Elaine Sciolino, a correspondent for Newsweek and The New York Times, was aboard the airplane that took Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini to Tehran in 1979. She has had more experience covering revolutionary Iran than any other American reporter, and was present 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. Persian Mirrors looks at the public and private spaces of Iran, and goes into the politics, culture, religion, and society of Iran.
I originally picked this up because I wanted to get some more background on Iran before teaching Persepolis during a seminar course. Unfortunately, the seminar was canceled, but I decided to keep reading because the subject matter is so interesting. As Americans, I feel like we see people in the Middle East as the enemy, but this book explores why that is not necessarily true. True, we have been on opposing sides from time to time, but there is more to the story, and it is unfair to consider all “others” a terrorist. One must still read this book with a grain of salt since it is coming from someone who, while narrating her first-hand experiences, is not Iranian.
You should read this book if…
- you are interested in other cultures.
- you would like to learn more about Iran.
- you enjoyed reading Persepolis.
- you are willing to let your impressions and attitudes about the Iran be changed.