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Behind the Kingdom's Veil: Inside the New Saudi Arabia Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Middle East History and Travel)

Behind the Kingdom's Veil: Inside the New Saudi Arabia Under Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Middle East History and Travel)

by Susanne Koelbl, ,

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A First-Hand Look at Saudi Arabian Life as Few Outsiders Have Seen It

"It's like watching a movie - just better," Dr. Elisabeth Kendall, Oxford University, Arabic and Islamic Studies.

2020 Finalist Sarton Women's Literary Award for Nonfiction
#1 Bestseller on Saudi Arabia, Social Group Studies, Islam, Civil Rights, Islamic Banking & Finance

Witness the mysterious world of Saudi Arabia. Understand Saudi culture, politics, history, human rights, and women´s rights as seen through the intimate and insightful experiences of an award-winning journalist.

Few Westerners have been allowed a closer look at the inner workings of Saudi Arabia. Susanne Koelbl, prize-winning journalist for the German news magazine Der Spiegel, strips away the veil covering many secrets of this mysterious kingdom. For years she traveled the Middle East, and recently lived in Riyadh during the most dramatic changes since the country’s founding.

Peek inside the black box that is Saudi Arabia. Koelbl has cultivated relationships on every level of Saudi society and is equally at ease with ultra-conservative Salafi preachers, oppositionists, and women from all walks of life.

  • Listen to intimate conversations with women about their newly offered freedoms
  • Have breakfast with Royal Highnesses, meet Osama bin Laden’s bomb-making trainer, enter palaces of secret service chiefs
  • View an in-depth portrait of the all-powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS)


If you have an interest in books such as Robert Lacey’s Inside the Kingdom, Bradley Hope’s Blood and Oil, or Kim Ghattas’s Black Wave; expect unique insights into the new Saudi Arabia, travel through the rapidly changing kingdom, and be a witness to very personal encounters with the citizens of Saudi Arabia in Susanne Koelbl’s Behind the Kingdom’s Veil.

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  • Susanne Koelbl

    Susanne Koelbl is an award winning journalist and a military and foreign correspondent for the German news magazine DER SPIEGEL. Her stories highlight the intricate dynamics in conflict areas and wars around the world, the Balkans, Central Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

    Koelbl is known for her probing reports from Syria, Afghanistan and North Korea. Her highly acclaimed book "Dark Beloved Country: People and Power in Afghanistan" was published in 2009, Siedler-Verlag/Random House.

    Always close to the people, Koelbl uses their voices to make complicated political and societal contexts accessible. For her in-depth and thorough reporting she received several industry recognitions, including the Liberty Award and the Henry-Nannen-Price. In her exceptional interviews with state leaders, intelligence-chiefs and Islamic extremists Koelbl repeatedly challenges the powerful, for example the Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, the Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir, who is wanted for genocide with an international arrest warrant, or the underground Hamas leader Khaled Mashal, to name a few. Koelbl has excellent contacts in all political camps in the Middle East. She is a fellow of the Bertelsmann Foundation's German-Israeli Young Leaders Program, and Media Ambassador in the China-Program of the Robert-Bosch-Foundation.

    With The Poetry Project, the philanthropist Koelbl founded 2015 an international forum which gives a voice to the voiceless. With the help of translators, young immigrants from conflict zones and German youths tell each other their life stories in their native languages (

    In the "Shattered Windows" project, young Yemenis from both sides of the frontlines write to each other and share their experiences during the war raging on for four years now. The format is portable and the Poetry Project’s international effort to export the model to create healing and constructive dialog between youths on both sides in violent conflicts.

    As a Knight Wallace Fellow at the University of Michigan, Koelbl gave guest lectures in 2012 on the war in Syria and the forty-year Afghanistan crisis. She also frequently provides lectures on Foreign Reporting at the University of Leipzig.

    Koelbl is a much sought-after participant in international conferences and TV talk shows. The author has been travelling to Saudi Arabia since 2011.

    Most recently she lived in Riyadh during 2018/19.