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Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran
ELAINE SCIOLINO

Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran by Elaine Sciolino
46 reviews (2000) (432p)
ALA Notable Books - Nonfiction Finalist

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Book Description
The book that revealed Iran to the West, now with a new Afterword. Elaine Sciolino updates Persian Mirrors to include coverage of the 2005 presidential election in Iran.

As a correspondent for Newsweek and The New York Times, Sciolino has had more experience covering revolutionary Iran than any other American reporter. She was aboard the airplane that took Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to Tehran in 1979 and was there for the revolution, the hostage crisis, the Iran-Iraq war, the rise of President Khatami, the riots of 1999, and the crisis over Iran's nuclear program. In Persian Mirrors, Sciolino takes us into the public and private spaces of Iran, uncovering an alluring and seductive nation where a great battle is raging -- not for control over territory, but for the soul of its people.


Amazon.com Review
In 1979, a clerical revolution in Iran swept aside the inarguably corrupt government of Shah Reza Pahlavi and set in motion events that would make that nation a world pariah. In the place of one dictatorship came another, one led "by an old bearded cleric in a turban and cloak whose answer to the king's injustice was to wrap the country in a populist message of promise and smother it with an intolerant version of Islam."

So writes Elaine Sciolino, a reporter for The New York Times who entered Iran with the Ayatollah Khomeini and who remained there for more than 20 years, providing American readers with memorable accounts that were less, it seemed, about politics and religion than about human nature. For Iran is a mass of contradictions, she writes, a country many of whose leaders press for forward-looking change while serving a government that seeks a return to the distant past, and whose citizens constantly seek ways to experiment "with two highly volatile chemicals--Islam and democracy." In her book, Sciolino travels the length and breadth of Iran, interviewing national leaders and citizens, turning up stories of resistance and accommodation that are at once hopeful and cautious. (For instance, she writes, "Personal expression is entirely possible in Iran. You just have to be careful when and where you engage in it, and you have to be ready for nasty surprises when the rules change.")

Iran has been overlooked for too long, Sciolino suggests. Her book, both sympathetic and critical, makes a useful guide for those outside the country who seek to understand it better. --Gregory McNamee


Elaine Sciolino Award Stats
Major Prize* Nominations 1  
Unique Books Nominated for a Major Prize* 1  
Pulitzer Prize Wins 0  
Pulitzer Prize Nominations 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Wins 0  
National Book Critics Circle Award Nominations 0  
National Book Award Wins 0  
National Book Award Nominations 0  
Man Booker Prize Wins 0  
Man Booker Prize Nominations 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Wins 0  
PEN/Faulkner Award Nominations 0  

*Major Prize = Pulitzer Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award, National Book Award, Man Booker Prize, and PEN/Faulkner Award

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