Jean Sasson

Jean Sasson

Jean Sasson is a voracious reader. Almost as soon as she knew the alphabet she read everything she could—even at family meals her mind was in a book.

Jean grew up in a small town in Alabama.  By the beginning of her teens had read every book in the school library. At fourteen she started her book collection when she bought her first book, The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shireran unusual choice for a young girl from the Deep South. She wanted a good read and she wanted value for money, so she searched the bookshop and bought the book with the most pages.

At school Mrs. Sam Jackson, her beloved literature teacher, soon noticed Jean’s preoccupation and took it upon herself to make weekly trips to a nearby college library to exchange a selection of books to satisfy Jean’s reading needs.

And today? When not absorbed in writing or the business of being a celebrated author, she reads and reads, maybe a book a day—literary success has enabled her to buy many books; no longer selected by the number of pages.

Her literary tastes are widely varied, and she has a long list of favorites. Heading that list is Sir Winston Churchill, the prolific writer and leader of Britain in the dark years of World War II. Other historic figures, like Napoleon Bonaparte and T.E. Lawrence ("Lawrence of Arabia"), satisfy her two literary loves, history and travel.

The works of Gertrude Bell, Freya Stark and Sir Richard Burton opened her mind’s eye to the fascinations and mysteries of the Middle East . . . and those first musings led to her writing success.

No longer content to simply read about this magical part of the world, Jean, armed with hospital administrative skills in addition to her literary thirst, sought and found the ideal opportunity to gain first-hand knowledge—knowledge of that closed and mysterious land, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

In 1978 she was selected to work at the most prestigious royal hospital in the Middle East, The King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in the Saudi capital Riyadh. There her talents blossomed. She became the Administrative Coordinator of Medical Affairs and personal assistant to the hospital medical and executive director, Dr. Nizar Feteih. Through him she was introduced to various Saudi royals, including King Khalid and his Crown Prince Fah’d, who succeeded as King on Khalid’s death in 1982. In 1983, a close friendship between Jean and another royal, Princess Sultana, was forged and years later, based on that friendship, Jean was able to write her widely acclaimed Princess Trilogy.

Jean worked for four years at the King Faisal Hospital and during that time met the man she was to marry, Peter Sasson, an international man who came from an unusual background. Peter Sasson was a British citizen born in Egypt to a British/Italian father and Yugoslav mother.  Although the couple later divorced, they remained devoted friends until Peter’s death in 2014.

Jean lived in Saudi Arabia for twelve years.  During those years she dedicated herself to activities that would form the bedrock of her career as a writer when she returned to America. She met and made friends with Arab women from the Middle East before leaving Riyadh in 1992.

She was a freelance writer in war-torn Lebanon and in Kuwait before and after the First Gulf War. After living and traveling in the Middle East for so many years, she felt a special affection for the people of the region.  After Saddam Hussein’s army invaded the country of Kuwait, Jean became concerned with the fate of the innocent Kuwaitis who were victims of the invaders.  Her concern drove her to contact the Kuwaiti Ambassador to the United States, Sheik Saud Nasir Al-Sabah, requesting his advice on traveling to areas housing Kuwaiti refugees. 

Armed with a letter of introduction from the Kuwaiti Ambassador, Jean returned to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia where she conducted interviews with Kuwaitis. While in Riyadh, Kuwait’s Minister of Information invited her to fly to Taif, Saudi Arabia, where the Kuwaiti royals had formed a government in exile in that Saudi mountain village.  There she interviewed the Emir and the Crown Prince of Kuwait, among other high ranking Kuwaiti officials. 

After leaving Saudi Arabia, Jean traveled to Cairo, Egypt and then to London, meeting many dozens of Kuwaiti citizens living in exile.  Jean used the invaluable material she gathered about Kuwaitis on the day of the Iraqi invasion, to write her bestselling book, The Rape of Kuwait..

The book sold over a million copies in one month, proving to the world that ordinary people truly cared about the small country and its people.  In fact, Jean Sasson was the first and only author to write about the innocent Kuwaitis who were caught in the cruel grip of the Iraqi invasion. 

Her devotion to the cause of Kuwait won her an invitation to return to Kuwait on the Kuwaiti government sponsored “FREEDOM FLIGHT.”  Staying a month in the ravaged country, she joined joyful Kuwaitis celebrating their hard-won freedom, even as she mourned with the Kuwaitis who had lost loved ones.  Never forgetting what she had seen, over the years she continued her writings and concern about the missing Kuwaitis lost to the Iraqi prison system, despite the many efforts made by Kuwaiti royals as well as ordinary Kuwaiti citizens to gain their freedom.

Her affection for the people of the Middle East continued, taking her to unusual stories that other writers and journalists missed.  In 1998 she requested an invitation from Saddam Hussein to visit Iraq. Although she was the author of the book that had greatly displeased Saddam (The Rape of Kuwait) she received a personal invite from the Iraqi dictator.  Traveling to Iraq alone and without protection,  she saw for herself the privations being suffered by those most vulnerable… the women and children; deprivations at the hands of Saddam Hussein.  Her bestselling book, Mayada, Daughter of Iraq was a result of that trip.

After her writing career was launched, with customary zeal, Jean set off once again. With just her notes, computer and memories she shut herself in her house in Atlanta, Georgia and wrote book after book. One of the most successful was the Princess Trilogy, a series of books about her friend, Princess Sultana al-Sa’ud, which was named as one of the most important books written in the past eight-hundred years by a woman. 

Jean’s books have won a number of awards.  The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Foundation, an organization in Dubai which promotes and recognizes cross-cultural understanding, chose Jean’s critically acclaimed book Ester’s Child as a book that best promotes world peace.

Jean returned to the topic of the Iraqi invasion and occupation of Kuwait with her most recent book, Yasmeena’s Choice:  A True Story of war, rape, courage and survival, telling the painful story of a Lebanese visitor to Kuwait who was trapped in the country after the invasion.  The woman was kidnapped and held in a special prison housing innocent women to be brutally raped.  

Other Books by Jean Sasson

With a solid background of first-hand experience and years of travel, research and writing, Jean Sasson has become a Middle Eastern expert.  She has made many appearances on national and international television programs as well as having been featured in many international newspaper and magazine articles.  She has a huge following of readers from countries all over the world, which is confirmed by the number of her readers and her enormous social media internet following. 

Now a world of readers have eagerly embraced Jean’s latest book.  That book, Princess:  More Tears to Cry, is the fourth in the series of books about the world’s most beloved princess, Princess Sultana.  With the entire Middle East in upheaval, readers are pleading for an additional update from Princess Sultana.  Jean and the princess are working together for the 5th book, titled Princess, Secrets to Share, which will be released in the fall of 2015.    

Jean is also working on her long-awaited memoir which reveal her many personal and compelling adventures in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Kuwait and Iraq.  

Books by Jean Sasson



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