25 Books to Read Before You Die
 
 

Recently Viewed clear list


The Powell's Playlist | August 8, 2014

Peter Mendelsund: IMG The Powell's Playlist: Water Music by Peter Mendelsund



We "see" when we read, and we "see" when we listen. There are many ways in which music can create the cross-sensory experience of this seeing...... Continue »
  1. $11.87 Sale Trade Paper add to wish list

spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$13.95
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Local Warehouse Middle East- Iran and Persia

We Heard the Heavens Then: A Memoir of Iran

by

We Heard the Heavens Then: A Memoir of Iran Cover

ISBN13: 9781451652185
ISBN10: 1451652186
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $13.95!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

ARIA MINU-SEPEHR was raised in a sheltered world of extraordinary privilege as the son of a major general in the Shahs Imperial Iranian Air Force. It seemed his father could do anything—lead the Golden Crowns in death-defying aerobatic maneuvers; command an air force unit using top American technology; commission a lake to be built on a desert military base, for waterskiing. When Aria was eight, "Baba" built him a dune buggy so he could explore the desert; by ten, the boy handled the controls of a Beechcraft Bonanza while his father napped in the copilots seat. Aria moved easily between the two distinct worlds that existed under his family's roof—a division that mirrored the nations own deep and brooding divide. He was as comfortable at the lavish cocktail parties his parents threw for Iran's elite as he was running amok in the kitchen where his beloved nanny grumbled about the whiskey drinking, French ham, and miniskirts.

The 1970s were the end result of half a century of Westernization in Iran, and Aria's father was the man of the hour. But when the Shah was overthrown and the Ayatollah rose to power in 1979, Aria's idyllic life skidded to a halt. Days spent practicing calligraphy in his fathers embrace, lovingly torturing his nanny, and watching Sesame Street after school were suddenly infused with fears that the militia would invade his home, that he himself could be kidnapped, or that he would have to fire a gun to save Baba's life. As the surreal began to invade the mundane, with family friends disappearing every day and resources growing scarce, Aria found himself torn between being the man of the house and being a much needed source of comic relief. His antics shone a bright light for his family, showing them how to escape, if only momentarily, the grief and horror that a vengeful revolution brought into their lives.

We Heard the Heavens Then is a deeply moving story told from two vantage points: a boy growing up faster than any child should, observing and recoiling in the moment, and the adult who is dedicated to a measured assessment of the events that shaped him. In this tightly focused memoir, Aria Minu- Sepehr takes us back through his explosive youth, into the heart of the revolution when a boys hero, held up as the nations pride, became a hunted man.

Review:

"Today it hard to think of Iran as a country allied with the U.S., and open to the possibilities of free commerce and Western culture. But that's the world Minu-Sepehr grew up in. As the son of a general in the Iranian Air Force, his was a life of privilege while Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was in power. In this enlightening memoir, Minu-Sepehr show how as unrest among the population grew and revolution ushered in the era of Ayotollah Khomeini and 'Faith, jihad, martyrdom,' his world is forever altered. While Minu-Sepehr is boy enough to be upset that Little House on the Prairie was the 'one ancien regime program the revolution hadn't axed,' even then he saw the disconnect between America and Persian culture that remains to this day. But even as this is Minu-Sepehr's story, the star is his father, Baba, brought to life by the author as a man caught in the middle of his past and tumultuous present, while simultaneously trying to ensure his family's future. Written with the honesty and humor representative of childhood mixed with the longing and acceptance of an adult separated from his homeland, this memoir offers an insider's perspective on a country and a people that often remains a mystery to Western people." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

Review:

"Aria Minu-Sepehr's memoir about growing up in Iran before the fall of the Shah is an exquisitely told tale brimming with sensuality, humor, and humanity. Minu-Spehr vividly captures the intense yearning and bewilderment of childhood as he, like a modern-day Shahrazad, unravels a rich and unforgettable tapestry of true-life stories set in a country on the verge of revolution. Something to Declare is a son's eloquent tribute to his father and to the beloved country he had to leave behind." Mira Bartok, author of New York Times bestselling The Memory Palace

Review:

"Something to Declare is an extraordinary story of a child who sees his Paradise turn into Hell, an exhilarating work that reveals the delusions of Shah's regime about modernity and exposes the terrifying nature of the turbaned beards’ dogma. An intelligent, witty, honest and hilariously funny, but also heartbreaking memoir. A remarkable book written by a brilliant writer. A great read." Fadhil al-Azzawi, author of The Last of the Angels

Review:

"There are photographs that define a nation in a particular time. In his down-to-earth childhood memoir of Iran just before, during and after the revolution, Minu-Sepehr catches precisely the pulse of a country as it appears to hurl itself headlong into the abyss. And, especially, in the sympathetic portrayal of the author's father, an Air Force General and jet fighter ace, we get a soaring view of what every Iranian has often imagined - of what might have been and wasn't." Salar Abdoh, author of The Poet Game and Opium

Review:

"[A] Mournfully lyrical account of an evanescent privileged childhood on the eve of the Iranian Revolution....In this beautifully composed memoir of a vanished time, the author... reconstructs the increasingly fraught last days before his family was forced to flee their homeland, finding refuge in London and then America." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Written with the honesty and humor representative of childhood mixed with the longing and acceptance of an adult separated from his homeland, this memoir offers an insider's perspective on a country...that often remains a mystery to Western people." Publisher's Weekly

Synopsis:

A story of an extraordinary father/son relationship imperiled by a nation's ominous and drastically changing political climate, We Heard the Heavens Then is a piercing look at revolution through the wide-open eyes of a child.

Aria Minu-Sepehr was raised in a sheltered world of extraordinary privilege, the son of a high-ranking general in the Shah's Imperial Iranian Air Force. But when King Reza Kahn was overthrown and the Ayatollah rose to power in 1979, Aria's privileged boyhood skidded to a halt. His life became a terrifying waiting game—waiting to see if soldiers would invade his home, waiting to see if his family would have to flee, waiting to find out if his father would come home alive each night. Aria's childhood worries about school exams and making mischief at home were quickly replaced by the terror that his father could be publicly assassinated, that he himself could be kidnapped, and the very real possibility that the family would not be allowed to leave the country alive.

We Heard the Heavens Then is an exceptional memoir about the clash of modernity and religion in Iran, as seen through the eyes of a boy with unusual access to both two sides. Exquisitely drawn from childhood and enhanced by his adult perspective, We Heard the Heavens Then is Aria Minu-Sepehr's unforgettable account of coming of age in a nation as it slipped away.

About the Author

Aria Minu-Sepehr moved with his family to the United States following the fall of the shah of Iran in 1979. He is an adjunct professor of English, founder of Forum for Middle East Awareness, and a public lecturer in fields related to Iran and the Middle East. He lives in Oregon with his wife and two daughters.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

Ron Beasley, April 3, 2012 (view all comments by Ron Beasley)
We Heard The Heavens Then by Aria Minu-Sepher is the story of the last few years of Shah’s Iranian monarchy and the revolution that brought it down as seen through the eyes of a young boy who's father was a powerful general in the Shah's air force. The author has had decades in the United States to think about what happened and presents us with a measured and fair account of social-political reality that led up to the revolution.

There are several characters in this story both family members and others. Aria Minu-Sepher grew up in a privileged world. As we might say now he was part of the one percent. His mother is mentioned but it is rarely a flattering picture. She was proud of the fact she was part of the aristocracy. His father, “Baba,” plays a key part in the narrative. A very competent pilot and General who adores his son and attempts to mold his son in his own image. In a way this book is a tribute to his father. The rest of the authors extended family represent an eclectic mix of Iranian society. The household staff also plays a part but none more than the housekeeper “Bubbi.” She is a very conservative Muslim, a classic member of the Iranian 99%. She is offended by Western influence. She objects to serving wine, shrimp and ham. She objects to automobiles and thinks the F14 fighters the General commands are straight from the devil. We get the impression that she represents a lot of the 99%.

The author paints a picture of an Iran that is not just divided along 1% - 99% line but also on a secular �" pious line, but there is a great deal of overlap. Much of Iran was not enjoying the miracles from the west but they didn't want to. I think that we can see some of the problems we are having in Afghanistan �" a majority who simply don't want to be forced into a secular world.

Normally this subject matter would be rather dry but this book is an enjoyable and easy read because it is made up primarily of personal anecdotes. I highly recommend this book.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No

Product Details

ISBN:
9781451652185
Subtitle:
A Memoir of Iran
Author:
Minu-Sepehr, Aria
Author:
Minu-Sepehr, Aria
Publisher:
Free Press
Subject:
Biography-Literary
Subject:
Biography - General
Edition Description:
Hardback
Publication Date:
20120410
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
9 x 6 in

Other books you might like

  1. Agony & the Ecstasy a Biographical... Used Mass Market $3.50
  2. Ivanhoe (Penguin Classics) Used Trade Paper $5.95

Related Subjects


Biography » General
Biography » Literary
Featured Titles » Arts
Featured Titles » Biography
Featured Titles » General
Featured Titles » History and Social Science
Featured Titles » New Arrivals
History and Social Science » Middle East » General History
History and Social Science » Middle East » Iran and Persia
History and Social Science » World History » Middle East
We Heard the Heavens Then: A Memoir of Iran Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$13.95 In Stock
Product details 256 pages Free Press - English 9781451652185 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Today it hard to think of Iran as a country allied with the U.S., and open to the possibilities of free commerce and Western culture. But that's the world Minu-Sepehr grew up in. As the son of a general in the Iranian Air Force, his was a life of privilege while Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi was in power. In this enlightening memoir, Minu-Sepehr show how as unrest among the population grew and revolution ushered in the era of Ayotollah Khomeini and 'Faith, jihad, martyrdom,' his world is forever altered. While Minu-Sepehr is boy enough to be upset that Little House on the Prairie was the 'one ancien regime program the revolution hadn't axed,' even then he saw the disconnect between America and Persian culture that remains to this day. But even as this is Minu-Sepehr's story, the star is his father, Baba, brought to life by the author as a man caught in the middle of his past and tumultuous present, while simultaneously trying to ensure his family's future. Written with the honesty and humor representative of childhood mixed with the longing and acceptance of an adult separated from his homeland, this memoir offers an insider's perspective on a country and a people that often remains a mystery to Western people." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"Review" by , "Aria Minu-Sepehr's memoir about growing up in Iran before the fall of the Shah is an exquisitely told tale brimming with sensuality, humor, and humanity. Minu-Spehr vividly captures the intense yearning and bewilderment of childhood as he, like a modern-day Shahrazad, unravels a rich and unforgettable tapestry of true-life stories set in a country on the verge of revolution. Something to Declare is a son's eloquent tribute to his father and to the beloved country he had to leave behind."
"Review" by , "Something to Declare is an extraordinary story of a child who sees his Paradise turn into Hell, an exhilarating work that reveals the delusions of Shah's regime about modernity and exposes the terrifying nature of the turbaned beards’ dogma. An intelligent, witty, honest and hilariously funny, but also heartbreaking memoir. A remarkable book written by a brilliant writer. A great read."
"Review" by , "There are photographs that define a nation in a particular time. In his down-to-earth childhood memoir of Iran just before, during and after the revolution, Minu-Sepehr catches precisely the pulse of a country as it appears to hurl itself headlong into the abyss. And, especially, in the sympathetic portrayal of the author's father, an Air Force General and jet fighter ace, we get a soaring view of what every Iranian has often imagined - of what might have been and wasn't."
"Review" by , "[A] Mournfully lyrical account of an evanescent privileged childhood on the eve of the Iranian Revolution....In this beautifully composed memoir of a vanished time, the author... reconstructs the increasingly fraught last days before his family was forced to flee their homeland, finding refuge in London and then America."
"Review" by , "Written with the honesty and humor representative of childhood mixed with the longing and acceptance of an adult separated from his homeland, this memoir offers an insider's perspective on a country...that often remains a mystery to Western people."
"Synopsis" by , A story of an extraordinary father/son relationship imperiled by a nation's ominous and drastically changing political climate, We Heard the Heavens Then is a piercing look at revolution through the wide-open eyes of a child.

Aria Minu-Sepehr was raised in a sheltered world of extraordinary privilege, the son of a high-ranking general in the Shah's Imperial Iranian Air Force. But when King Reza Kahn was overthrown and the Ayatollah rose to power in 1979, Aria's privileged boyhood skidded to a halt. His life became a terrifying waiting game—waiting to see if soldiers would invade his home, waiting to see if his family would have to flee, waiting to find out if his father would come home alive each night. Aria's childhood worries about school exams and making mischief at home were quickly replaced by the terror that his father could be publicly assassinated, that he himself could be kidnapped, and the very real possibility that the family would not be allowed to leave the country alive.

We Heard the Heavens Then is an exceptional memoir about the clash of modernity and religion in Iran, as seen through the eyes of a boy with unusual access to both two sides. Exquisitely drawn from childhood and enhanced by his adult perspective, We Heard the Heavens Then is Aria Minu-Sepehr's unforgettable account of coming of age in a nation as it slipped away.

spacer
spacer
  • back to top
Follow us on...




Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.