In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs: A Memoir of Iran

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9780066209807: In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs: A Memoir of Iran

A superb, authoritatively written insider’s account of Iran, one of the most mysterious but significant and powerful nations in the world.

Few historians and journalists writing in English have been able to meaningfully examine post-revolutionary Iranian life. Years after his death, the shadow of Ayatollah Khomeini still looms over Shi'ite Islam and Iranian politics, the state of the nation fought over by conservatives and radicals. They are contending for the soul of a revolutionary Islamic government that terrified the Western establishment and took them to leadership of the Islamic world.

But times have changed. Khomeini's death and the deficiencies of his successor, the intolerance and corruption that has made the regime increasingly authoritarian and cynical, frustration at Iran's economic isolation and the revolution's failure to deliver the just realm it promised has transformed the spirit of the country.

In this superbly crafted and deeply thoughtful book Christopher de Bellaigue, who is married to an Iranian and has lived there for many years, gives us the voices and memories of this 'worn-out generation': be they traders or soldiers, film-makers or clerics, writers or taxi-drivers, gangsters or reformists. These are voices that are never heard, but whose lives and concerns are forging the future of one of the most secretive, misunderstood countries in the world. The result is a subtle yet intense revelation of the hearts and minds of the Iranian people.

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Product Description:

The history of Iran in the late twentieth century is a chronicle of religious fervor and violent change -- from the Islamic Revolution that ousted the Shah in favor of a rigid fundamentalist government to the bloody eight-year war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. But what happened to the hostage-takers, the suicidal holy warriors, the martyrs, and the mullahs responsible for the now moribund revolution? Is modern Iran a society at peace with itself and the world, or truly a dangerous spoke in the "Axis of Evil"?

Christopher de Bellaigue, a Western journalist married to an Iranian woman and a longtime resident of a prosperous suburb of Tehran, offers a stunning insider's view of a culture hitherto hidden from American eyes, and reveals the true hearts and minds of an extraordinary people.

About the Author:

Christopher de Bellaigue was born in London and now lives in Tehran with his family. He has spent the past decade working as a journalist in the Middle East and South Asia, and his work appears in The Economist, the New York Review of Books, Granta, and The New Yorker.

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