Jean Sasson

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Jean P. Sasson
BornTroy, Alabama, United States
Notable worksPrincess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia

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


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]


The Rape of Kuwait[edit]

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

Sasson had lived in the Middle East and had visited Kuwait a number of times. After the Iraqi army invaded Kuwait, Sasson wanted to know what had happened to the innocent civilians. She flew to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, London and Washington, DC to interview Kuwaitis who had fled Kuwait on the day of the invasion. These interviews were the basis for The Rape of Kuwait, which reached the New York Times bestseller list the first week of publication. Later when Sasson saw a television interview with American and British soldiers set to be deployed to war to free Kuwait, she heard several of the soldiers say that they did not know the reasons they were fighting for Kuwait. When Sasson heard those words, she contacted the Kuwaiti Ambassador to Washington and told him her concerns about so many soldiers being unaware of the atrocities being committed against Kuwaitis. She told the Ambassador that she only wished all those soldiers could have been with her during the interviews and then they would know why they were fighting. Sasson says she was surprised when the Ambassador asked for her publisher's name and phone number and that she discovered later that he called the publisher and purchased 200,000 copies of her book and had them shipped to the soldiers who were based in Saudi Arabia, waiting to be deployed. Sason later met some of those soldiers when she returned to Kuwait on the FREEDOM FLIGHT and all told her that after reading the personal accounts of Kuwaitis and others in Kuwait on the day of the invasion, that the book made them realize the importance of freeing Kuwait. [5]

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)[6]

Princess: A True Story of Life Behind the Veil in Saudi Arabia, her second book, chronicles the life of Sultana, a purported Saudi princess.[7] It is a true story, detailing gender inequalities experienced by Saudi Arabian women. The identity of Sultana (a pseudonym) is concealed to assure her safety.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.

  • Princess Sultana's Daughters

ISBN 978-0967673752 – Windsor-Brooke Books, LLC; 1 edition (March 1, 2001)[8]

UK Title: Daughters of Arabia (ISBN 978-0553816938, Bantam, new ed 2004)[9]

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.[10]

  • Princess Sultana's Circle

ISBN 978-0967673769 – Windsor-Brooke Books, LLC (May 1, 2002)''[11]

UK title: Desert Royal (ISBN 978-0553816945,Bantam, New ed 2004)[9]

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.[12]

Ester's Child[edit]

ISBN 0967673739 - Windsor-Brooke Books, LLC (September 1, 2001)[13]

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)[14]

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.[15]

Love in a Torn Land[edit]

ISBN 978-0470067291 – Wiley (March 5, 2007)[16]

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.[17]

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.[18]

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

ISBN 0553820206 - Bantam (February 1, 2011)[19]

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.[20]

Princess, More Tears to Cry[edit]

ISBN 0857522426 - Transworld Doubleday UK publisher (August 28, 2014) Princess, More Tears to Cry is the fourth in the Princess Sultana series about the world's most beloved Saudi princess, Princess Sultana. The princess has been an outspoken advocate for change among women of Saudi Arabia and all over the world. This fourth in the series focuses on Princess Sultana, her family, and ten Saudi women who are creating change in Saudi Arabia. It will be available as a hard-cover and all e-books formats including Kindle in the US and UK, and published in many other countries worldwide. [21][22]

Awards and honors[edit]

Other works[edit]

  • American Chick in Saudi Arabia (Kindle Edition only, not a full book)[29]


  1. ^ "birthday". Retrieved April 15, 2014.
  2. ^ McDowell, Edwin (January 9, 1991). "Book Notes". New York Times. Retrieved December 8, 2009.
  3. ^ "About Jean". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  4. ^ Sasson, Jean P. (1991). "Rape of Kuwait". ISBN 1561291935.
  5. ^
  6. ^ "Princess". ISBN 0967673747.
  7. ^ MacKey, Sandra (September 7, 1992). "The Real Saudi Woman?". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 7, 2009.
  8. ^ Sasson, Jean P. (2001). "Princess Sultana's Daughters". ISBN 0967673755.
  9. ^ a b More about the author. ASIN 0553816934.
  10. ^ "Princess Sultana's Daughters". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  11. ^ Sasson, Jean P. (2002). "Princess Sultanas Circle". ISBN 0967673763.
  12. ^ "Princess Sultana's Circle". Archived from the original on July 13, 2011. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  13. ^ Sasson, Jean P. (2001). "Ester's Child". ISBN 0967673739.
  14. ^ Sasson, Jean P. (2004). "Mayada". ISBN 0451212924.
  15. ^ Sasson, Jean P. (2003). "Mayada Daughter of Iraq – Publishers Weekly Review". ISBN 0525948112.
  16. ^ Sasson, Jean (March 5, 2007). "Love in a Torn Land". ISBN 978-0470067291.
  17. ^ Sasson, Jean (March 5, 2007). "Love in a Torn Land – Booklist Review". ISBN 978-0470067291.
  18. ^ "Growing Up bin Laden". Archived from the original on October 18, 2018. Retrieved February 2, 2011.
  19. ^ Sasson, Jean (2011). "For the Love of a Son". ISBN 978-0553820201.
  20. ^ Sasson, Jean P. (2013). "Yasmeena's Choice Booklist Review". ISBN 978-1939481146.
  21. ^ "Princess, More Tears to Cry Booklist Review". Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  22. ^ Sasson, Jean (2014). "Princess, More Tears to Cry Booklist Review". ISBN 978-0857522429.
  23. ^ "500 Great Books by Women". Archived from the original on August 14, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  24. ^ "New York Times Best Seller List". Archived from the original on June 19, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  25. ^ "Sunday Times Best Seller List". Archived from the original on June 18, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  26. ^ "Alternate Selection of the Literary Guild Doubleday Book Club". Archived from the original on August 14, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  27. ^ "A Reader's Digest Selection". Archived from the original on August 14, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  28. ^ "Princess Bestseller in over 25 countries". Archived from the original on August 14, 2015. Retrieved April 13, 2014.
  29. ^ "American Chick in Saudi Arabia". Retrieved April 12, 2014.

External links[edit]