Jean Sasson

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Jean P. Sasson
Born Troy, Alabama, United States
Occupation Author
Nationality American
Period 1991-present
Genres Non-fiction
Notable work(s) Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia

www.jeansasson.com

Jean P. Sasson (born 1950,[1]Troy, Alabama, United States) ("Sasson" is Hebrew for "happiness") is an American writer whose work mainly centers around women in the Middle East.

Biography[edit]

Growing up in a small town, Sasson found adventure between the pages of books. Her strong desire to uproot herself from her rural surroundings led her to jump at the opportunity to work and travel abroad. In 1978 she traveled to Saudi Arabia to work in the King Faisal Specialist Hospital in Riyadh as an administrative coordinator of medical affairs.,[2] where she met Peter Sasson, her future husband. They married in 1982 and Sasson left the hospital after four years of service, but the couple remained in Saudi Arabia until 1990.

During their time in the Middle East, the Sassons made many friends, including members of the royal Al-Saud family, who visited the hospital. The most notable of these friendships was between Sasson and "Princess Sultana", the princess about whose life The Princess Trilogy tells.

Sasson is currently based in Atlanta, Georgia.[3]

Works[edit]

The Rape of Kuwait[edit]

ISBN 978-1561291939 – Knightsbridge Pub. Co.; 1st edition (January 1991)[4]

Sasson's first book, The Rape of Kuwait about the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait, was published in 1991. It was based on interviews she conducted with Kuwaitis who had fled to Cairo, Saudi Arabia, London and Washington, D.C.[5] The book was published before the war broke out. Advertisements in the major newspapers and on network television featured the book with the accompanying tag line: "Read it and you'll know why we're there".[6] The Kuwaiti Embassy in Washington paid to send 200,000 copies of it to American troops in the Persian Gulf.[7][8][9]

The Princess Trilogy[edit]

  • Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia

ISBN 978-0967673745 – Windsor-Brooke Books, LLC (March 1, 2001)[10]

Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, her second book, chronicles the life of Sultana, a purported Saudi princess.[11] It claims to be a true story, detailing gender inequalities experienced by Saudi Arabian women. The identity of Sultana (a pseudonym) is concealed to assure her safety.[11] The book remained on the New York Times Best Seller list for 13 weeks. In 1995, a lawsuit was brought against the author of the book alleging plagiarism.[12] The lawsuit was later dismissed.[13] The court held that the plaintiff's claim was "objectively unreasonable" and directed her to pay the defendants' legal fees.[14]

  • Princess Sultana's Daughters

ISBN 978-0967673752 – Windsor-Brooke Books, LLC; 1 edition (March 1, 2001)[15]

As second-generation members of the royal family who have benefited from Saudi oil wealth, Maha and Amani are surrounded by untold opulence and luxury from the day they were born and which they take for granted. In Princess Sultana's Daughters, Sasson exposes the stifling and unbearably restrictive lifestyle imposed on these women. They have reacted in equally desperate ways. Their stories are set against traditional Saudi Arabian culture and social mores.[16]

  • Princess Sultana's Circle

ISBN 978-0967673769 – Windsor-Brooke Books, LLC (May 1, 2002)''[17]

When Sultana's niece is forced into an arranged marriage with a cruel, depraved older man and a royal cousin's secret harem of sex slaves is revealed, Sultana's attempts at intervention in their various plights are thwarted. But when her nephews are caught committing an unspeakable act against a 12-year-old girl, Sultana is galvanized into action. Risking her personal status and wealth, she takes a stand against the complacency of her male relatives over the child's fate. Ultimately, in Princess Sultana's Circle, Sultana and her sisters vow to form a circle of support that will surround and shelter abused women and girls.[18]

Ester's Child[edit]

ISBN 0967673739 - Windsor-Brooke Books, LLC (September 1, 2001)[19]

This is a historical fiction book based in the Middle East, about two families; one Palestinian and the other Jewish. The story details how both families were affected by devastating tragedy and adversity, as well as how they overcame it.

Mayada: Daughter of Iraq[edit]

ISBN 978-0525948117 – Dutton Adult; First Edition (October 16, 2003)[20]

When Mayada Al-Askari was assigned to be Jean Sasson's translator in 1998, during a trip to Baghdad, she could never have imagined where her friendship with this prominent Iraqi woman would take her. The two women kept in contact until, in 1999, Mayada was arrested by Saddam Hussein's secret police. Allegations that Mayada had been producing anti-regime pamphlets were brought forth, and she was confined in Iraq's brutal Baladiyat Prison for over a month, fated to visit the torture rooms and wait crowded cells. In cell 52, Myada was imprisoned with 17 other "shadow women" whose lives had similarly been interrupted with false allegations and hardships. Sasson tells their stories.[21]

Love in a Torn Land[edit]

ISBN 978-0470067291 – Wiley (March 5, 2007)[22]

In this true love story, Sasson focuses on the life of a Kurdish woman living in Iraq and the broader story of ethnic tensions between the Kurds, Iraqis, Turks, Iranians, and Syrians. Joanna Al-Askari Hussain marries a freedom-fighter, and makes his fight her own, persevering through genocide campaigns, deaths of friends, and missile attacks that cause the sky to rain down the bodies of dead birds.[23]

Growing Up bin Laden[edit]

Najwa bin Laden, who married her cousin Osama bin Laden at the age of 15, is his first wife and the mother to eleven children, seven of Osama's sons and four of his daughters. Omar bin Laden is the fourth son of Osama bin Laden. Najwa and Omar narrate details about the drama, tensions, and everyday activities of the man they knew as a husband and father. Until Omar and his mother approached Sasson, no other writer or journalist had access to this type of personal information.

Growing Up bin Laden is a book based on interviews with the wife and son of Osama bin Laden.[12]

For the Love of a Son: One Afghan Woman's Quest for Her Stolen Child[edit]

ISBN 0553820206 - Bantam (February 1, 2011)[24]

This tells the story of Maryam Khail, a woman from Afghanistan that had her son kidnapped from her by her husband. The book follows her journey as she searches for her son for many years.

Yasmeena's Choice: A True Story of War, Rape, Courage and Survival[edit]

ISBN 1939481147 - LDA (October 3, 2013) Yasmeena's Choice is the true story of Yasmeena, a Lebanese stewardess that was trapped in Kuwait during the Gulf War in 1990 with Iraq. Yasmeena's subsequent capture, imprisonment and repeated rape is detailed in the book. This is somewhat of a follow-up to Jean Sasson's first book The Rape of Kuwait.[25]

Awards and honors[edit]

  • Princess was selected as one of the best "500 Great Books by Women" [26]
  • Princess - chosen as an Alternate Selection of the Literary Guild Doubleday Book Club [29]
  • Princess was a Bestseller in over 25 countries around the world [31]

Controversy[edit]

There has been some controversy regarding works of this author, though ultimately the plagiarism suit filed by Friederike Monika Adsani was dismissed in court by Southern District Judge Denise Cote in 1996.[32] Adsani's claims were declared immaterial, resulting in the district judge's decision to order Adsani to cover Sasson's attorney's fees.[33] Adsani appealed the case in 1997, though Circuit Judges Oakes and Parker and District Judge Nickerson "affirm[ed] the order of the district court requiring Adsani to post a bond of $35,000" to cover Sasson's legal expenses.

In 2003, Sasson published her book Mayada.

Other works[edit]

  • American Chick in Saudi Arabia (Kindle Edition only, not a full book)[34]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "birthday". Retrieved 2014-04-15. 
  2. ^ McDowell, Edwin (January 9, 1991). "Book Notes". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  3. ^ "About Jean". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  4. ^ "Rape of Kuwait". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  5. ^ Cox, James (April 4, 1991). "Author defends her tale of Kuwait". USA TODAY. Retrieved 2009-12-08. 
  6. ^ "THE FIRST CASUALTY". Boston Globe. January 18, 1991. Retrieved December 7, 2009. 
  7. ^ John MacArthur. Second front: censorship and propaganda in the 1991 Gulf War. University of California Press. p. 258. ISBN 0-520-24231-9. 
  8. ^ McDowell, Edwin (January 18, 1991). "Sales of Mideast Books Surge on News of War". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  9. ^ Lee, Gary (January 17, 1991). "Rape of Kuwait' Book, Ad Campaign Try to Make Case for Military Force;Major Lobbying Effort Underway by Supporters of Bush Policy". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  10. ^ "Princess". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  11. ^ a b MacKey, Sandra (September 7, 1992). "The Real Saudi Woman?". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  12. ^ a b Van Gelder, Lawrence (January 10, 1995). "Plagiarism Suit on Parallel Tales of Arab Wives". New York Times. Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
  13. ^ "FindLaw". Retrieved 2009-12-07. 
  14. ^ Adsani v. Miller, 139 F.3d 67 at 70 (United States Court of Appeals, Second Circuit, 1998)
  15. ^ "Princess Sultanas Daughters". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  16. ^ "Princess Sultana's Daughters". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  17. ^ "Princess Sultanas Circle". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  18. ^ "Princess Sultana's Circle". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  19. ^ "Ester's Child". Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  20. ^ "Mayada". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  21. ^ "Mayada Daughter of Iraq – Publishers Weekly Review". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  22. ^ "Love in a Torn Land". Retrieved 2011-03-02. 
  23. ^ "Love in a Torn Land – Booklist Review". Retrieved 2011-02-02. 
  24. ^ "For the Love of a Son". Retrieved 2014-04-12. 
  25. ^ "Yasmeena's Choice Booklist Review". Retrieved 2013-11-07. 
  26. ^ "500 Great Books by Women". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  27. ^ "New York Times Best Seller List". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  28. ^ "Sunday Times Best Seller List". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  29. ^ "Alternate Selection of the Literary Guild Doubleday Book Club". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  30. ^ "A Reader's Digest Selection". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  31. ^ "Princess Bestseller in over 25 countries". Retrieved 2014-04-13. 
  32. ^ "Justia US Law". Law.justia.com. Retrieved 2013-11-08. 
  33. ^ [1]
  34. ^ "American Chick in Saudi Arabia". Retrieved 2014-04-12. 

External links[edit]