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Drive-by shootings, drug overdoses, and multi-car accidents - as a paramedic, he thought he had seen it all, until he answered a small job advertisement that changed his life forever. Welcome to the mysterious world of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the most fundamentalist Islamic countries on the globe. Working as a paramedic at the only level one trauma center in th Drive-by shootings, drug overdoses, and multi-car accidents - as a paramedic, he thought he had seen it all, until he answered a small job advertisement that changed his life forever. Welcome to the mysterious world of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the most fundamentalist Islamic countries on the globe. Working as a paramedic at the only level one trauma center in the Middle East, he found his skills and knowledge tested to the limit on a daily basis. Later recruited to the medical team of Crown Prince Abdullah Ibin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the now reigning King of Saudi Arabia, he was drawn into a world of palaces and princes, limousines an Learjets. His adventure had only begun. This is a riveting, factual account of an American paramedic's extraordinary experience inside a country seldom seen by the outside world. "Tom literally grabs you by the throat in the opening chapter. A fascinating autobiographical tale." Norm Rooker, EMS Responder "This is one of the best books of its kind. An insight into Saudi life that most westerners would over look." Sandy A. Mitchell, Author (Saudi Babylon) "So fascinating, that I got up at 3.00am to finish it. It is raw, interesting and the emotions it stirs are intense. Made me both laugh and cry." Theodocia McLean, Ggost Writer Reviews


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Drive-by shootings, drug overdoses, and multi-car accidents - as a paramedic, he thought he had seen it all, until he answered a small job advertisement that changed his life forever. Welcome to the mysterious world of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the most fundamentalist Islamic countries on the globe. Working as a paramedic at the only level one trauma center in th Drive-by shootings, drug overdoses, and multi-car accidents - as a paramedic, he thought he had seen it all, until he answered a small job advertisement that changed his life forever. Welcome to the mysterious world of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, one of the most fundamentalist Islamic countries on the globe. Working as a paramedic at the only level one trauma center in the Middle East, he found his skills and knowledge tested to the limit on a daily basis. Later recruited to the medical team of Crown Prince Abdullah Ibin Abdul Aziz Al Saud, the now reigning King of Saudi Arabia, he was drawn into a world of palaces and princes, limousines an Learjets. His adventure had only begun. This is a riveting, factual account of an American paramedic's extraordinary experience inside a country seldom seen by the outside world. "Tom literally grabs you by the throat in the opening chapter. A fascinating autobiographical tale." Norm Rooker, EMS Responder "This is one of the best books of its kind. An insight into Saudi life that most westerners would over look." Sandy A. Mitchell, Author (Saudi Babylon) "So fascinating, that I got up at 3.00am to finish it. It is raw, interesting and the emotions it stirs are intense. Made me both laugh and cry." Theodocia McLean, Ggost Writer Reviews

30 review for Paramedic to the Prince

  1. 4 out of 5

    Petra-X Off having adventures

    Firstly the Saudi Royals aren't like other Royal Families. Given that Ibn Saud, the founder of the modern house of Saud, had 45 sons (no one knows how many daughters as females are irrelevant) that would make the Royals a huge clan to start with. Since the men can have four wives each (at a time, divorcing them as and when someone more appealing comes along) the breeding capacity is vast. The latest figure I read was that there are around 15,000 royals of which 2,000 are multi-millionaires and h Firstly the Saudi Royals aren't like other Royal Families. Given that Ibn Saud, the founder of the modern house of Saud, had 45 sons (no one knows how many daughters as females are irrelevant) that would make the Royals a huge clan to start with. Since the men can have four wives each (at a time, divorcing them as and when someone more appealing comes along) the breeding capacity is vast. The latest figure I read was that there are around 15,000 royals of which 2,000 are multi-millionaires and hold all the positions of power and 'government' that they want. So entitling the book Paramedic to the Prince means that the position was by no means unique and there were probably an awful lot of special one-to-one paramedics to the endless procession of princes. But only one wrote a book! And Notestine can tell a story well. What I mostly took away from the book is that the royals are despotic sybarites. They are peaceful, generous and friendly* and even obliging if you are doing something they want and are happy to be on call 24/7 and are suitably cringingly respectful back. Nothing else is acceptable, not even the slightest deviation from that. If they are nice to you, if they allow you money and freedom it means you are male, probably European or American and useful to them. If you are Indian, Filipino or from those other third world nations that go there to work to send money home, you have very few rights. Women, of course, even less. And no Jews, no matter their nationality are allowed in. I believe it is the only country in the world that bans visitors based on their religion, I might be wrong though. There was one Jew allowed in though. That was my late uncle. He was a world-famous (in his sphere) anaethetist specialising in heart operations, and was one of the people who developed heart transplants. When the King was too ill to travel, the Saudis assembled the best medical team in the world and a jet was sent to London for my uncle, an observant Orthodox Jew. There is a Jewish saying, if you save one life, it's as if you had saved the world. So of course he went. Something the author does not go into is the present-day slave trade in Saudi Arabia. Slavery was officially ended in 1962 although the chief of the Ulema of Mecca (some time before) issued a fatwa declaring “the ban on slaves is contrary to Sharia (Islamic Law)". If you are interested in human rights for minorities, including Blacks, this is a good article. Paramedic to the Prince is quite well written, Notestine is quite a story teller, and he loved his job, got promotions, mixed with the royals and had extended holidays back in the US. But eventually he sickened of the place, the extreme corruption, the lack of respect for anyone or anything that gets in the way of the Saudi Royals. And left to return to the normality of America! I wish him well and I hope he continues writing.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Petra

    An interesting story of a fascinating country, its people and customs. Unevenly told and with a touch of arrogant superiority at times. There's a lot of talk of the riches one can amass as an expat (tax free income, many gratuities, free lodging, etc). As a reader, I got the impression that as time went on, the author himself became a bit spoiled and entitled but throughout his experience he's a man of integrity and hard work who respects the people and their customs, while loving their country An interesting story of a fascinating country, its people and customs. Unevenly told and with a touch of arrogant superiority at times. There's a lot of talk of the riches one can amass as an expat (tax free income, many gratuities, free lodging, etc). As a reader, I got the impression that as time went on, the author himself became a bit spoiled and entitled but throughout his experience he's a man of integrity and hard work who respects the people and their customs, while loving their country and its beauty. All in all, a very interesting look at the culture of the Kingdom and what it's like to live there as a non-resident, a non-muslim and someone curious about the customs around him. I enjoyed this book. It's not perfect and it's a bit scattered in how it's laid out but it's a story told by a man who lived there. These are his stories and he's casually relating them. Very interesting.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Megan Moody

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's obvious from the writing style that it's actually written by the paramedic, versus a ghost writer, and I liked that about it. The writing style is that of a guy sitting around telling stories. It hops all over the place in no particular order and uses phrases like "it was a zillion degrees," but I think that made me like the book that much more. It's an easy and light read, with only a few sentences here and there about horrible things (the way women and anim I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's obvious from the writing style that it's actually written by the paramedic, versus a ghost writer, and I liked that about it. The writing style is that of a guy sitting around telling stories. It hops all over the place in no particular order and uses phrases like "it was a zillion degrees," but I think that made me like the book that much more. It's an easy and light read, with only a few sentences here and there about horrible things (the way women and animals are treated and things like that). I also liked that it's written without judgement of the culture while still showing the author's Western view on things. His love-hate relationship with Saudia Arabia is clearly evident.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Kelly

    Really nice to have a book that doesn't pontificate or dispense viewpoints and simply lets us judge for ourselves. A fascinating (and somewhat disturbing) POV of Saudi Arabia. Really nice to have a book that doesn't pontificate or dispense viewpoints and simply lets us judge for ourselves. A fascinating (and somewhat disturbing) POV of Saudi Arabia.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Ms. Kat

    Readers wanting a crash course in expat life in Saudi Arabia will find this book helpful. Though lacking in structure, the book's humorous anecdotes kept me interested, especially the author's accidental visit to Mecca and his stories of working in various Saudi Arabian hospitals. His personal experiences during the time he served as medic to the Crown Prince are intriguing. Not many people can say they’ve joined world leaders as they convened on yachts and stayed at various palatial estates. Th Readers wanting a crash course in expat life in Saudi Arabia will find this book helpful. Though lacking in structure, the book's humorous anecdotes kept me interested, especially the author's accidental visit to Mecca and his stories of working in various Saudi Arabian hospitals. His personal experiences during the time he served as medic to the Crown Prince are intriguing. Not many people can say they’ve joined world leaders as they convened on yachts and stayed at various palatial estates. The ambivalence the author feels towards the culture is clear: on one hand, he's fascinated by the beauty of the landscape that is Saudi Arabia --the caves & the wide-open spaces-- and his connections with friendly Saudis. On the other hand, he's troubled by the treatment of women and minorities and the inconsistencies he sees at work and in society at large. The book is worth reading, especially for the inside scoop on the inner workings of the Saudi royal family. Readers looking for a balanced, scholarly overview of Saudi Arabian culture, however, should look elsewhere. Those looking for an entertaining, easy read won’t be disappointed.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Julie Laporte

    I loved this and hated this all at the same time. I read it on the Kindle, and the editing was absolutely horrible. Not just your usual error, either--whole syntax errors. That's enough to drive me nuts...yet I know so very little about this subject, and the author's experience is so unique--privy to the life of a prince in Saudi Arabia--even getting to see Mecca and the Kabala as a non-Muslim. Yet I couldn't help but get hung up on the author's voice, which really came through loud and clear--I I loved this and hated this all at the same time. I read it on the Kindle, and the editing was absolutely horrible. Not just your usual error, either--whole syntax errors. That's enough to drive me nuts...yet I know so very little about this subject, and the author's experience is so unique--privy to the life of a prince in Saudi Arabia--even getting to see Mecca and the Kabala as a non-Muslim. Yet I couldn't help but get hung up on the author's voice, which really came through loud and clear--I think, and no offense intended, it just isn't somebody I would personally be friends with, and with such a strong voice these stories are told in, it was hard to get away from that feeling that I wanted to walk away. I also wondered how much I could trust the story--who's there to say that's not what happened? Truly, I have no reason not to trust this author, but in this world of self-publishing, anyone could abuse the trust we're so used to in reading books that previously were screened and verified to some degree by publishing houses. Quite interesting.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Beverly

    Fascinating look into paramedic practices in Saudi Arabia and frustrations it brought to an American trained paramedic. Interesting look into the life of the Saudi royal family. The book suffered from poor grammar here and there; the kindle edition desperately needs a good editor.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Brooke Hailey

    I'm not quite halfway through and it's starting to get boring. It was intriguing at first, but now it's getting pretty slow. And the grammatical errors are rampant! I think Notestine has an interesting story to tell, but he needs a better editor! I'm not quite halfway through and it's starting to get boring. It was intriguing at first, but now it's getting pretty slow. And the grammatical errors are rampant! I think Notestine has an interesting story to tell, but he needs a better editor!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Wytzia Raspe

    The American EMS who worked in Saudi for about 10 years tells his memoirs. The story might jump from one thing to the other but it gives us a glimpse of that hidden world. Not the best writing style but an interesting subject. And it makes the culture class evident. How he and his friends would dive in a wetsuit not caring how that looked and on the other hand men then masturbating. How the prince - later king - he works for is nice to his employees and how other people just crap in an operating The American EMS who worked in Saudi for about 10 years tells his memoirs. The story might jump from one thing to the other but it gives us a glimpse of that hidden world. Not the best writing style but an interesting subject. And it makes the culture class evident. How he and his friends would dive in a wetsuit not caring how that looked and on the other hand men then masturbating. How the prince - later king - he works for is nice to his employees and how other people just crap in an operating room expecting others to clean it. Bear in mind it describes the situation of 15 years ago and the aftershocks of 9/11.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jill Robbertze

    This was a most interesting insider view of what it is like to live and work in Saudi Arabia. Notestine covers many aspects from inside the Royal Palaces, Saudi culture, a bit of history, their medical and hospitasl systems, to stories from within the expat compound. I was totally entrigued by some of the things that seem really shocking from a Westerner's point of view while some of his stories were even amusing. I have read other books about Muslim life in the Middle East but this one struck m This was a most interesting insider view of what it is like to live and work in Saudi Arabia. Notestine covers many aspects from inside the Royal Palaces, Saudi culture, a bit of history, their medical and hospitasl systems, to stories from within the expat compound. I was totally entrigued by some of the things that seem really shocking from a Westerner's point of view while some of his stories were even amusing. I have read other books about Muslim life in the Middle East but this one struck me as being really candid and even somewhat outspoken.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Liralen

    Sometimes you come across a book online (in this case while looking up books similar to In the Land of Invisible Women, although I was hoping for better writing) and it looks really interesting. A great cover -- in this case the blue one -- and a story about a culture you're curious about. Sometimes it is easy to find a copy of that book, so your curiosity is quickly sated. Sometimes you can't find a copy anywhere -- neither of the library systems in your town have it; it's not available on the b Sometimes you come across a book online (in this case while looking up books similar to In the Land of Invisible Women, although I was hoping for better writing) and it looks really interesting. A great cover -- in this case the blue one -- and a story about a culture you're curious about. Sometimes it is easy to find a copy of that book, so your curiosity is quickly sated. Sometimes you can't find a copy anywhere -- neither of the library systems in your town have it; it's not available on the bookswap site you use; the bookstore doesn't have it (and you view Amazon as cheating). So you put it on your "to-read" list anyway and hope that sooner or later it'll become available on the bookswap site. And then -- and then. You're going through your to-read list in preparation for a library run, checking to see which books both appeal at the moment and are available at the library, and this book is one of them. Shock. Happiness. It has such a great cover, after all, and even though you know better than to judge a book by its cover, you are lulled into a false sense of security because you're happy that you'll actually be able to move this one from the "to-read" list to the "read" list. So you check the book out. And then you start reading it. Oh dear. This is not what you expected. This is, first of all, very clearly self-published. (You could have figured this out before you got it from the library, of course, but shhhhh, you haven't learned this lesson yet and probably won't anytime soon.) It is immediately clear that the author desperately needed an editor, and a proofreader, and somebody who could remind him to stop switching tenses mid-paragraph, dammit, you're going to break some poor reader's brain. The book is written in a chatty, conversational style, which sometimes is fine and sometimes makes you want to bash your head against the wall, because in addition to needing an editor and a proofreader and so on, the author would have benefited from a fact checker. There is no continuity to the stories, no recurring characters, and numerous threads left hanging. Every other statement is presented as a truth universal to Saudi Arabia, with little or no nuance. On the more minor end of things, the author talks about earning and saving a ton of money in Saudi Arabia, then going back to the States, getting accepted into a low-tier law school (he doesn't say "low-tier", of course, but you have Google on your side), and then not having the $11,000 to pay for a year of schooling (which confuses you on two levels -- first because one would think that if he'd saved up a ton of money he could at least make it through a year of school on his savings, second because the school's website and Wikipedia put annual tuition at $9,000 and $7,500, respectively, and you wouldn't expect it to have decreased since the author's admission). It doesn't matter, anyway; he goes back to Saudi Arabia to save up the money for law school and then never mentions law school again. When the author is not talking about how much money he's saving, his stories can be divided into two categories: crazy shit that Saudis do because they are so unqualified for any job ever, and crazy shit that Saudis have because they spend money like it is going out of style. It is memoir, of course, so you expected some degree of bias, but you had naively assumed that the author would at least try to be evenhanded rather than throwing out every shocking or funny story he can think of (except for those times when he tells half a story, says that he'll tell the rest later, and then never gets around to it). He's not stupid. He recognises inequalities and inconsistencies in Saudi Arabia, but also in other countries. He's just not interested in exploring them in any depth beyond shock value, nor in covering any part of the culture As an American, he has certain advantages not available to many other foreign workers or many classes in Saudi Arabia -- he recognises this, but doesn't question it -- just uses those advantages to the best of his ability. The role of women is noted, but again, only as shock value -- you don't actually count, but if you did you'd probably find that he spends more time talking about cars (ones he's had, ones the Saudis gave away because they weren't modern enough, ones that got scraped) than about women. There's little insight, just extremes. The book definitely does not pass the Bechdel test. But you finish the book. Not that you expect it to get better. Possibly you are a masochist, or possibly you just still have an irrational hope that somewhere in here there is one gem -- just one -- that would make the book worth it. At least now the book can come off your "to-read" list.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Golem

    The ability to self-publish books has certainly increased reader's exposure to previously undiscovered fields of work and play, but without the critical eye of a well-meaning editor some texts become painful, and Paramedic To The Prince is one such book. It is an unstructured, one-dimensional, chronologically challenged account of an American paramedic's decade long life in Saudi Arabia. I really wanted to like this book but was defeated by tortuous syntax, grammar and the random paragraphs. The The ability to self-publish books has certainly increased reader's exposure to previously undiscovered fields of work and play, but without the critical eye of a well-meaning editor some texts become painful, and Paramedic To The Prince is one such book. It is an unstructured, one-dimensional, chronologically challenged account of an American paramedic's decade long life in Saudi Arabia. I really wanted to like this book but was defeated by tortuous syntax, grammar and the random paragraphs. The author fits neatly into the category of 'unreliable narrator', always presenting himself in the best light and almost everyone else as the baddie. I lost count of how many times he referred to those who work in the service industries as 'little', e.g. "the little Bangladeshi", "the little Philipino", with overtones of arrogance. Saudi is clearly a very rich country for some people and I shared his awe at the lavishness of it all, but he remains fixated by money and it is a recurring theme that never gets beyond a 'water-cooler conversation' in exploring in more depth. He certainly has no aversion to name-dropping, on one occasion even stepping up to Gadaffi during an Arab nation conference and shaking his hand, "I'm still proud that I've stood toe to toe with Muammar Gaddafi." On another occasion he describes a visit to the hospital by Adnan Khoshoggi, the self-proclaimed international arms dealer, and manages to misspell his name twice in the space of half a page. Both we and the author might have benefited had he paid more attention to politics and editing. Perhaps we shouldn't be completely surprised by the almost complete absence of Muslim women in the narrative. Although this might be a clever narrative technique for portraying their role in Saudi society I was hoping that during some point in ten years Notestine would have reflected on his relationship to and with Muslim women, but sadly we read none of it. The penultimate chapter has the supreme irony of describing the Saudi man's attitude to Western women as "sluts" in a condemnatory way but then spends four pages of gossip about British paramedic Jim who strings along girlfriends while his naive wife looks after their child. The behaviour the author details of the 'infidels' really doesn't show them in any more of a favourable light than the religious society he implicitly condemns. As he leaves the country for the last time he writes, "Saudi is a fascinating place." Indeed it might be, but this is not the book that shares or conveys that fascination.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Casey

    An engaging assortment of stories. The book lacked a direction, although each chapter seemed to revolve around a particular theme. Stories are interspersed among each other, sometimes quite randomly and without setup. Paramedic to the Prince is a decent idea of a story. However, it doesn't have the clarity and depth to really bring it to the next level. If the book was a work of fiction, using a paramedic in Saudi Arabia during this time period, it would be very intriguing. In a fictional account An engaging assortment of stories. The book lacked a direction, although each chapter seemed to revolve around a particular theme. Stories are interspersed among each other, sometimes quite randomly and without setup. Paramedic to the Prince is a decent idea of a story. However, it doesn't have the clarity and depth to really bring it to the next level. If the book was a work of fiction, using a paramedic in Saudi Arabia during this time period, it would be very intriguing. In a fictional account, there would be more of a cohesive plot, but then that is probably a curse of most memoirs - their tendency to ramble. Paramedic to the Prince is a bunch of random events the author found most intriguing during his life in Saudi Arabia. I thought there were portions that seemed a bit "gossipy" about those he used to work with that didn't really add much to the story. Additionally, I thought there were some stories that could have been elaborated in more detail and been fantastic. Just to note, the author is only a paramedic to the Crown Prince in the second third of the story, so I don't know if the title is the best for describing his experiences. Even with its faults, I breezed through this, and it's an easy read. It's fun to read, it's just lacking polish.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Ann

    I don't even know how rate this book. If I were to rate it on writing style, spelling, editing, and typos, it would get one star, if that. If I were to rate it on interesting stories and learning more about Saudi Arabia, it would get a 4. The first part of the book about his life as a paramedic in a hospital in Saudi and later to the prince is fascinating. The latter half of the book where he just rambles his opinions about Saudi life in general is less so. I think a good editor good have taken I don't even know how rate this book. If I were to rate it on writing style, spelling, editing, and typos, it would get one star, if that. If I were to rate it on interesting stories and learning more about Saudi Arabia, it would get a 4. The first part of the book about his life as a paramedic in a hospital in Saudi and later to the prince is fascinating. The latter half of the book where he just rambles his opinions about Saudi life in general is less so. I think a good editor good have taken the first half of this book and made it into a great book. Overall though, it was an interesting read. You have to look past things like the spelling of "Shreiveport, LA" or the use of "4-bed roomed house." His stories have the potential to make a good book, but sadly this one isn't it. I honestly did enjoy it though, so it got a three on that account.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I had a hard time putting this one down. The Saudi culture is...very different from ours. Reading this book was like coming upon a bad car accident - you know you should look away but just can't. The author tells many fascinating anecdotes but I was wishing his editor had tightened up the writing. The stories jumped around a bit and at times it wasn't clear which person he was speaking of. I'm hoping to find out what Mr. Notestine has done since leaving Saudi - did he become a lawyer? How does he I had a hard time putting this one down. The Saudi culture is...very different from ours. Reading this book was like coming upon a bad car accident - you know you should look away but just can't. The author tells many fascinating anecdotes but I was wishing his editor had tightened up the writing. The stories jumped around a bit and at times it wasn't clear which person he was speaking of. I'm hoping to find out what Mr. Notestine has done since leaving Saudi - did he become a lawyer? How does he feel about Saudi Arabia now and would he go back again? Good read - I recommend it. Some graphic content (it IS about a being a medical worker) and a few swear words.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Seth

    This was a fascinating perspective on daily life in Saudi Arabia for a paramedic who worked there for nearly a decade, both in a hospital and on the staff of Crown Prince Abdullah, both before and after September 11. the author notes that he has a love-hate relationship with the country and spent most of his time in an emergency room, but it was still a fascinating perspective and an engaging, quick read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sophie

    Very interesting, full of fascinating tid-bits about life in Saudi.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Dana

    I always say this is one of the best books I've ever read. It taught me so much about Saudi Arabia. I'm going to read it a second time because it was so good! I always say this is one of the best books I've ever read. It taught me so much about Saudi Arabia. I'm going to read it a second time because it was so good!

  19. 4 out of 5

    Johanna

    Anyone who is curious about what life is like in Saudi Arabia should definitely give this book a read. The author Tom Notestine moves to KSA in the early 90s to work as a paramedic, and eventually gets recruited to work on the personal medical team of the Crown Prince. The author describes his relationship to Saudi as "love-hate", and thats really what this novel felt like. His descriptions of the natural beauty and the cities are striking, and it is obvious that he cherishes many aspects of Sau Anyone who is curious about what life is like in Saudi Arabia should definitely give this book a read. The author Tom Notestine moves to KSA in the early 90s to work as a paramedic, and eventually gets recruited to work on the personal medical team of the Crown Prince. The author describes his relationship to Saudi as "love-hate", and thats really what this novel felt like. His descriptions of the natural beauty and the cities are striking, and it is obvious that he cherishes many aspects of Saudi culture and hospitality. However, there are some bits that I would describe as western superiority.. that hint of arrogance and belittlement that comes out whenever Westerners travel to a country whose values they deem inferior (to be clear, I am NOT talking about his criticisms of the aspects of living under fundamentalist Sharia law here) . TO BE FAIR, I don't really know if it is possible to remain neutral about a place like KSA, where you really have to search far and wide to find any overlapping values at all, it seems. For what its worth, everyone whom I personally know who has traveled to the Kingdom left feeling similarly about their time spent there as the author. It would be interesting to read a more recent account of traveling around Saudi, especially in light of the country being open to tourism since 2018. All that being said, the writing in this novel is really all over the place and would have greatly benefited from a well-meaning editor. It feels like a bunch of anecdotes stringed together, riddled with spelling, punctuation, and syntax errors. Overall, this was an enjoyable, quick read.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Carianne Carleo-Evangelist

    The author is an American paramedic who took a job in Saudi and lived there for about a decade in the years leading up to and immediately after 9/11. Saudi (and indeed the world) was a very different time then. This book is a book back at his work & life experience as a paramedic in the National Guard hospital, in service of the crown prince and after a stint back in the US, in Jeddah. This is very stream of consciousness so my one complaint is it's sometimes hard to tell when in his time there The author is an American paramedic who took a job in Saudi and lived there for about a decade in the years leading up to and immediately after 9/11. Saudi (and indeed the world) was a very different time then. This book is a book back at his work & life experience as a paramedic in the National Guard hospital, in service of the crown prince and after a stint back in the US, in Jeddah. This is very stream of consciousness so my one complaint is it's sometimes hard to tell when in his time there the experiences happened as it's semi thematical and not at all chronologic. Some of his experiences are well-known, especially the discrepancy between how American immigrants are treated vs. Asian immigrants, but others such as the job roles Saudis would take were new to me. The author was fairly immersed in Saudi culture and did not appear to exist solely in a western bubble, but I found some of his perceptions and characterizations slightly troubling and stereotypical. An interesting read about a world long gone. Would benefit from a better edit but that's the price you pay for Kindle Unlimited.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Debbie Rooney

    Interesting story and facts I found this book interesting after also doing 2 rotations in Saudi Arabia as well as 6 years in the UAE (total 15 years in the Middle East). Many of the stories written about I had heard reference to and many of the experiences I also encountered. I found all the medical/paramedic information fascinating because I am a BSN/RN but never worked in a hospital setting. I also enjoyed the walk through Mecca. I had to be a "casual" employee, in SA, since my husband was the Interesting story and facts I found this book interesting after also doing 2 rotations in Saudi Arabia as well as 6 years in the UAE (total 15 years in the Middle East). Many of the stories written about I had heard reference to and many of the experiences I also encountered. I found all the medical/paramedic information fascinating because I am a BSN/RN but never worked in a hospital setting. I also enjoyed the walk through Mecca. I had to be a "casual" employee, in SA, since my husband was the main employee, and he was my sponsor. Therefore, I worked in a veterinary clinic, in Saudi, and did school nursing in Dubai. We loved living in Dubai, but I completely agree with the love-hate relationship with Saudi Arabia. This was a very interesting and truthful read from someone who's been there.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Maharsh Shah

    More like a 2.5 rating. I wish the book was better written and better edited in terms of the basic grammar and description of the general body. It is still a fascinating and pretty much a must read as it takes the reader in the front rows of a world one outside of it does not know much about. The writer spent years in Saudi Arabia first as a paramedic in Riyadh and then worked with the Royal family of Saud as a paramedic to the head of the royal family. In his years there he comes face to face w More like a 2.5 rating. I wish the book was better written and better edited in terms of the basic grammar and description of the general body. It is still a fascinating and pretty much a must read as it takes the reader in the front rows of a world one outside of it does not know much about. The writer spent years in Saudi Arabia first as a paramedic in Riyadh and then worked with the Royal family of Saud as a paramedic to the head of the royal family. In his years there he comes face to face with lots of Arab leaders and sees hands on the life they lead as well as elucidates on the local customs and practices of the Arab society.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Chaplain Stanley Chapin

    A gripping story One that I could well connect, as I palso went through many of the same experiences in Saudi Arabia during the 1970 -1980 era. I went back in the 90s and it was so different. The whole relationship seemed changing toward Americans and it appears to have continued to worsen. I still remember fondly of relationships, cultures and geographic aspects that were unique.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Claire Dellar

    Fascinating insight into the mentality Why is Saudi Arabia a rich country with massive unemployment? Why do they need immigrants to do work while Saudis remain jobless? What is it, in a beautiful culture, which prevents it's development? I found this fascinating personal account a deep insight into the mentality underpinning a society at once hostile and hospitable, where the only thing holding them back is themselves. Fascinating insight into the mentality Why is Saudi Arabia a rich country with massive unemployment? Why do they need immigrants to do work while Saudis remain jobless? What is it, in a beautiful culture, which prevents it's development? I found this fascinating personal account a deep insight into the mentality underpinning a society at once hostile and hospitable, where the only thing holding them back is themselves.

  25. 4 out of 5

    C

    Fascinating insight but horribly written and edited. It was one long run on sentence with no order or logical flow. It was difficult to follow any timeline of events and so many things seemed to be repeated. That said, it captures the ills of that world very well and the selfishness and greed, from all countries, that come from easy money and too much time. Worth a quick skim if you want to understand middle eastern/gulf Arab thought and culture but skimming is sufficient.

  26. 4 out of 5

    anita rosenthal

    Witty, informative with frightening ending. I enjoy a book so much when author has a good writing style and gets a firm grip on the reader from the beginning. After terrorist strikes within Saudi Arabia went from bad to worse, I would have liked more details on how he got out of the country and more about his wife.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Rebekah Helbley

    Perspective I found myself perplexed by the Saudi way of thinking. The focus and purpose of their wealth seems to distract from their supposed fundamentalist views. I learned much!

  28. 5 out of 5

    Marta

    An inside look at the royals in Saudi Arabia in the 1990’s and up to 2004. So interesting, and written in a conversational style. So amazing to read about the wealth and decadence in this Muslim country.

  29. 4 out of 5

    alison cameron

    Interesting! Fascinating read. Scary to think societies like this even exist let alone with so much power. Definetely recommend, well written, fascinating insight into an alien culture.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Girlfren

    Interesting! This book reads so well and paints a picture of Saudi Arabia in a way that few other books have. I enjoyed it immensely. My only gripe is the book has grammatical errors and typos. Where is the proofreader?

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