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Searching for Hassan: A Journey to the Heart of Iran

3.8  ·  Rating details ·  224 Ratings  ·  49 Reviews
The unique culture of Iran and the sweep of its history are revealed in this evocative travelogue of an American family searching for a lost friend in the country of their youth.

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 forty years, Ward embarked on a
Paperback, 332 pages
Published March 4th 2003 by Anchor (first published 2002)
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(showing 1-30)
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Aug 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
When I was 3 1/2 my family moved to Iran. It is the first place that I have real memories of. I still remember the smell of the bazaar, the sound of the music and the feel of the heat. I remember jumping over fires on Nowruz, riding my bike to the main road to see the Shah drive by, and playing in the ruins of Persepolis. In 1979 we were evacuated, and my world changed. The dust and the heat of Iran worked their way into my heart and I will forever love the country and the people who live there. ...more
Oct 07, 2016 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2016
An American-centric account of a family holiday to Iran and the reunion between a former housekeeper and an expatriate family. The book wouldn't have been so bad had it not been for the excessive use of adjective-laden language and the author's continual self-praise of himself and family.
Anne Slater
Aug 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Terence Ward is a magician: he combines family history, a family quest, political and religious history of Iran, deep look into Islam and its manifestations (with comments that really help me understand the difference between the Sunnis and the Shia), and a long look at Zoroastrianism and its role in Judaism and Christianity.

It is all woven together with acute observations of how a family that spent many years in Iran, leaving in 1969, was received when they returned; their interactions with the
Jan 26, 2010 rated it it was ok
On the bright side, this book had moments that were engaging, insightful, or enlightening, but only moments. For example, I loved learning about the origin of the Sunni/Shia divide. I enjoyed the glimpses into Iranian history and culture and now have a better understanding of how much I *don't* know.

However, in general, I found the story and history difficult to follow. All the places, names, and history were so unfamiliar that it was difficult to digest in this format (without maps, time lines
Oct 23, 2011 rated it it was ok
Shelves: iran
A very romantic view on Iran. Author`s nostalgic memories of his childhood in Iran doesn`t let him describe Iran, its culture and people objectively. I would also say that his knowledge of Iran and Farsi (as far as I could see in the book) is quite shallow and based on what he heard from Iranians (which should never be considered as truth).
Ward is trying to show that Iran is not so isolated from the rest of the world and its people know Western culture pretty well, but maybe he would change his
Jul 12, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is not an easy read, another one that feels like a college reading assignment, my book club is getting a bit heavy lately. But I actually enjoyed it and learned so much. It was a big long tour of Iran with a rambling history lesson mixed in throughout. But the characters (real people) were great and what a place and history it is! I doubt I will remember many of the facts, but I caught a glimpse of the unique culture of Iran.
Jul 23, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: all Americans, esp those who love to travel or history lovers.
So at first I thought this book was just going to a memoir/travel book documenting a families return to Iran after living there three decades before and the search for a family friend, but it has a bit of Near Eastern/Iranian history and religion in it as well. It is a fascinating read and I love learning about the history of a region that I'm traveling to, either in person or through a good book such as this one. Fabulous book, I highly recommend it.
Mar 23, 2009 rated it really liked it
Terence Ward is one of the many reasons why Iranians love Americans so much. Every Iranian family has had a "Hassan" to depend on, whose mere name invokes nostalgic feelings longsince passed. It was heartwarming to follow Mr. Ward on his journey to the country he had known as a child to find the friend he remembered. If only more stories like this about Iran could be written...
Aug 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
A marvelous non-fiction book for those westerners (like me) who understand so little about Iran and its history. A wonderful exploration of the country, its people, and its pain. I particularly loved its discussion of Hafez and the great ancient city of Persepolis.
Oct 20, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
aku baca edisi Indonesianya, terbitan Rajut Publishing (2007)

Judul Buku : The Hidden Face of Iran
Judul asli : Searching for Hassan; a journey to the heart of Iran
Penulis : Terrence Ward
Penerjemah : Berliani M.Nugrahani
Penerbit : Rajut Publishing
Cetakan I, Maret 2007
Tebal : 579 hlm

Searching for Hassan, demikian judul asli buku terbitan Rajut Publishing ini. Hassan adalah pelayan rumah tangga keluarga Ward selama mereka tinggal di Iran pada tahun 1960-an. Hassan, sejenak membuat saya terkenang tok
Mahsa Jahanbakhshpour
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: iran
This book gives a real prespective about Iran
Jun 29, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Membaca buku Terrence Ward seperti mengiayakan sebuah ajakan untuk menyelami kembali masa lalu kita yang sudah terkubur di benaman memori. Tiba-tiba saja, saya seakan duduk di sebuah kursi van butut itu bersama keluarga Ward, dua orang pemandu perjalanan, dan seorang supir penantang maut. Dan bersama-sama, semuanya menyusuri jalanan negeri Iran yang berselimut padang pasir, dengan meninggalkan jejak-jejak sejarahnya di belakang kami dan sekaligus memikul beratnya sebuah harapan di hadapan kami: ...more
Feb 28, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: wind, bad, didnt-finish
Holy crap.

While technically legible, this book isn't readable. It is not just the flowery language and over dramatic sentimentality that made me stop at page 60, although that didn't help. The author takes himself too seriously and glorifies Iran, while picking and choosing what history to criticize and what to skim over. He also makes you wonder if he wrote this entire book just so other people would have to hear how wonderful and smart his family members are. It's insufferable. While comparing
Dec 12, 2007 rated it it was amazing
I'd call the book a "hard" read for the average reader, not because the language is difficult, but because it is such a rich piece of work that you simply can not rush through it. So rich, in fact, that you have to absorb bits at a time and let it sink in. This is a gorgeous recollection by Terence Ward and is about him and his 3 brothers and parents, as they return to Iran during a time when it was not so safe for travelling foreigners, to rediscover a part of their childhood and past. The Ward ...more
James Klagge
The story of a family's trip to Iran in 1998 to try to find a family who had worked for them for several years in the 1960s in Teheran. In the course of the story we learn a lot about Iranian geography, history and culture. Spoiler alert: they do find their family. The story is well-told and the Iranians are sympathetically presented.
What resonated with me was the notion of searching out and reconnecting with a time/place from the past. After working and living in Appalachian Eastern Kentucky fo
Jul 30, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Menemui Iran dengan wajah yang luar biasa! Hampir semua bayangan saya terhadap Iran nyaris jungkir balik karena cerita Terence Ward.

Peperangan dengan sejarah demi jati dan harga diri bangsa. Pertarungan budaya yang terjadi di dalam 'negara' sendiri.

Hemm... yang pasti gambaran mengenai wanita Iran yang CANTIK sulit untuk dilupakan dari dalam kepala.

Buku yang ingin kumiliki--karena saya membaca dengan cara meminjam dari kawan--tapi sepertinya tidak ada lagi di pasar Indonesia. Hiks...
Niharika Rane
Apr 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Terence Ward does a wonderful job of telling the common man's story. He effectively combines pre-Islamic history, Islam history, and Revolutionary history with the story of his family and their quest for their close friend. Not only was I able to learn about religious and political conflicts, I was also introduced to many life lessons: such as the importance of friendship. Ward also brings a twist to the cliché, don't judge a book by its cove!
Indira Iljas
Oct 18, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-east
saya selalu menyukai novel-novel asing yang bernuansa Timur Tengah. Banyak pelajarana yang bisa kita ambil dari novel-novel tersebut. The Hidden face of Iran menggambarkan betapa rasa kasih sayang, dan rasa saling mempunyai ikatan batin yang kuat tidak hanya terjadi dalam lingkungan keluarga saja, tetapi juga dapat terjalin dengan orang yang ada di sekeliling kita, termasuk pembantu rumah tanggan kita.
Jul 21, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who are interested in reading about culture and history from an everyday perspective
Recommended to Damon by: Ashley W
The author does an excellent job of showing Iran for the people not the government. Iran has an amazing history and culture. These are brought to life through stories of his growing up there in the Shah years and his visit back in the 90's. A few parts may offend those who are proud to be American, but overall it is a great look at Iran for the people.
Jen Nielsen
May 01, 2008 rated it liked it
Recommended to Jen by: Book Group
Shelves: book-group
I had a hard time getting through this book. Having said that, there are a few things that I liked about the book. I learned a lot about Iran that I didn't know before. I liked the insights into the history of Iran - why there are wars, why they believe what they do, etc. We got to see beautiful parts of Iran and it's people through the author's eyes - so different from the media.
Dini Tirtasari
gua emang suka ma segala macem tentang timur tengah dan buku ini bikin gua tau banyak tentang iran dan persia..sejarahnya, budaya dan tradisinya bahkan gambaran orang2 timur tengah... its really made me want to go there and meet another kinda of 'hasan'.. it such a great experience just to read it..
Feb 11, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a beautiful story of an American man who travels back to Iran looking for his family friend. Hassan was a little bit of everything to their family, and through the years became a part of their family. When they moved away from Iran after the fall of the Shah, they always wondered what came of Hassan and his family, so in 1998 he and his family went back to find him.
Jul 03, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, memoar
Bab-bab awal agak lambat sih, tapi setelah itu asyik dinikmati. Seru aja gitu ama keluarga Ward yang unik. Bela-belain sekeluarga pergi ke Iran, nyari orang yang dulu pernah jadi pelayan mereka. ward brhasil mendeskripsikan Iran dengan angle yang berbeda. Di satu sisi ada kelucuan-kelucuan selama keluarga ward mencari Hasan.
Jun 11, 2007 rated it liked it
I enjoyed this book a lot - I certainly learned a lot about Persian culture. Some of the history went a little over my head as the book was quite dense with it, but overall I enjoyed the book and the descriptions of Iran and the family life of the Wards and Ghasemis. Overall it was an enjoyable read.
Aug 21, 2015 rated it liked it
Better editing could have turned this enjoyable book into a best seller. I am going to Iran in October (and I met the author and his family in Berkeley in 1980). Not sure anyone without those interests/connections would enjoy it as much, although it does have a higher ranking than I gave it.
May 23, 2007 added it
Terry (Terrence Ward), describe Iran -people, culture, government, education, etc.- from a different angle. Ones you have red this book, surely you perception of Iran will change. Eventually will say "Iran is a nice country".
Jul 15, 2007 marked it as to-read
This book has been highly recommended by Iranian friends as a very accurate account of Iranian life and culture in the period of Reza Shah Pahlavi (1960s-70s) through the eyes of an expatriate American growing up in the country
Constance Chevalier
Jan 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I got so much out of this book: history, Persion tales, recipes, explanations of islam, Iran, mystics, Zoroastrianism, the Revolution on the late 70s, Ancient Persia (Anatolia). I enjoyed the family travels and their background stories.
Feb 11, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Phenomenal...This guy has the soul of a poet, and knows his Persian history. I got the other side of the Iranian revolution, which was fascinating. I LOVED this book.
Nov 02, 2015 rated it really liked it
changed my opinion of Iran for the better! It's a people to people, poignant, heartwarming chronicle.
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