Biography & Memoir

Who lost Iran? The answer can be found in the enthralling life and tragic death of one man. Beautifully written The Persian Sphinx is a biography of Amir Abbas Hoveyda, a central figure in the historic struggle between modernity and tradition in Iran.

    [tabber] About the Book Salar al-Dowleh, the madcap prince and serial rebel, was a reflection of the unsettled political times during the early 1900s when Iranian society was trying to find its way toward a more democratic society. This is also clear from Salar al-Dowleh’s “career.” He was first courted by the democrats, when they… [read more>>]

    The marriage between Hamideh Khanum, the daughter of a leading aristocratic Azerbaijani family, and Mirza Jalil Mamadqulizadeh, founder and editor of the renowned satirical journal Molla Nasreddin, was a union of like-minded spirits. Both wanted to educate their community in the first quarter of the 20th century, during a period of great turmoil in their country.

    French Hats in Iran

    “From a gifted writer delightful, funny, evocative, enlightening, nostalgic stories about growing up in Iran in the 1940s. A must-read for anyone who wants to know how traditional, conservative Iranian households dealt with modernization.
    —Willem Floor, author of A Social History of Sexual Relations in Iran

    French Hats in Iran

    “From a gifted writer delightful, funny, evocative, enlightening, nostalgic stories about growing up in Iran in the 1940s. A must-read for anyone who wants to know how traditional, conservative Iranian households dealt with modernization.
    —Willem Floor, author of A Social History of Sexual Relations in Iran

    All memoirs bring the past into the present, but only a few manage to illuminate both simultaneously. French Hats in Iran, a quietly insightful masterpiece of remembrance, belongs in that select group. Heydar Radjavi’s evocations of growing up in Tabriz in the 1930s and 1940s describe a traditionalist Iran grappling with modernity, a process as fraught with contradictions and stresses then as it is in Iran today.

    Tales of Two Cities: A Persian Memoir

    “An exceptional, emotionally blooded memoir. . . . That this [memoir] turns out to be a breathtaking example of the quiet, selfless gorgeousness of the memorist’s art is the reader’s good fortune. Milani offers classically ordered writing about character, place, and time. . . . The entire memoir is infused with the perversity, nightmarishness, and occasional strange sweetness of growing up amid religious rule and ritual. This is a tale on whose every word readers will hang.”
    – – Kirkus Reviews

    Crowning Anguish: Memoirs of a Persian Princess from the Harem to Modernity 1884-1914

    “A Thousand and One Nights meets Raise the Red Lantern in this tale of growing up among royal wives and concubines in what is now Iran . . . . Set in a time when women of her class were cloistered, this princess’ story is a rare account of day-to-day life in a sheik’s palace, from a terrifying betrothal ceremony when its heroine was eight though a frustrating adolescence spent married to a bisexual philanderer to relations with the other women of the place, in which rivalry and political jockeying ran rampant.