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A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind
Synopses & Reviews
Iran is a land of contradictions. It is an Islamic republic, but one in which only 1.4 percent of the population attend Friday prayers. Iran’s religious culture encompasses the most censorious and dogmatic Shi’a Muslim clerics in the world, and yet its poetry insistently dwells on the joys of life-wine, beauty, sex. Iranian women are subject to one of the most restrictive dress codes in the Islamic world, but make up nearly 60 percent of the university student population. In A History of Iran, a leading expert on Iran chronicles the rich history of this complex nation from the Achaemenid Empire of sixth century B.C. to the present-day Islamic Republic. In accessible prose, Michael Axworthy explains the military, political, religious, and cultural forces that have shaped one of the oldest continuing civilizations in the world. Concluding with an assessment of the immense changes the nation has undergone since the revolution in 1979, A History of Iran offers general readers an essential point of entry into a troubled region.
Book News Annotation:
Axworthy (Arab and Islamic studies, U. of Exeter) begins by pointing out that Persia--with its roses, flirtatious women, carpets, poetry and music--and Iran-- with its frowning mullahs, oil, veiled woman, chanting mobs--are the same place filtered through different Western prejudices. The history itself starts with Zoroaster and the Achaemids, and climbs through political, military, religious, economic, and social matters to the present conflict with the US administration. Annotation ©2008 Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
A leading expert chronicles the rich history of this complex nation, offeringgeneral readers an essential point of entry into a troubled region.
A comprehensive history of Iran, from the glories of the Persian Empire to the Islamic Republic’s newly powerful-and much vilified-role in the Middle East
About the Author
Michael Axworthy is Honorary Fellow at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter in England. From 1986 to 2000, he served as a British Foreign Service officer; from 1998 to 2000 he was the Head of Iran Section of the Foreign and Commonwealth Office. The author of The Sword of Persia, a biography of the Persian monarch Nadir Shah, Axworthy publishes widely in the field of Iranian history. He lives in Bude, England.
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