"In this stunningly written book, a Western trained Muslim doctor brings alive what it means for a woman to live in the Saudi Kingdom. I've rarely experienced so vividly the shunning and shaming, racism and anti-Semitism, but the surprise is how Dr. Ahmed also finds tenderness at the tattered edges of extremism, and a life-changing pilgrimage back to her Muslim faith." - Gail Sheehy The decisions that change your life are often the most impulsive ones. Unexpectedly denied a visa to remain in the United States, Qanta Ahmed, a young British Muslim doctor, becomes an outcast in motion. On a whim, she accepts an exciting position in Saudi Arabia. This is not just a new job; this is a chance at adventure in an exotic land she thinks she understands, a place she hopes she will belong. What she discovers is vastly different. The Kingdom is a world apart, a land of unparralled contrast. She finds rejection and scorn in the places she believed would most embrace her, but also humor, honesty, loyalty and love. And for Qanta, more than anything, it is a land of opportunity. A place where she discovers what it takes for one woman to recreate herself in the land of invisible women.
Author: Manal al-Sharif
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2017-06-13
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
This is a memoir about living, loving, dreaming, daring, and driving while female -- in a country where it's dangerous to do all of the above. Manal al-Sharif grew up in Mecca the second daughter of a taxi driver, born the year strict fundamentalism took hold. In her adolescence, she was religious radical, melting her brother's boy band CDs in the oven because music was haram: forbidden by Islamic law. But what a difference an education can make. By her twenties, she was a computer security engineer, one of a few women working in a desert compound built to resemble suburban America. That's when the Saudi kingdom's contradictions became too much to bear: she was labeled a slut for chatting with male colleagues, her school-age brother chaperoned her on a business trip, and while she kept a car in her garage, she was forbidden from driving on Saudi streets. Manal-al-Sharif has written a memoir about the making of an accidental activist, a story of a young Muslim woman who stood up to a kingdom of men -- and won.
Author: Carmen Bin Ladin
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: 2007-07-31
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
Osama bin Laden's former sister-in-law provides a penetrating, unusually inti- mate look into Saudi soci-ety and the bin Laden family's role within it, as well as the treatment of Saudi women. On September 11th, 2001, Carmen bin Ladin heard the news that the Twin Towers had been struck. She instinctively knew that her ex-brother-in-law was involved in these hor-rifying acts of terrorism, and her heart went out to America. She also knew that her life and the lives of her family would never be the same again. Carmen bin Ladin, half Swiss and half Persian, married into-and later divorced from-the bin Laden family and found herself inside a complex and vast clan, part of a society that she neither knew nor understood. Her story takes us inside the bin Laden family and one of the most powerful, secretive, and repressed kingdoms in the world.
An American paramedic "s true-life adventure inside the mysterious Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. From the trauma of the emergency room to the palace of the King, this book has it all. A true five star adven
Author: Jayne Amelia Larson
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Release Date: 2012-10-16
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
The true-to-life account of a female chauffeur hired to drive the Saudi royal family in Los Angeles. After more than a decade of working in Hollywood, actress Jayne Amelia Larson found herself out of luck, out of work, and out of prospects. When she got hired to drive for the Saudi royal family vacationing in Beverly Hills, Larson thought she’d been handed the golden ticket. She’d heard stories of the Saudis bestowing $20,000 tips and Rolex watches on their drivers, but when the family arrived at LAX with twenty million dollars in cash, Larson realized that she might be in for the ride of her life. With awestruck humor and deep compassion, Larson shares the incredible insights she gained as the lone female in a detail of more than forty chauffeurs assigned to drive a beautiful Saudi princess, her family, and their extensive entourage. At its heart, this is an upstairs-downstairs, true-to-life fable for our global times; a story about the corruption that nearly infinite wealth causes, and about what we all do for money. Equal parts funny, surprising, and insightful, Driving the Saudis provides both entertainment and sharp social commentary on one of the world’s most secretive families.
Few westerners will ever be able to understand Muslim or Afghan society unless they are part of a Muslim family. Twenty years old and in love, Phyllis Chesler, a Jewish-American girl from Brooklyn, embarked on an adventure that has lasted for more than a half-century. In 1961, when she arrived in Kabul with her Afghan bridegroom, authorities took away her American passport. Chesler was now the property of her husband's family and had no rights of citizenship. Back in Afghanistan, her husband, a wealthy, westernized foreign college student with dreams of reforming his country, reverted to traditional and tribal customs. Chesler found herself unexpectedly trapped in a posh polygamous family, with no chance of escape. She fought against her seclusion and lack of freedom, her Afghan family's attempts to convert her from Judaism to Islam, and her husband's wish to permanently tie her to the country through childbirth. Drawing upon her personal diaries, Chesler recounts her ordeal, the nature of gender apartheid—and her longing to explore this beautiful, ancient, and exotic country and culture. Chesler nearly died there but she managed to get out, returned to her studies in America, and became an author and an ardent activist for women's rights throughout the world. An American Bride in Kabul is the story of how a naïve American girl learned to see the world through eastern as well as western eyes and came to appreciate Enlightenment values. This dramatic tale re-creates a time gone by, a place that is no more, and shares the way in which Chesler turned adversity into a passion for world-wide social, educational, and political reform.
A NEW YORK TIMES NOTABLE BOOK “Explains powerfully how Muslim women are affected by the rise of fundamentalism.”—Dan Rather In recent years, the expanding movement of militant Islam has changed the way millions think, behave, dress, and live, but nowhere has its impact been more powerfully felt than in its dramatic, often devastating effect on the lives of women. Award-winning journalist Jan Goodwin traveled through ten Islamic countries and interviewed hundreds of Muslim women, from professionals to peasants, from royalty to rebels. The result is an unforgettable journey into a world where women are confined, isolated, even killed for the sake of a “code of honor” created and zealously enforced by men. Price of Honor brings to life a world in which women have become pawns in a bitter power game, and gives readers a provocative look inside Muslim society today—in their own words.
It is a situation we all fear and none of us can imagine: a life-threatening diagnosis. But what if the person receiving the diagnosis--young, physically fit, poised for a bright future--is himself a doctor? At thirty-one David biro has just completed his residency and joined his father's successful dermatology practice. Struck with a rare blood disease that eventually necessitates a bone marrow transplant, Biro relates with honesty and courage the story of his most transforming journey. He is forthright about the advantages that his status as a physician may have afforded him; and yet no such advantage can protect him from the anxiety and doubt brought on by his debilitating therapies. The pressures that Biro's wild "one hundred days" brings to bear on his heretofore well-established identity as a caregiver are enormous--as is the power of this riveting story of survival. From the Trade Paperback edition.
Author: Isobel Coleman
Publisher: Random House Incorporated
Release Date: 2013
Genre: Social Science
In this timely book, Coleman journeys through the strategic crescent of the greater Middle East--Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, and Pakistan--to reveal how activists are working within the tenets of Islam to create economic, political, and educational opportunities for women. Coleman argues that these efforts are critical to bridging the conflict between those championing reform and those seeking to oppress women in the name of religious tradition.
"A powerful collection of testimonies that depict the struggles and hopes of Afghan women. An often emotional and at times painful read, this book is ultimately a poignant celebration of human resilience under unimaginable duress. " —KHALED HOSSEINI, New York Times bestselling author of The Kite Runner "I am deeply touched by these stories...Dear Zari should be read by anyone who cares and wants to know about Asia and Asian women." —XINRAN "All the stories in Dear Zari illustrate the suffering caused by deeply ingrained Afghan traditions. But [the women's} bravery and resilience shines through and Kargar touchingly reveals how hearing others' life stories finally gave her the courage to share her own. " —The Independent Moving, enlightening, and heartbreaking, Dear Zari gives voice to the secret lives of Afghan women. For the first time, Dear Zari allows these women to tell their stories in their own words: from the child bride given as payment to end of a family feud, to a life spent in a dark, dusty room weaving carpets, from a young girl being brought up as a boy, to a woman living as a widow shunned by society. Intimate, emotional, painful and uplifting, these stories uncover the suffering and strength of women in this deeply religious and intensely traditional society, and show how their courage is an inspiration to women everywhere.
Don't panic - I'm Islamic! Amal is a 16-year-old Melbourne teen with all the usual obsessions about boys, chocolate and Cosmo magazine. She's also a Muslim, struggling to honour the Islamic faith in a society that doesn't understand it. The story of her decision to "shawl up" is funny, surprising and touching by turns.
Author: Chris Cryer
Publisher: Daniel & Daniel Pub
Release Date: 2011
Genre: Biography & Autobiography
In 1982, Chris Cryer spent a year in Saudi Arabia, teaching English to women at King Saud University. Accompanied by her fourteen-year-old son, and a few books by and about Leo Tolstoy, Chris found a sense of connection where she least expected it. The fast-moving, slightly comic, always fascinating adventure pulls us directly into the journey. We come to respect and love the mother-son duo for their unprejudiced outlook and their cool-headed survival of matawas (moral police), strict laws, and customs. This book is one of very few based on true events, written from the inside out, that show the Arab side in the Islamic world, a place long held in mystery under the dark images of Western media. The author presents the Saudi culture at that time with a sensitivity to their need to preserve values and traditions in the face of modernity.
Author: Karen Elliott House
Release Date: 2012-09-18
From the Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter who has spent the last thirty years writing about Saudi Arabia—as diplomatic correspondent, foreign editor, and then publisher of The Wall Street Journal—an important and timely book that explores all facets of life in this shrouded Kingdom: its tribal past, its complicated present, its precarious future. Through observation, anecdote, extensive interviews, and analysis Karen Elliot House navigates the maze in which Saudi citizens find themselves trapped and reveals the mysterious nation that is the world’s largest exporter of oil, critical to global stability, and a source of Islamic terrorists. In her probing and sharp-eyed portrait, we see Saudi Arabia, one of the last absolute monarchies in the world, considered to be the final bulwark against revolution in the region, as threatened by multiple fissures and forces, its levers of power controlled by a handful of elderly Al Saud princes with an average age of 77 years and an extended family of some 7,000 princes. Yet at least 60 percent of the increasingly restive population they rule is under the age of 20. The author writes that oil-rich Saudi Arabia has become a rundown welfare state. The public pays no taxes; gets free education and health care; and receives subsidized water, electricity, and energy (a gallon of gasoline is cheaper in the Kingdom than a bottle of water), with its petrodollars buying less and less loyalty. House makes clear that the royal family also uses Islam’s requirement of obedience to Allah—and by extension to earthly rulers—to perpetuate Al Saud rule. Behind the Saudi facade of order and obedience, today’s Saudi youth, frustrated by social conformity, are reaching out to one another and to a wider world beyond their cloistered country. Some 50 percent of Saudi youth is on the Internet; 5.1 million Saudis are on Facebook. To write this book, the author interviewed most of the key members of the very private royal family. She writes about King Abdullah’s modest efforts to relax some of the kingdom’s most oppressive social restrictions; women are now allowed to acquire photo ID cards, finally giving them an identity independent from their male guardians, and are newly able to register their own businesses but are still forbidden to drive and are barred from most jobs. With extraordinary access to Saudis—from key religious leaders and dissident imams to women at university and impoverished widows, from government officials and political dissidents to young successful Saudis and those who chose the path of terrorism—House argues that most Saudis do not want democracy but seek change nevertheless; they want a government that provides basic services without subjecting citizens to the indignity of begging princes for handouts; a government less corrupt and more transparent in how it spends hundreds of billions of annual oil revenue; a kingdom ruled by law, not royal whim. In House’s assessment of Saudi Arabia’s future, she compares the country today to the Soviet Union before Mikhail Gorbachev arrived with reform policies that proved too little too late after decades of stagnation under one aged and infirm Soviet leader after another. She discusses what the next generation of royal princes might bring and the choices the kingdom faces: continued economic and social stultification with growing risk of instability, or an opening of society to individual initiative and enterprise with the risk that this, too, undermines the Al Saud hold on power. A riveting book—informed, authoritative, illuminating—about a country that could well be on the brink, and an in-depth examination of what all this portends for Saudi Arabia’s future, and for our own. From the Hardcover edition.