By Syma Sayyah, Tehran
The Persians - Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Iran by Dr. Homa Katouzian
Once in a while one gets hold of a book that tells it all and one cannot put it down and despite the weary days and tired eyes one keeps reading it through to the end.
I received what I consider the best read of the year in December and wish to share it with all of you. The Persians - Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Iran by Dr. Homa Katouzian is one book, but once you have read it through you feel that you have read ten. Dr Katouzian's eloquent pen and his vast knowledge of history, social changes, economics, politics, literature and poetry have all been beautifully intertwined in this book which enhances knowledge about Persia and Iran and enables you to understand the historical background to many of the events that are taking place nowadays.
Dr Homa Katouzian
What I found most fascinating about this book is Dr Katouzian's analysis of the nature of Persian/Iranian society and the underlying reasons for the distance that people feel with their state; the dilemma about modernity and the struggle necessary for reform to accomplish it that has been going on in Iran. He discusses eloquently the role of women and the major issues of past few decades including the wind of change and the popular campaigns towards a more democratic society and the challenges that this has entailed. The book's immense reference section is in itself a source of further study.
When reading such an insightful, weighty and informative book some of one's assumptions will completely be overturned and will be replaced by a deep and comprehensive understanding based on historical truth.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who has any formal or informal interest in Iran, past, present and future, for ordinary readers or professional academics. I have no doubt that this book will be a great source of reference and information to all and will become of the most important books for all those who are interested about Iran.
Dr Homa Katouzian is a leading international academic at several prestigious universities and currently teaches Iranian History and Literature at St. Antony's College and Oriental Institute, University of Oxford. He is the also the editor of Iranian Studies Journal and has a vast number of publications. The book Persians - Ancient, Mediaeval and Modern Iran was published by Yale University Press in October 2009 and is available from Amazon.
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