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

by Jean Sasson Year Published: 2001

“Recently named as one of the best 500 books written by women since the year 1300, Princess has been called ‘riveting’ and ‘heart-wrenching.’  Most importantly, this New York Times bestseller galvanized human rights activity all over the world.  The book sold over four million copies worldwide and struck a chord with women of every age and nationality.  Many educators are listing Princess as required reading for their literature classes. 

Jean Sasson spent twelve years in Saudi Arabia observing first-hand the hardships faced by women in that country.  In Princess, Jean Sasson vividly depicts the harsh realities endured by Saudi women.  Telling the true story of ‘Sultana,’ a pseudonym that protects the identity of a modern-day princess in the royal family of Saudi Arabia, the author describes a disproportionate society where men have all the power.    

‘Sultana’ whose real name cannot be used for fear of death for revealing these secrets to the world, asked the author to tell her story.  Together, Jean Sasson and Princess Sultana have lifted the black veil of secrecy that hides women in the fabulously wealthy land where thirteen-year-old girls are married against their will to men five times their age; where young women are stoned to death for a mere indiscretion, where men rule as gods.

In Princess, the author relates a history of appalling oppressions against women in Saudi Arabia, including forced marriages, child mothers, and summary executions . .  .   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 and her Muslim sisters.”

If you like Princess, check out Sasson’s two other books in this trilogy:  Princess Sultana’s Daughters and Princess Sultana’s Circle.