The “astonishing and deeply poignant” (The Washington Post) memoir of one man’s search for a beloved family friend explores the depth of Iranian culture and the sweep of its history, and transcends today’s news headlines to remind us of the humanity that connects us all.
Growing up in Tehran in the 1960s, Terence Ward and his brothers were watched over by Hassan, the family’s cook, housekeeper, and cultural guide. After an absence of thirty years and much turmoil in Iran, Ward embarks on a quixotic pilgrimage with his family in search of their lost friend. However, as they set out on this improbable quest with no address or phone number, their only hope lies in their mother’s small black and white photograph taken decades before.
Crossing the vast landscape of ancient Persia, Ward interweaves its incredibly rich past, while exploring modern Iran’s deep conflicts with its Arab neighbors and our current administration. Searching for Hassan puts a human face on the long-suffering people of the Middle East with this inspirational story of an American family who came to love and admire Iran and its culture through their deep affection for its people. The journey answers the question, “How far would you go for a friend?”
Including a revised preface and epilogue, this new and updated edition continues to demonstrate that Searching for Hassan is as relevant and timely as ever in shaping conversations and ways of thinking about different cultures both in the US and around the world.
Terence Ward is a Colorado-born writer, documentarist, and cross-cultural consultant who grew up in Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Egypt. After graduating from UC Berkeley, he worked for a decade with Middle East Industrial Relations Counselors (MEIRC) consulting with clients across the Gulf. The author of The Guardian of Mercy and The Wahhabi Code, he serves as international trustee for the World Conference of Religions for Peace (RfP). He is a member of the noted Middle Eastern Institute (ISMEO) in Rome and divides his time between Florence and New York.
"Astonishing and deeply poignant!" —the Washington Post
"This is a lovely book—part memoir, part family odyssey, but, most important, a wise and lyrical appreciation of one of the world's great cultures. Terence Ward knows Iran and loves it in a way that transcends the politics of the moment" —Joe Klein, contributing editor, the New Yorker
"Ward's sympathetic and humane portrayals of everyday Iranians can help us transcend today's policy papers and state department briefings in order to find commonalities" —USA TODAY
"A wonderfully tactile, rich book... written from the right place (the heart), and with the right know of search in mind (the search for grace)." —Esquire
"Discover the new, the enduring, and the comic in an enigmatic country swept by some of the most startling events in recent history. Readers prone to wanderlust beware." —Neil MacFarquhad, Middle East Correspondent, the New York Times