Book Review




Men of Order: Authoritarian Modernization Under Ataturk and Reza Shah

By: Touraj Atabaki, Erik J. Zurcher

"The biggest Asian tiger!" "The new century's economic miracle!" "The next global superpower!" These are some of the clichés used to describe the People's Republic of China which, its Communist political structures notwithstanding, has experienced remarkable economic growth during the past four or five years. In a short time the People's Republic has emerged as the world's second largest importer of crude oil, just behind the United States, the biggest global exporter of textiles, and the world's largest manufacturer of a wide-range of cheap consumer goods.


About the Author:
Touraj Atabaki is in the Department of Oriental Languages and Culture at the University of Utrecht.

Erik J. Zürcher is Professor of Turkish Studies at the University of Leiden.

The first empire builders

The Observer

Tom Holland's masterly study, Persian Fire, brings an ancient empire to vivid life, says Geraldine Bedell

The great kings of Persia, especially Darius and his son, Xerxes, ruled an empire stretching from India to the Aegean. No other state or nation came close for resources under its command or influence in world affairs. Yet at the same time, a curious project was under way in Athens, designed to replace the political ideal of good governance with a newer one of 'isonomia' - equality. The world was making its first experiment in democracy.

SHALIMAR THE CLOWN , Salman Rushdie's latest novel (NY Times)


In his most powerful novels, Salman Rushdie has dexterously spun his characters' surreal experiences into resonant historical allegories. "Midnight's Children" (1981) transformed its hero's tortured coming of age into a parable about India's own journey into independence. "The Moor's Last Sigh" (1995) used the dramatic reversals of fortune sustained by one eccentric family as a kind of metaphor for India's recent ups and downs. And in recounting the interlinked stories of two powerful men, "Shame" (1983) became a sort of modern-day fairy tale about a country that was "not quite Pakistan."

Ali, An Iranian American View (Paperback)

By: Ali Parsipour

Book Description:

Ali's combined life experiences and real life struggles in two very rich but different cultures have given him the opportunity to share his view point on various topics. In his book, An Iranian American View, he has unfolded many remarkable experiences from the land in which he was born, to America, his adopted home.

About the Author:

Ali Parsipour was born and raised in a middle class family in the conservative religious town of Yazd, Iran. He comes from a family of ten siblings who survived harsh and difficult times. He managed to achieve his dream of coming to America during Iran’s traumatic Islamic revolution of 1979. Having had the opportunities to pursue and complete his higher education in America, he met an extraordinary girl who filled his life with laughter and happiness along with two lovely boys who changed his life for ever. Ali’s combined life experiences and real life struggles in two very different cultures have given him the opportunity to share his view point on various topics. In his book, An Iranian American View, he has unfolded many remarkable experiences from the land in which he was born, to America, his adopted home.

KOUTCHNER: Charismatic French Doctor Signs book on Saddam Husseins Crimes

Founder of the French Doctors "Medecin Sans Frontieres" Bernard Koutchner was a supporter of the War on Irak . He is critical of the way the Bush administration dealt with the War by dissoluting the existing Irakian Army. He has nevertheless been very critical of the Saddam Regime eversince having witnessed the situation of the Irakian people back in 1974. Koutchner denounces in this book the fact that France and Western Governments supported Saddam's totalitarian State responsible for the War with Iran that cost 2 Million Dead and the numerous tortures commited by the regime. It should be noted that Koutchner is very popular in the French Media and for the anecdote is married to Journalist Christine Ockrent who back in 1979 interviewed the Shah's Prime Minister Amir Abbas Hoveyda which caused a great deal of controversy for it led to the immediate execution of Hoveyda. Christine Ockrent has expressed herself on this incident in another book called La Memoire du Coeur.


By: Maggie Soleimani

Secularism & Political Islam

Reflections on the Islamic Veil

by Anthropologist & Best Selling Author

Shahdokht Javan

>>How are masculine and feminine identities formed in a traditional Muslim society? What are the dominant social models of men and women?
>>What is the Islamic veil? What is its religious, social, psychological, anthropological, political and legal significance? What is the underlying issue of the Islamic veil? Why do only the women wear it?
>>What distinctions need to be made between Muslims (the great majority), Islamists (those who do not support jihad), Jihadists and finally, terrorists?
>>Similarly, how do you distinguish religious thought from religious philosophy and religious dogma? Why does a religion, when reduced to its dogma, become fundamentalist?
>>Shahdokht Javan will explore the history of the Heretical thought of Muslim philosophers of the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries with regard to Islamic dogma. She will also analyze the disasters of political religion and the barbarity that ensues.
>>What is an Islamic system and how do the principles of this system maintain themselves?
>>What structural differences exist between Muslim and democratic countries?
>>Why do all Islamist systems, despite their differences, demand that woman wear a veil? (Examples of Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi Arabia).
>>According to Islamists, why does Islam withhold the absolute and divine truth, implying the necessary conversion of Jews and Christians?
>>What is secularism? How can secularism prevent the abuses and political manipulation of peoples religious beliefs and allow for peace between believers of different faiths as well as non-believers within the same country?

About the the author:

Born in Iran in 1967, Shahdokht Javan claims to have been "born a rebel", in a country where she says "women do not have the right to exist". She grew up in Tehran, raised by her mother along with four older brothers and sisters. Her father, Pacha Khan, was imprisoned by the Shah, after the revolution of 1979.

Even as a child, Shahdokht was not afraid to voice her beliefs, and despite the government's oppression, she had a clear understanding of freedom and a taste for it. A real tomboy, she stood out, and at a very young age, she was exiled: after a short stay in Istanbul, she arrived in Paris in 1993. Life there was hard at first; she didn't speak the language. After a series of odd jobs, she was accepted into the Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales where she studied anthropology. In 1998, she defended her Master's thesis on religious indoctrination: an analysis of elementary school textbooks in Iran. A year later, she focused her studies on the sociolinguistic issues concerning immigration. About the speaker: