Sunday, July 26, 2009


Princess by Jean Sasson

The copy that I read (printed in 1995, I believe) had the following text emblazoned across its front cover: "An Appalling Indictment of the Treatment of Women in Saudi Arabia." It's interesting to note the absence of this text on the more recently-printed editions (like the one pictured in this post). I wonder if that is because many of the shocking revelations contained in the book are now almost common knowledge to Westerners (the target audience) and the climate much different now than when the book was first published in the early 1990s.

The story of one Saudi princess' life, Princess is both horrifying and compulsively readable. "Sultana" tells readers of both of her personal experiences of life inside the royal family and those of other women in her milieu. "Sultana" is a keen, if not impartial, observer of her culture. She points out the glaring double-standards of the righteously religious, the problem of wealth and entitlement, and, of course, the brutal treatment of women.

Russell read the book after I was through and it was interesting to hear his take on it and to compare the things that shocked each of us while reading the book.


  1. I've read another of this author's books -- Mayada, Daughter of Iraq. Parts were disturbing; no matter how frequently I hear how women are treated in some Islamic countries, it always bothers me. If you're interested, you can read my review here.

  2. Thanks, Tammy. I'll check it out.