"Of the many great reads in our Middle Eastern Studies section, this new release is especially important and timely given the Obama administration’s historic nuclear deal with Iran. This book focuses on the Iran’s history in the modern era. Through a series of bios of influential leaders and thinkers in Iran as well as ordinary citizens, Secor traces the intellectual and social underpinnings of the revolution of 1979 and the decades that have followed. Reoccurring themes that occur in the book are the Iranian people’s struggle to reconcile eastern and western ideas; modernity and religion; and national attachments that span millennia."
The drama that shaped today's Iran, from the Revolution to the present day. In 1979, seemingly overnight--moving at a clip some thirty years faster than the rest of the world--Iran became the first revolutionary theocracy in modern times. Since then, the country has been largely a black box to the West, a sinister presence looming over the horizon. But inside Iran, a breathtaking drama has unfolded since then, as religious thinkers, political operatives, poets, journalists, and activists have imagined and reimagined what Iran should be. They have drawn as deeply on the traditions of the West as of the East and have acted upon their beliefs with urgency and passion, frequently staking their lives for them. With more than a decade of experience reporting on, researching, and writing about Iran, Laura Secor narrates this unprecedented history as a story of individuals caught up in the slipstream of their time, seizing and wielding ideas powerful enough to shift its course as they wrestle with their country's apparatus of violent repression as well as its rich and often tragic history. Essential reading at this moment when the fates of our countries have never been more entwined, Children of Paradise will stand as a classic of political reporting; an indelible portrait of a nation and its people striving for change.
About the Author
Laura Secor has written about Iran for The New Yorker, The New York Times Magazine, Foreign Affairs, The New Republic, and other publications, and has worked at The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The American Prospect, and Lingua Franca. She has been a fellow at the New York Public Library's Cullman Center and the American Academy in Berlin, and has taught journalism at NYU and Princeton. Secor lives in Brooklyn.