The Ayatollah Begs to Differ

The Paradox of Modern Iran

Author: Hooman Majd

Publisher: Anchor

ISBN: 0385528426

Category: Social Science

Page: 256

View: 4173

Including a new preface that discusses the Iranian mood during and after the June 2009 presidential election and subsequent protests, this is an intimate look at a paradoxical country from a uniquely qualified journalist. The grandson of an eminent ayatollah and the son of an Iranian diplomat, Hooman Majd offers perspective on Iran's complex and misunderstood culture through an insightful tour of Iranian culture, introducing fascinating characters from all walks of life, including zealous government officials, tough female cab drivers, and open-minded, reformist ayatollahs. It's an Iran that will surprise readers and challenge Western stereotypes. A Los Angeles Times and Economist Best Book of the Year With a New Preface

The Ayatollah Begs to Differ

The Paradox of Modern Iran

Author: Hooman Majd

Publisher: Penguin UK

ISBN: 0141978163

Category: Travel

Page: 288

View: 8202

Hooman Majd, acclaimed journalist and New York-residing grandson of an Ayatollah, has a unique perspective on his Iranian homeland. In this vivid, warm and humorous insider's account, he opens our eyes to an Iran that few people see, meeting opium-smoking clerics, women cab drivers and sartorially challenged presidential officials, among others. Revealing a country where both t-shirt wearing teenagers and religious martyrs express pride in their Persian origins, that is deeply religious yet highly cosmopolitan, authoritarian yet reformist, this is the one book you should read to understand Iran and Iranians today.

The Ayatollah Begs to Differ

The Paradox of Modern Iran

Author: Hooman Majd

Publisher: Penguin Books

ISBN: 9780141047416

Category: Iran

Page: 288

View: 3888

Hooman Majd, acclaimed journalist and New York-residing grandson of an Ayatollah, has a unique perspective on his Iranian homeland. In this vivid, warm and humorous insider's account, he opens our eyes to an Iran that few people see, meeting opium-smoking clerics, women cab drivers and sartorially challenged presidential officials, among others. Revealing a country where both t-shirt wearing teenagers and religious martyrs express pride in their Persian origins, that is deeply religious yet highly cosmopolitan, authoritarian yet reformist, this is the one book you should read to understand Iran and Iranians today.

The Ayatollahs' Democracy: An Iranian Challenge

Author: Hooman Majd

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

ISBN: 0393080390

Category: Political Science

Page: 288

View: 2041

"One of America's most astute revealers of Iranian culture and identity."-Reza Aslan, The Atlantic Hailed as one of the year's best foreign policy books, Hooman Majd's latest offers dramatic perspective on a country with global ambitions, an elaborate political culture, and policies with enormous implications for world peace. Drawing on privileged access to the Iranian power elite, Majd "gives a harrowing description of the aftermath of the 2009 presidential elections in Iran" (Haleh Esfandiari). This "nimble take on Iran's fraught political landscape" (Kirkus Reviews) "sounds a dire warning to those in the West who want a democratic Iran. . . . Let us hope the President is listening" (Reza Aslan, The Atlantic).

Persian Mirrors

The Elusive Face of Iran

Author: Elaine Sciolino

Publisher: Simon and Schuster

ISBN: 9780743217798

Category: History

Page: 402

View: 2584

The New York Times expert on Iran explores the beauty and contradiction underlying this enigmatic country.

The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay

An American Family in Iran

Author: Hooman Majd

Publisher: Anchor

ISBN: 0385535333

Category: Political Science

Page: 272

View: 6608

With U.S.–Iran relations at a thirty-year low, Iranian-American writer Hooman Majd dared to take his young family on a year-long sojourn in Tehran. The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay traces their domestic adventures and closely tracks the political drama of a terrible year for Iran's government. It was an annus horribilis for Iran's Supreme Leader. The Green Movement had been crushed, but the regime was on edge, anxious lest democratic protests resurge. International sanctions were dragging down the economy while talk of war with the West grew. Hooman Majd was there for all of it. A new father at age fifty, he decided to take his blonde, blue-eyed Midwestern yoga instructor wife Karri and his adorable, only-eats-organic infant son Khash from their hip Brooklyn neighborhood to spend a year in the land of his birth. It was to be a year of discovery for Majd, too, who had only lived in Iran as a child. The book opens ominously as Majd is stopped at the airport by intelligence officers who show him a four-inch thick security file about his books and journalism and warn him not to write about Iran during his stay. Majd brushes it off—but doesn't tell Karri—and the family soon settles in to the rituals of middle class life in Tehran: finding an apartment (which requires many thousands of dollars, all of which, bafflingly, is returned to you when you leave), a secure internet connection (one that persuades the local censors you are in New York) and a bootlegger (self-explanatory). Karri masters the head scarf, but not before being stopped for mal-veiling, twice. They endure fasting at Ramadan and keep up with Khash in a country weirdly obsessed with children. All the while, Majd fields calls from security officers and he and Karri eye the headlines—the arrest of an American "spy," the British embassy riots, the Arab Spring—and wonder if they are pushing their luck. The Ministry of Guidance Invites You to Not Stay is a sparkling account of life under a quixotic authoritarian regime that offers rare and intimate insight into a country and its people, as well as a personal story of exile and a search for the meaning of home.

Guardians of the Revolution

Iran and the World in the Age of the Ayatollahs

Author: Ray Takeyh

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0199754101

Category: History

Page: 328

View: 4377

For over a quarter century, Iran has been one of America's chief nemeses. Ever since Ayatollah Khomeini overthrew the Shah in 1979, the relationship between the two nations has been antagonistic: revolutionary guards chanting against the Great Satan, Bush fulminating against the Axis of Evil, Iranian support for Hezbollah, and President Ahmadinejad blaming the U.S. for the world's ills. The unending war of words suggests an intractable divide between Iran and the West, one that may very well lead to a shooting war in the near future. But as Ray Takeyh shows in this accessible and authoritative history of Iran's relations with the world since the revolution, behind the famous personalities and extremist slogans is a nation that is far more pragmatic--and complex--than many in the West have been led to believe. Takeyh explodes many of our simplistic myths of Iran as an intransigently Islamist foe of the West. Tracing the course of Iranian policy since the 1979 revolution, Takeyh identifies four distinct periods: the revolutionary era of the 1980s, the tempered gradualism following the death of Khomeini and the end of the Iran-Iraq war in 1989, the "reformist" period from 1997-2005 under President Khatami, and the shift toward confrontation and radicalism since the election of President Ahmadinejad in 2005. Takeyh shows that three powerful forces--Islamism, pragmatism, and great power pretensions--have competed in each of these periods, and that Iran's often paradoxical policies are in reality a series of compromises between the hardliners and the moderates, often with wild oscillations between pragmatism and ideological dogmatism. The U.S.'s task, Takeyh argues, is to find strategies that address Iran's objectionable behavior without demonizing this key player in an increasingly vital and volatile region. With its clear-sighted grasp of both nuance and historical sweep, Guardians of the Revolution will stand as the standard work on this controversial--and central--actor in world politics for years to come.

Shah of Shahs

Author: Ryszard Kapuscinski

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0804153507

Category: History

Page: 160

View: 8196

In Shah of Shahs Kapuscinski brings a mythographer's perspective and a novelist's virtuosity to bear on the overthrow of the last Shah of Iran, one of the most infamous of the United States' client-dictators, who resolved to transform his country into "a second America in a generation," only to be toppled virtually overnight. From his vantage point at the break-up of the old regime, Kapuscinski gives us a compelling history of conspiracy, repression, fanatacism, and revolution.Translated from the Polish by William R. Brand and Katarzyna Mroczkowska-Brand.

The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran

Author: Ahban Azer

Publisher:

ISBN: N.A

Category:

Page: N.A

View: 5239

“Perhaps the best book yet written on the contradictions of contemporary Iran.... It captures like no book in recent memory the ethos of the country, in elegant and precise prose.” —Los Angeles Times “Illuminating.... Captivating.... A discerning guide to a complex country.” —Christian Science Monitor “Essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the paradox that is Iran (as well as America) in the post-Bush world.” —GQ “In this delightful book, Hooman Majd, a gifted storyteller, takes us on a tour of his own private Persia, which is also the Iran of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The results are illuminating, humorous, sobering, and ultimately reassuring.” —Jon Lee Anderson, author of The Fall of Baghdad “Hooman Majd is a stylish and engaging guide through the by-ways of Iranian life. Leading us from seminary to opium den to the presidential compound, his wry sense of humor makes this book a pleasure to read.” —Gary Sick, Ph.D., senior research scholar at Columbia University and member of the National Security Council staff under presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan “A witty, timely perspective on the nation posing the greatest challenge to our next President. Travel writing often makes for easy reading at the expense of relevant information, which gets lost in the details. Not so with* *The Ayatollah Begs to Differ.” —Bill White, mayor of Houston and U.S. secretary of energy under President Clinton From the Trade Paperback edition. From Publishers Weekly Starred Review. In this critical but affectionate portrait of Iranian politics and culture, Majd, the Western-educated grandson of an ayatollah, delves into the very core of Iranian society, closely examining social mores and Farsi phrases to identify the Persian sensibility, which, Majd determines, cherishes privacy, praise and poetry. Nothing is too small or too sweeping for Majd to consider, and although he announces his allegiance to the former president Khatami, he remains scrupulously even-handed in assessing his successor Ahmadinejad, shedding light on the Iranian president's obsession with the Holocaust and penchant for windbreakers and why the two are (surprisingly) intertwined. The author's brisk, conversational prose is appealing; his book reads as if he is chatting with a smart friend, while strolling around Tehran, engaged in ta'arouf (an exaggerated form of self-deprecation key to understanding Persian society). Although Majd seems to gloss too quickly over realities that don't engage his interest—women's voices are only intermittently included—this failing scarcely mars this remarkable ride through what is often uncharted territory. (Oct.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Review “Perhaps the best book yet written on the contradictions of contemporary Iran.... It captures like no book in recent memory the ethos of the country, in elegant and precise prose.” —Los Angeles Times “Illuminating.... Captivating.... A discerning guide to a complex country.” —Christian Science Monitor “Essential reading for anyone wanting to understand the paradox that is Iran (as well as America) in the post-Bush world.” —GQ “In this delightful book, Hooman Majd, a gifted storyteller, takes us on a tour of his own private Persia, which is also the Iran of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The results are illuminating, humorous, sobering, and ultimately reassuring.” —Jon Lee Anderson, author of The Fall of Baghdad “Hooman Majd is a stylish and engaging guide through the by-ways of Iranian life. Leading us from seminary to opium den to the presidential compound, his wry sense of humor makes this book a pleasure to read.” —Gary Sick, Ph.D., senior research scholar at Columbia University and member of the National Security Council staff under presidents Ford, Carter, and Reagan “A witty, timely perspective on the nation posing the greatest challenge to our next President. Travel writing often makes for easy reading at the expense of relevant information, which gets lost in the details. Not so with* *The Ayatollah Begs to Differ.” —Bill White, mayor of Houston and U.S. secretary of energy under President Clinton From the Trade Paperback edition.

Mirrors of the Unseen

Journeys in Iran

Author: Jason Elliot

Publisher: St. Martin's Press

ISBN: 1466837829

Category: Travel

Page: 432

View: 3167

In our current climate of war and suspicion, Iran is depicted as the "next" rogue nation that America and the world must "deal with." But the rhetoric about nuclear weapons and jihad obscures the real Iran: an ancient nation and culture, both sophisticated and isolated, which still exists clandestinely in major cities as well as the country's remote mountains and deserts. Jason Elliot has spent the last four years traveling in Iran, and in this remarkable book he reveals the many sides of the culture, art, architecture, and people that Westerners cannot see or conveniently ignore. Part close reading of symbols and images, part history, and part intimate interviews with Iranians of many different kinds—from wealthy aristocrats at forbidden parties to tribal horsemen in the most remote mountain villages, who have never seen a Westerner—Mirrors of the Unseen is a beautiful and thought-provoking book by one of the world's most acclaimed adventurers and authors.

Pakistan's Nuclear Bomb

A Story of Defiance, Deterrence and Deviance

Author: Hassan Abbas

Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA

ISBN: 9780190901578

Category: Political Science

Page: 356

View: 9831

This book provides a comprehensive account of the mysterious story of Pakistan's attempt to develop nuclear weapons in the face of severe odds. Hassan Abbas profiles the politicians and scientists involved, and the role of China and Saudi Arabia in supporting Pakistan's nuclear infrastructure. Abbas also unravels the motivations behind the Pakistani nuclear physicist Dr A.Q. Khan's involvement in nuclear proliferation in Iran, Libya and North Korea, drawing on extensive interviews. He argues that the origins and evolution of the Khan network were tied to the domestic and international political motivations underlying Pakistan's nuclear weapons project, and that project's organization, oversight and management. The ties between the making of the Pakistani bomb and the proliferation that then ensued have not yet been fully illuminated or understood, and this book's disclosures have important lessons. The Khan proliferation breach remains of vital importance for understanding how to stop such transfers of sensitive technology in future. Finally, the book examines the prospects for nuclear safety in Pakistan, considering both Pakistan's nuclear control infrastructure and the threat posed by the Taliban and other extremist groups to the country's nuclear assets.

City of Lies

Love, Sex, Death and the Search for Truth in Tehran

Author: Ramita Navai

Publisher: Weidenfeld & Nicolson

ISBN: 0297869507

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 320

View: 3771

Lying in Tehran is about survival. Welcome to Tehran, a city where survival depends on a network of subterfuge. Here is a place where mullahs visit prostitutes, drug kingpins run crystal meth kitchens, surgeons restore girls' virginity and homemade porn is sold in the sprawling bazaars; a place where ordinary people are forced to lead extraordinary lives. Based on extensive interviews, CITY OF LIES chronicles the lives of eight men and women drawn from across the spectrum of Iranian society and reveals what it is to live, love and survive in one of the world's most repressive regimes.

On Saudi Arabia

Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines - and Future

Author: Karen Elliott House

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0307960994

Category: History

Page: 320

View: 4665

From the Pulitzer Prize–winning reporter who has spent the last thirty years writing about Saudi Arabia—as diplomatic correspondent, foreign editor, and then publisher of The Wall Street Journal—an important and timely book that explores all facets of life in this shrouded Kingdom: its tribal past, its complicated present, its precarious future. Through observation, anecdote, extensive interviews, and analysis Karen Elliot House navigates the maze in which Saudi citizens find themselves trapped and reveals the mysterious nation that is the world’s largest exporter of oil, critical to global stability, and a source of Islamic terrorists. In her probing and sharp-eyed portrait, we see Saudi Arabia, one of the last absolute monarchies in the world, considered to be the final bulwark against revolution in the region, as threatened by multiple fissures and forces, its levers of power controlled by a handful of elderly Al Saud princes with an average age of 77 years and an extended family of some 7,000 princes. Yet at least 60 percent of the increasingly restive population they rule is under the age of 20. The author writes that oil-rich Saudi Arabia has become a rundown welfare state. The public pays no taxes; gets free education and health care; and receives subsidized water, electricity, and energy (a gallon of gasoline is cheaper in the Kingdom than a bottle of water), with its petrodollars buying less and less loyalty. House makes clear that the royal family also uses Islam’s requirement of obedience to Allah—and by extension to earthly rulers—to perpetuate Al Saud rule. Behind the Saudi facade of order and obedience, today’s Saudi youth, frustrated by social conformity, are reaching out to one another and to a wider world beyond their cloistered country. Some 50 percent of Saudi youth is on the Internet; 5.1 million Saudis are on Facebook. To write this book, the author interviewed most of the key members of the very private royal family. She writes about King Abdullah’s modest efforts to relax some of the kingdom’s most oppressive social restrictions; women are now allowed to acquire photo ID cards, finally giving them an identity independent from their male guardians, and are newly able to register their own businesses but are still forbidden to drive and are barred from most jobs. With extraordinary access to Saudis—from key religious leaders and dissident imams to women at university and impoverished widows, from government officials and political dissidents to young successful Saudis and those who chose the path of terrorism—House argues that most Saudis do not want democracy but seek change nevertheless; they want a government that provides basic services without subjecting citizens to the indignity of begging princes for handouts; a government less corrupt and more transparent in how it spends hundreds of billions of annual oil revenue; a kingdom ruled by law, not royal whim. In House’s assessment of Saudi Arabia’s future, she compares the country today to the Soviet Union before Mikhail Gorbachev arrived with reform policies that proved too little too late after decades of stagnation under one aged and infirm Soviet leader after another. She discusses what the next generation of royal princes might bring and the choices the kingdom faces: continued economic and social stultification with growing risk of instability, or an opening of society to individual initiative and enterprise with the risk that this, too, undermines the Al Saud hold on power. A riveting book—informed, authoritative, illuminating—about a country that could well be on the brink, and an in-depth examination of what all this portends for Saudi Arabia’s future, and for our own. From the Hardcover edition.

Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn

A Hitchhiker's Adventures in the New Iran

Author: Jamie Maslin

Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.

ISBN: 1628731850

Category: Travel

Page: 288

View: 5842

Iran looms large in the psyche of modern America. For decades, it has been “the enemy,” its government taunting us and attacking our Western, secular lifestyle. That is largely the Iranian government, however, not the Iranian people. Here’s the proof. When Jamie Maslin decides to backpack the entire length of the Silk Road, he decides to travel first and plan later. Then, unexpectedly stranded in a country he’s only read about in newspapers, he decides to make the best of it—but wonders whether he’ll make it out alive. Maslin finds himself suddenly plunged into a subversive, contradictory world of Iranian subculture, where he is embraced by locals who are more than happy to show him the true Iran as they see it—the one where unmarried men and women mingle in Western clothes at secret parties, where alcohol (the possession of which is punishable by hand-amputation) is readily available on the black market, where Christian churches are national heritage sites, and where he discovers the real meaning of friendship, nationality, and hospitality. This is a hilarious, charming, and astonishing account of one Westerner’s life-altering rambles across Iran that will leave you wondering what else you don’t know about Iran and its people.

Iran

Persia: Ancient and Modern

Author: Christoph Baumer,Helen Loveday,Fitzroy Morrissey,Bruce Wannell,Bijan Omrani

Publisher: Odyssey Books & Maps

ISBN: 9789622178687

Category: History

Page: 464

View: 8389

Iran, or Persia as it was formerly known, has been of interest to outsiders for millennia. From the Greco-Persian wars of antiquity, through the rise and flourishing of Islam, to the age of European imperialist expansion in the East, Iran has been a central player in global history. Drawn by its strategic location along the Silk Road, ancient and distinctive culture and abundant natural resources, foreign diplomats, traders and travelers have been coming to Iran for centuries. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 and subsequent events put a strain on Iran's relationship with the outside world, particularly the West, leading to sanctions and a decline in tourism and trade. Yet early in 2016 the Lausanne Accord over Iran's nuclear program, and then national elections resulting in greater reformist representation in Iran's Parliament have greatly increased the country's attractiveness to outsiders, with travelers and business people once more setting their sights on Iran. The Guide offers visitors to Iran scholarly and readable introductions to: * Zoroaster, Cyrus, Darius & Alexander * Shi'a Islam, religious art and architecture * The complexities of Iran's fraught relationship with Israel * Persepolis, Pasargdae, Esfahan & Shiraz * Ferdowsi, Attar and Hafez * Iranian film, food & music * UNESCO World Heritage sites * 464 pages, 133 color photos * 17 easy-to-use maps

Lipstick Jihad

A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran

Author: Azadeh Moaveni

Publisher: PublicAffairs

ISBN: 9781586481933

Category: Biography & Autobiography

Page: 249

View: 1009

A young Iranian-American journalist returns to Tehran and discovers not only the oppressive and decadent life of her Iranian counterparts who have grown up since the revolution, but the pain of searching for a homeland that may not exist.

Drinking Arak Off an Ayatollah's Beard

A Journey Through the Inside-Out Worlds of Iran and Afghanistan

Author: Nicholas Jubber

Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com

ISBN: 1458759857

Category:

Page: 496

View: 7191

An engrossing blend of travel writing and history, Drinking Arak off an Ayatollah's Beard traces one man's adventure-filled journey through today's Iran, Afghanistan, and Central Asia, and describes his remarkable attempt to make sense of the present by delving into the past. Setting out to gain insight into the lives of Iranians and Afghans today, Nicholas Jubber is surprised to uncover the legacy of a vibrant pre-Islamic Persian culture that has endured even in times of the most fanatic religious fundamentalism. Everywhere-from underground dance parties to religious shrines to opium dens-he finds powerful and unbreakable connections to a time when both Iran and Afghanistan were part of the same mighty empire, when the flame of Persian culture lit up the world. Whether through his encounters with poets and cab drivers or run-ins with ''pleasure daughters'' and mujahideen, again and again Jubber is drawn back to the eleventh-century Persian epic, the Shahnameh (''Book of Kings''). The poem becomes not only his window into the region's past, but also his link to its tumultuous present, and through it Jubber gains access to an Iran and Afghanistan seldom revealed or depicted: inside-out worlds in which he has tea with a warlord, is taught how to walk like an Afghan, and even discovers, on a night full of bootleg alcohol and dancing, what it means to drink arak off an Ayatollah's beard.

The Mapmakers

Author: John Noble Wilford

Publisher: Vintage

ISBN: 0375708502

Category: History

Page: 507

View: 5700

Examines the technology and significant figures of cartography, including the accuracy of ancient Chinese maps, contributions by such navigators as Ferdinand Magellan and James Cook, and the development of a current Global Positioning System.

The Knife Man

Blood, Body Snatching, and the Birth of Modern Surgery

Author: Wendy Moore

Publisher: Broadway Books

ISBN: 0307419452

Category: Science

Page: 352

View: 3044

When Robert Louis Stevenson wrote his gothic horror story of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, he based the house of the genial doctor-turned-fiend on the home of John Hunter. The choice was understandable, for Hunter was both widely acclaimed and greatly feared. From humble origins, John Hunter rose to become the most famous anatomist and surgeon of the eighteenth century. In an age when operations were crude, extremely painful, and often fatal, he rejected medieval traditions to forge a revolution in surgery founded on pioneering scientific experiments. Using the knowledge he gained from countless human dissections, Hunter worked to improve medical care for both the poorest and the best-known figures of the era—including Sir Joshua Reynolds and the young Lord Byron. An insatiable student of all life-forms, Hunter was also an expert naturalist. He kept exotic creatures in his country menagerie and dissected the first animals brought back by Captain Cook from Australia. Ultimately his research led him to expound highly controversial views on the age of the earth, as well as equally heretical beliefs on the origins of life more than sixty years before Darwin published his famous theory. Although a central figure of the Enlightenment, Hunter’s tireless quest for human corpses immersed him deep in the sinister world of body snatching. He paid exorbitant sums for stolen cadavers and even plotted successfully to steal the body of Charles Byrne, famous in his day as the “Irish giant.” In The Knife Man, Wendy Moore unveils John Hunter’s murky and macabre world—a world characterized by public hangings, secret expeditions to dank churchyards, and gruesome human dissections in pungent attic rooms. This is a fascinating portrait of a remarkable pioneer and his determined struggle to haul surgery out of the realms of meaningless superstitious ritual and into the dawn of modern medicine.

The Iranians

Persia, Islam, and the Soul of a Nation, with a New Afterword by the Author

Author: Sandra Mackey

Publisher: Plume

ISBN: N.A

Category: History

Page: 442

View: 520

Provides an incisive portrait of the troubled nation of Iran and the complex religious, historical, political, and cultural forces--especially the dichotomy between Islam and the culture of ancient Persia--that continue to shape it. Reprint.