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Princess Sultana's Circle (Princess Trilogy) 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 220 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0967673769
ISBN-10: 0967673763
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Sasson and Saudi Princess Sultana follow their earlier accounts of social oppression of women in Arabia with one that focuses on the Saudi royal family and how, despite its wealth and relative freedom from social conventions, its men continue to oppress women. Specific instances include the forced marriage of a young niece to a brutal older man and a cousin's harem of sex slaves. The royal women react with varying degrees of acceptance; an occasional, minor rebellion; and alcohol and drug abuse. Although Sultana's husband is a more enlightened man, she reveals that even she has a drinking problem, brought on by the stress of helplessly witnessing inequities. Sasson and Sultana also detail Islamic culture and teachings and the contradictions between what the Koran teaches regarding women and the cultural interpretations made by men in Saudi society. Sultana has two daughters. One, like her, resists the male-dominated culture, but the other is so traditional that it frightens Sultana. Gossipy but insightful. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"It is a mark of great courage that Sultana decided to continue her story." -- Today
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Windsor-Brooke Books, LLC; 1 edition (January 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0967673763
  • ISBN-13: 978-0967673769
  • Product Dimensions: 5.7 x 0.6 x 8.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (220 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #525,140 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have read all 3 books about Princess Sultana and this one is my favorite. CIRCLE is not quite as sad as the first 2 books, it gives hope and encouragement. The Princess and her sisters form a circle against all the wicked men who take advantage of women. In the future I hope there will be more books about the Princess because her stories are truly amazing and encouraging. And I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in equality.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having now finished the trilogy, I highly recommend all three, including the last installment. It's not the best writing always, but it is a valuable glimpse into the mysteries of female life on the peninsula. As a man, much of this world is forbidden to me. I enjoy studying Islamic culture, but I am naturally restricted in observation to the world of men, whereas Western women can at times be with women, and be "honorary men" in the world of men. So I am indebted to depictions such as this, getting into the mind, heart, and life of a woman.

Sultana isn't always the most likable character- but, at least in the version written by Sasson, she freely admits this. And there are times when it is difficult to believe that this actually comes from a true Saudi woman, because of the great awareness the protagonist has of Western points of view.

I appreciate the insights the book gives into one particular worldview- that of a wealthy, royal, Saudi woman. She effectively communicates the oppression she faces as a woman, and yet the extreme privilege she has obtained by being born into the House of Saud. But there are a number of times when Sultana's unquestioned assumptions are more revealing than her message. The quickness of husbands to buy something to soothe their wives only serves to placate the women and buy them off from truly grappling with reality- it dismisses their genuine concerns by encouraging them to find answer in wealth rather than God. Likewise, Sultana and Sasson do a very effective job of showing the great discrimination by women faced on the peninsula, but bend over backwards to praise the religion of Islam and separate it from what Sultana faces on a daily basis.
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Format: Hardcover
I found this third book in the Princess Trilogy to be even more riveting than the first two. Again, Jean Sasson is able to tell not only the story of an incredibly wealthy yet enslaved royal princess, but to weave into her factual, historical account the atrocities committed against other women throughout Saudi Arabia and Afghanistan. Princess Sultana's Circle also nicely wraps up the three stages of life of this bold and courageous princess. We've already been introduced to her youth and young adulthood. This time we get a much more reflective look at her life as a mature adult and how she continues to cope with a lesser degree of conferred human dignity, but the resolve to fight on.
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By A Customer on April 12, 2000
Format: Hardcover
This latest book in the Princess trilogy kept me up all night, and I missed my stop on the subway...I was that absorbed!
If you loved Princess, you must read the third book in Jean Sasson's Princess trilogy. With Circle, Sultana achieves a welcome level of maturity. She balances the contraints of her life in Saudi Arabia with her desire to improve the lives of all women there and enlists the cooperation of her family.
A fast and exciting read, though the faint of heart beware: the stories of the needless suffering of women in Saudi Arabia is NOT a fairy tale, nor is it easy to read.
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By A Customer on November 14, 2000
Format: Hardcover
I literally inhaled the first book, Princess and am waiting for the second book,Sultana's Daughter. I've just read this one, and I'm telling you, these books are ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!! It's really amazing that such barbaric customs exist!!
However, It worries me a bit that people who read these books are going to confuse the Islam religion with these horrific and barbaric incidents that Sultana has reported.
As a recent student of Islam, I wish to tell you that Islam, while their customs are very different than that of western customs, (wearing of the scarf or veil is to protect their beauty from the stares/advances of strangers,male and female), their Holy Book, the Quran, does NOT CONDONE such barbaric things as harems, and family-killing for punishment,etc!!
What's going on, is a horrifying account of,(and perhaps even misguided,fanatical) supposedly Muslim men who, out of their misunderstanding of what their own religion is about, live life in a very UN-Muslim,indeed, UNHUMAN way!
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By A Customer on September 5, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Sultana's Circle illuminates a culture that is all but hidden from the views of most people. Jean Sasson does a service to all women to reveal how difficult and at times, desperate, the lives of the royal women, and all Saudi woman, are in many cases. Jean Sasson very skillfully tells the tales of Sultana and her two, very different daughters and the experiences they have within and outside of the Kingdom.
Having lived in Saudi Arabia for well over a decade, I know how difficult it is to learn what is really going on. Although the press is ostensibly free, it is self-censored. I cannot recall a single instance of reporting in either of the English-language newspapers which questions the actions of the royal family or any high government officials. This applies to any reporting about the abuse of women in the Kingdom as well.
I have no doubt that Saudi men will take offense at Sultana's Circle, because it casts them in a role which is certainly unattractive by western norms. And although some Saudi women will protest that they are really very happy being taken care of by their husbands and other family members, they really have no choice if they want to remain in the good graces of their families, which are of paramount importance in the Kingdom. With no real freedom, women are very limited in whom they can associate with - their immediate family, their extended family and, to some extent, their classmates from school.
I found the book to provide a glimpse into a society that was almost always hidden from the views of even expatriates living in Saudi Arabia. At some point, perhaps later in this new century, the Kingdom will realize that it is in their best interests to allow everyone the freedom to have a say in determining their own future!
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