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. He has vanished. As they set out on this improbable odyssey, all they have is a small black-and-white photograph taken decades before.
Crossing the vast landscape of ancient Persia, Ward recounts its incredibly rich past while exploring modern Iran’s deep conflicts with its Arab neighbors and our current administration. The story puts a human face on the Iranian people with this inspirational quest of an American family who came to love and admire the extraordinary culture of Iran. The journey answers the question “How far would you go for a friend?”

Talk at the Metropolitan Club, San Francisco, May 15, 2020

A beautiful, heartwarming tale about a friendship that transcends cultural divides. This is precisely the story we need right now.

Reza Aslan, God: A Human History

As an admirer of Iranian culture, I have taken immense pleasure reading this beautifully written tale of love and hope and nostalgia. Thank you for this journey into the soul of a great people and removing the pest of the ayatollahs. Bless you for having given us this book.

Dominique Lapierre, Freedom at Midnight

Ward describes a more intricate image of a nation caught in a tug of war with itself…he shows the country in all its complexity. Most Westerners would hardly recognize it.

Los Angeles Times

By revealing the humanity of a culture the West finds so threatening, Ward allows even the most bigoted among us to see past the exotic names, the political clashes and the cultural differences, to the deeper values that all cultures share: family, history and respect.

Birmingham Weekly

Searching for Hassan should be required reading for US foreign policy makers.


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, TIME

In Ward’s telling, the journey becomes a search not just for Hassan but on discovering how much of the old, aesthetic Persia remains beneath the surface of the new, ascetic Iran.

Adam Goodheart, The New York Times Book Review

A nostalgic harrowing pilgrimage.

The New Yorker

Video at 7th Annual International Tour Guides Conference, Kerman, Iran

PBS Interview with Charlie Rose

Searching for Hassan
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