicts with equal colour and authenticity. We learn, for example, of the fascinating ritual of the world-famous annual pilgrimage to Makkah as we accompany the princess and her family to this holiest of cities. Throughout, however, she never tires of her quest to expose the injustices which her society levels against women. In her courageous campaign to improve the lot of her own daughters of Arabia, Princess Sultana once more strikes a chord amongst all women who are lucky enough to have the freedom to speak out for themselves.