The Soul of Iran: A Nation's Struggle for Freedom Paperback – 14 Oct 2005
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"No book compares with [this one] to give a feel for contemporary Iran.... Simultaneously engaging and profoundly depressing."
About the Author
Afshin Molavi has a Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University, has reported on Iran for Reuters and the Washington Post, and contributes to many publications, including Foreign Affairs. He lives in Washington, DC.
Top Customer Reviews
by Afshin Molavi . An additional chapter has been added to cover the most recent political changes.
An excellent book giving good all round information on Iran today, its history and culture. (see reviews for Persian Pilgrimages).
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
With each page, I learned something new and the author clearly knows his stuff. He also seems like a decent and humane person, which is important when you spend so much time traveling with him (vicariously, through 350 pages). He takes you to all of the great Iranian cities, describes important moments in Iranian history, and gives you a sense of what Iranians are thinking today based on his wide travels across the country. I like the fact that this book is not Tehran-centric because I often find in my own travels (I've backpacked across southeast Asia) that the views in the capital are different than the views oustide.
Iran had often confused me because, on the one hand, I read about democracy movements and young people longing for an American-style life and, on the other hand, I see images of Death to Israel and Death to America chanting crowds. This book explores both of those worlds and shows that, on the whole, Iranians are more frustrated with their own government than they are with America or anyone else. But it also shows how nationalist Iranians can be and his interviews with war veterans shows us that there is still some fight left in them in the case of a war with America.
Our media does a terrible job of covering Iran, so we have to rely on books like these to learn something deeper. This book should be read by all of our policy-makers.
Nothing expresses the stark reality of the situation in Iran better than Asfin Molavi's books and the sentiments of the reviewer, "Persian Princess."
If anything, this book will highlight how assumptions made by most Americans are woefully simplistic when it comes to the richness, tenacity, and creativity of the Iranian people, including their love for the West. (BTW, I'm not Iranian, but sometimes when I have a good kabob, I wish I were.)
We had best get over our irrational fear and start focusing on what lies under the veil of rhetoric, both here and in Iran. Bravo to Mr. Molavi for highlighting the truth through the eyes of ordinary Iranians, who not only struggle to be heard above the filter of a fundamentalist regime, but also struggle to be perceived as they truly are by Western media. Read this book and gain an unexpected education. Then, do not pass go and pick up Molavi's other book.
Where are the critics, pundits and talking heads? They should be all over this author. . .
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