The best books on Iranian history, as recommended by historian Ali Ansari. Yes, Abrahamian is one of the leading historians of modern Iran. He always writes. A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind [Michael Axworthy] on meiriseamamo.tk I found that the book was the strongest telling the story of Iran prior to the 20th. Start by marking “Empire of the Mind: A History of Iran” as Want to Read: An overview of the ancient nation, from the days of the prophet Zoroaster to those of the Islamic Republic. In the s Michael Axworthy studied history at Peterhouse, Cambridge before joining the Foreign.
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Discover librarian-selected research resources on Iranian History from the Questia online library, including full-text online books, academic journals, magazines. Here, she recommends six books essential for a deeper understanding of Iran's history, culture, and politics. Even with news breaking daily in. 1) For a general survey of 20th Century Iran, I highly recommend, A History of Modern Iran: By Ervand Abrahamian 2) For a more in depth and.
The Persian Empire was one of the great civilizations, si A rather negative and simplistic picture of Iran has been painted in some circles. The Persian Empire was one of the great civilizations, similar in scope to Rome.
It was the first to create a confederation of different cultures rather than to simply eliminate all possible enemies. The emperor was the King of Kings rather than the Great Destroyer.
Rome in general had a similar strategy, but did tend to impose Roman culture throughout the empire. After the Arab conquest the Persians endured a long period of foreign rulers. The theme of the book is that Persian culture was so profound and resilient that it was able to endure these conquests, and reassert itself time and time again.
The rest of this review will select a few interesting and somewhat controversial ideas from the book. He contrasts the emphasis on law and tradition in Sunni Islam with the humility, sacrifice and importance of religious hierarchy in Christianity and Shia Islam.
History of Medicine in Iran The Oldest Known Medical Treatise in the Persian Language
Ali and his son Hosein play a similar role to Christ. Ali is said to have held himself aloof from the political deals and pragmatic compromises involved in the Arab conquests, maintaining a pious life of austerity and prayer. Aug 31, Bryce rated it liked it. Although the first part of the book might be a little tough to wade through, the chapters covering more recent history provide an important background to understanding the current situation in Iran as well as important insights into the Middle East in general.
Empire of the Mind: A History of Iran
I find 2 flaws in the book: Polk is unable to present the facts without making political jabs t Polk provides a good overview of the history of Iran with particularly interesting coverage of US-Iran relations after WW II to the present.
Polk is unable to present the facts without making political jabs thinly veiled if at all , 2. He seems to bend over backwards to try and understand things from the Iranian perspective, a noble idea, but in this case it seems to distort things a bit.
I would have preferred a more straightforward presentation of the facts minus the political jabs and the over empathizing. Nevertheless, I found this a useful read and enjoyed especially Polk's firsthand accounts of his own experiences dealing with the Iranian government the Shah in the 's.
Jun 19, Jeanne rated it liked it. I picked up this book because I knew the author as a statesmen and I am embarrassingly ignorant of Persian culture and history. The book is an easy read though not a page turner. Polk does a good job of using history to build toward his thesis that Iran's culture does not point towards conquest but defense.
The last chapter wraps everything up into a nice neat package and I thought - heck, I could have just read the last chapter! But since then, its funny how pieces of this book have popped up in other areas.
The coup was mentioned in the Economist last week, the "40 days of mourning" was important in the very next novel I read. So while the book took some effort to get through, it was definitely worth it in the long run.
Sep 29, Scriptor Ignotus rated it liked it Shelves: A useful overview of Iran's history and some of its major themes. It is not comprehensive by any means, but it succeeds at its stated goal of covering the basic outline of Iranian history and exploring some of its implications for today. The greatest drawback of the book is the author's occasional tendency to make some nakedly political statements; perhaps most shockingly when he claims that Darius I was history's "first neoconservative.
I wasn't surprised to learn that Mr. Polk A useful overview of Iran's history and some of its major themes. Polk was an advisor for Dennis Kucinich's presidential campaign. The bias isn't overwhelming, but one always senses a touch of the author's personal views in his narration. That being said, Polk's credentials, and the gross lack of knowledge regarding Iran on the part of most Americans this one included make it necessary for us to read up on Iran, and this book is a great place to start.
Nov 13, Julie Ershadi rated it liked it. It's an OK primer on the country, better for less controversial ancient and medieval history, but lacking in current affairs: SO BIASED in its overview of the disputed presidential elections, basically asks the reader to believe that Ahmadinejad probably really was elected fair and square. Doesn't even entertain the idea that Khamenei could've benefitted from rigging the vote, implies instead that the opposition was full of sore losers.
The book is also riddled with typos and other signs of It's an OK primer on the country, better for less controversial ancient and medieval history, but lacking in current affairs: The book is also riddled with typos and other signs of subpar editing, such as chronological confusion when discussing some of the medieval dynasties. Still, it's a pretty good read -- not too dry -- and definitely does help you to understand Iran's political, social and economic history better.
Mar 31, Shanthanu rated it really liked it Shelves: A surprisingly honest and candid introduction to modern Iran and Iran-America relations, coming from a Washington insider. To his credit the author admits that, and makes it abundantly clear what he eels about the West's role in thwarting democrac A surprisingly honest and candid introduction to modern Iran and Iran-America relations, coming from a Washington insider.
To his credit the author admits that, and makes it abundantly clear what he eels about the West's role in thwarting democracy in Iran. Obviously, no one book can sum up such a vast topic, but this is a good initial introduction to ancient and modern Iranian history.
Oct 04, Dashaun From rated it really liked it. This book really opened my eyes to the rich history of Iran. Ironically since finishing the book I've met a number of people from the country. I thought Polk did a great job capturing the political and cultural melting pot of Iran.
Seeing how European nations along with the United States helped shape the country into what it is today only makes me want to dive deeper into the history books. There have to be other civilizations with equal if not more intriguing histories. I highly recommend this This book really opened my eyes to the rich history of Iran. I highly recommend this for anyone who is interested in Asiatic history. Oct 29, Jenifer rated it liked it.
I am between a 3 and a 4. I thought it was a great introduction to the history and current affairs of Iran. The book really picked up in the second half, so be sure to keep reading.
While there is a lot that is only briefly discussed, it would have been impossible to go into full detail on all of Iranian history and culture in this all book. I would view it more as a stepping stone into a full understanding of Iran and our relations with the country.
Nov 17, Chimezie Ogbuji rated it it was amazing. Excellent, laid-back writing style, covering historical material crucial to understanding Persian gulf and Shia-Sunni geopolitical dynamics. Mar 17, Roland rated it liked it. Dry in the beginning unless you like historical details, dynasties, etc. Dec 29, Abbas Djavadi rated it it was amazing. A superb historical and cultural background to understand today's Iran.
Major reforms took place under Darius. Coinage , in the form of the daric gold coin and the shekel silver coin was standardized coinage had already been invented over a century before in Lydia c.
The Old Persian language appears in royal inscriptions, written in a specially adapted version of the cuneiform script. Under Cyrus the Great and Darius I , the Persian Empire eventually became the largest empire in human history up until that point, ruling and administrating over most of the then known world,  as well as spanning the continents of Europe , Asia, and Africa.
The greatest achievement was the empire itself. The Persian Empire represented the world's first superpower   that was based on a model of tolerance and respect for other cultures and religions. In the late sixth century BC, Darius launched his European campaign, in which he defeated the Paeonians , conquered Thrace , and subdued all coastal Greek cities, as well as defeating the European Scythians around the Danube river.
This led to an Achaemenid campaign against mainland Greece known as the Greco-Persian Wars , which lasted the first half of the 5th century BC, and is known as one of the most important wars in European history. At a crucial moment in the war, about half of mainland Greece was overrun by the Persians, including all territories to the north of the Isthmus of Corinth ,   however, this was also turned out in a Greek victory, following the battles of Plataea and Salamis , by which Persia lost its footholds in Europe, and eventually withdrew from it.The coup was mentioned in the Economist last week, the "40 days of mourning" was important in the very next novel I read.
Viknes Muthiah rated it it was amazing Jul 06, Nov 17, Chimezie Ogbuji rated it it was amazing.
Click Custom Level. Internet Explorer. His lucid and literate account takes us from the origins of the revolution that toppled the shah and installed Ayatollah Khomeini to President Ahmadinejad's hotly disputed re-election in that brought protesters on to the streets. Under British quasi-supervision a Persian military officer, Reza Khan, gradually undertook reform of the army in the manner of Ataturk in Turkey. A serious contribution to the study of historiography in general and of Middle Eastern history in particular.
He also underlines the fact that Persia's wealth attracted Ottoman, Afghan, British, and Russian attacks throughout these decades.