Garden of the Brave in War: Recollections of Iran
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Garden of the Brave in War: Recollections of Iran

Published Date: June 30, 2014

Available in Hardcover or Paperback, and for the Kindle & iPad


8.4 x 5.5

About the Book

When Terence O’Donnell, an American who lived in Iran for fifteen years in the 1960s and 1970s, was asked what he was doing there, he replied, “The conviction of all Iranians, of most of my compatriots, and indeed of the Russians, was that I was engaged in intelligence work. I was, and what is more I filed a daily report. My employer was myself and my reports consisted of eight thousand pages of journal. This book was drawn from that material.”


For ten of those years, O’Donnell lived on a farm near Shiraz, in southern Iran, where he raised mainly pomegranates, but also quinces, grapes, chickens, and bees. He also made many Iranian friends. His memories of that time have yielded a masterpiece of national portraiture, wonderfully alive to the complexities of the Iranian character and culture — courteous, capricious, deeply religious yet also playful, generous, and poetic. A work of shimmering beauty and sensitivity, Garden of the Brave in War will deepen every reader’s understanding of the often elusive country that lies behind the headlines


The Hardcover Commemorative Edition features an introduction by Dick Davis.

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“During the ’60s, O’Donnell lived in southwestern Iran, where he ran a farm and formed close friendships with his neighbors. PW called these “enchanting glimpses of life in the countryside.”
– – From Publishers Weekly

“A book of recollections that is a work of art. A gem, could become a small classic of its kind.”
– – Wall Street Journal

“Explains more about the cultural context in which we must understand Iran than any other modern writer.”
– – New York Times


Table of Contents


  • introduction . . . . 9
  • preface. . . . 17
  • prologue . . . 21
  • the keeper of the garden. . . . 33


  • Journal I . . . .51

the hunting expedition . . . . 57

  • Journal II . . . . 91

the visit of the jester. . . . 99

  • Journal III. . . . 107

the passion play . . . . 113

  • Journal IV. . . . 131

the winter village. . . . 137

  • Journal V . . . .151

the pilgrimage . . . . 157

  • Journal VI . . . .169

the prince . . . .175

  • Journal VII . . . .215
  • the trip for wood. . . . 223
  • epilogue . . . .237

About the Author

Terence O’Donnell was born in Portland, Oregon in 1924. In addition to farming during his years in Iran, he received three Fulbright lectureships at Iranian universities. In 1972 he returned to Portland and became active in the Oregon Historical Society. He is the author of several books about Oregon.


Mage published his memoir Garden of the Brave in War: Recollections of Iran and Seven Shades of Memory, a collection of short fiction about Iran. Terence O’Donnell died in March 2001.


Dick Davis is Professor of Persian at Ohio State University, and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. He lived in Iran for eight years, from 1970 to 1978.

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