Books By Jean Sasson

1992 Press Release from Doubleday UK on the British edition of the book,

Princess:  A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia

     A shocking indictment of the treatment of all women in Saudi Arabia

“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.”

Inhumanity, exploitation, injustice, degradation…  This is what Saudi women live with every day.  From earliest childhood to old age, Saudi women are second class citizens.  They have no rights, no vote, no control over their own lives, no value but as bearers of sons.  Behind their veils they are prisoners.  Their jailers are their fathers, their husbands, their sons.

“Sultana” is a member of the Saudi Royal Family, closely related to the King.  For the sake of her daughters, she has decided that it is time for a woman in her position to speak out about the reality of life in her country, whatever their rank. 

“My passion for the truth is simple, for I am one of those women who was ignored by her father, scorned by her brother, and abused by her husband.  I am not alone in this.  There are many more, just like me, who have no opportunity to tell their stories.”

Sultana was born into a family of ten daughters and one son.  Here earliest memories are those of fear:  the family’s fear that death would claim the only son.

In childhood the girls’ lives were cloistered and dull.  For many years their mother’s pleas for their education were met with flat refusals from their father.  By contrast, Ali, the son, was given the best education available.

The family had four palaces.  When Ali was fourteen years old his father decided that he needed a car.  So he bought him not one, but four identical red Porsches—one for each palace.

But if Sultana’s childhood had been bleak, the lives of most Saudi women were even bleaker.  Sultana’s life was ruled by men, but there was protection of sorts because of her family name.  The majority of women had no voice at all in their destiny.

Sultana relates a history of appalling oppressions against them, every day occurrences that in any other culture would be seen a shocking violations of human rights.

  •  FORCED MARRIAGES:  Sultana tells of her own sister who, as a teenager, was married to a middle-aged man who subjected her to such brutal sexual sadism that she could see no escape other than to kill herself.

  • CHILD MOTHERS:  She tells of girls who have their first babies at thirteen years old, and of teenagers, no older than eighteen, who were delivering their fourth or fifth child.

  • SUMMARY EXECUTIONS:  She tells of the truly horrific story of a thirteen year-old girl, who, pregnant had been found guilty of fornication.  The usual punishment for such a “crime” is flogging, but in this case the girl’s father insisted upon execution.  It turned out that the girl had, in fact, been raped.  Her punishment for this was death by stoning.

Not since the controversial screening of the LWT documentary “Death of a Princess” has such devastating truth been revealed about the lives of Saudi women.  Were the identity of Sultana to be revealed, she would face devastating consequences.  For this reason, she has told her story anonymously.  Nonetheless, PRINCESS is a testimony to a woman of indomitable spirit and great courage.  You have never read a story like the story of Sultana, and you will never forget her or her Muslim sisters.

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