Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran

Laura Secor. Riverhead, $28.95 (496p) ISBN 978-1-59448-710-1
This immersive intellectual history will be, for many Western readers, their first encounter with the complex currents of thought that led to the Islamic Revolution in 1979 and continue to fuel Iran’s evolving story today. Journalist Secor delves into the ideas of the Islamic Republic’s varied rulers and intellectuals, as well as those of their pre-revolutionary antecedents. This is no lightweight summary, with topics including the contradictions of the Iranian revolutionary constitution and Austrian-British political theorist Karl Popper’s abiding influence on critics of the Islamic Republic. The theoretical material is interspersed with short biographies of dissident writers, journalists, and activists who are little known outside Iran, despite the brave stands that sent many to jail; those who survived imprisonment were exiled. Secor’s detailed but accessible explanations provide both concrete facts and a general sense that Iranian politics are far more complex than the thumbnail analyses typically provided in Western coverage. She also makes clear, with multiple accounts of violent crackdowns, that almost no one in Iran is safe from its deeply entrenched security state, with writers coming across as particularly vulnerable. Secor’s clear writing offers a firm grounding in the last 40 years of Iranian political thought and the many actions it has inspired in a complicated and fascinating country. (Feb.)
Reviewed on: 12/21/2015
Release date: 02/02/2016
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 528 pages - 978-0-670-06798-5
Compact Disc - 978-0-399-56685-1
Paperback - 528 pages - 978-0-14-316823-2
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