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Iran is a land of contradictions. It is an Islamic republic, but one in which only 1.4 percent of the population attend Friday prayers. Iran s religious culture encompasses the most censorious and dogmatic Shi a Muslim clerics in the world, yet its poetry insistently dwells on the joys of life: wine, beauty, sex. Iranian women are subject to one of the most restrictive dress codes in the Islamic world, but make up nearly 60 percent of the student population of the nation s universities. In A History of Iran, acclaimed historian Michael Axworthy chronicles the rich history of this complex nation from the Achaemenid Empire of sixth century B.C. to the present-day Islamic Republic. In engaging prose, this revised editionexplains the military, political, religious, and cultural forces that have shaped one of the oldest continuing civilizations in the world, bringing us up modern times. Concluding with an assessment of the immense changes the nation has undergone since the revolution in 1979, including a close look at Iran s ongoing attempts to become a nuclear power, A History of Iran offers general readers an essential guide to understanding this volatile nation, which is once again at the center of the world s attention."
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About the Author

Michael Axworthy teaches at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter (UK). The author of The Sword of Persia, Axworthy publishes widely in the field of Iranian history.

Reviews

Observer (UK) "Michael Axworthy's deft untangling of the country's history, from the advent of Zoroastrianism to the 1979 revolution, is a stunning achievement." New Statesman "The best available single-volume introduction to Iran's history." Chronicle of Higher Education "Inviting us to look beyond the menacing bluster of the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Axworthy celebrates Iran's rich history of tolerance and creative expression." Justin Marozzi, author of Tamerlane: Sword of Islam, Conqueror of the World "An engrossing, powerfully argued, and elegantly written history of a country which finds itself once again at the center of international affairs." Foreword Magazine "Readers are likely to share this reviewer's sense that a fragmentary knowledge of Persian history suddenly, with the author's engaging help, approaches a rounded picture--one well worth enlarging. It is hard to imagine a better treatment of Persia within a single volume than this."

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