Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia

Version: Unabridged
Author: Carmen Bin Ladin
Narrator: Shohreh Aghdashloo
Genres: History, Biography & Memoir
Publisher: Time Warner Audio Books
Published In: June 2005
# of Units: 5 CDs
Length: 6 hours
Tell Your Friends:


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 Laden 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 Laden 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 Laden 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 Laden family's role within it. INSIDE THE KINGDOM is shocking, impossible to put down, and a must-read for anyone who wishes to understand the events of today's world.

Reviews (14)

inside the kingdom

Written by Anonymous on April 10th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 5/5

The narrative was fascinating. Real and relevant to 21st century and the women who travel, marry, and survive for their youngsters. Credible. Vibrant. Excellent.

Inside the Kingdom

Written by mtRoch on January 5th, 2008

  • Book Rating: 4/5

This was an interesting book for the author's descriptions of the Saudi Arabia she lived in with her wealthy Bin Laden husband, one of 20+ brothers of Osama. Having been raised in Switzerland she had a western view of the Saudi culture as it restricted the lives of her female in-laws. At times near the end of the book more editing would have been helpful as there were some repetitions of previously told stories. However, overall the narration is chilling as it relates the Saudi and Islamic goals for the world.

Great book

Written by Anonymous on October 21st, 2007

  • Book Rating: 5/5

It was educational and "entertaining" at the same time. Open window to a quite conservative society. The accent of the author is charming and adds appealing to the book!

Scary in-laws

Written by RevBev on December 22nd, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

During a time when Muslim fundamentalism and Middle Eastern terrorists are on everyone's mind, I found Carmen's observations chilling while very informative. The story of her love for her husband, the 10th of the bin Ladin sons, and her greater love for her daughters was very well done. This is a good read for anyone interested in the background of life in Saudi Arabia and in the entitlement mindset of the male Saudis. She speaks from a unique viewpoint--Swiss but with an Iranian born mother, nominal Muslim, American-educated, living in Saudi Arabia but free within her home as most Saudi woman are not. She has an understanding and compassion for the Saudi women while being able to stand back and see their blindness and refusal to acknowledge any view but the one they are told to have.

Thought Provoking

Written by Robin Miller on June 11th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

I have always been interested in other cultures. I found this book to be very vivid and thought provoking. As an outsider looking in Ms Bin Ladin's insider view gave me a new perspective on the Saudi societal structure. I would reccomend this book to anyone interested in different cultures.

Inside the Kingdom: My Life in Saudi Arabia

Written by Maureen Z from Doylestown, PA on May 20th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Wow, what a wonderful, insightful book. I wish that every woman I know could read this work. I could not stop listening. I rented this book several months ago and I still think about it daily. Beautifully detailed, marvelous reader, fascinating topic....I could go on and on. Do yourself a favor and rent as soon as possible.

Inside the Kingdom; My Life in Saudi Arabia

Written by Camille from Marlboro, NJ on May 20th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

I found the book excellant, and fascinating. It was one of the best books I have read and really think Carmen has courage to speak about the life in Saudi Arabia, and what she had to overcome for freedom that we have come to expect. May we never give up the fight for the truth---and what is right.

Inside the Kingdom

Written by Robin Miller on May 11th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

What a fascinating look into the cloistered life of Saudi women and the men who control them. I found myself sitting in my car long after reaching my destination just to hear the next revelation. I found it fascinating how the male/female relations develop and survive inside the strict societal structures.

Excellent book, Well read

Written by Anonymous from Franklin, TN on April 22nd, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

After getting past the first two chapters (which were just a bit slow), I rushed out to the car to listen to this story. If you're interested in Islamic or Saudi culture, women's status around the world or the story of the Bin Laden's, this book will keep you interested. Very well written. Narrator was superb!

Inside the Kingdom: My Life In Saudi Arabia

Written by Anonymous on March 30th, 2006

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Without question, one of the best books I've read all year. A must read!!! Carmen provides an insight into a world most of us cannot even imagine. The reader has a beautiful, soothing voice. The book moves quickly-I never lost interest. You will not be disappointed.