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Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem Through the Islamic Revolution Paperback – June 27, 2006


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; Reprint edition (June 27, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307339742
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307339744
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (50 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #361,632 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

As founder in 1958 of the Tehranok/per book School of Social Work, Sattareh naively believed, "If one only avoided politics, one could achieve something constructive." After two decades of humanitarian efforts in Iranian family planning, day care, vocational programs and aid to the poor and prisoners' families, she was arrested in 1979 by Khomeini's machine-gun-toting teenage minions. Branded an "imperialist," she narrowly escaped execution and now lives in the U.S. The 15th of 36 children, Sattareh revered and feared her "all-powerful" father, a prince and governor. This dramatic if restrained autobiography, written with freelancer Munker, describes her patriarchal upbringing and her education at UCLA. She belatedly realized that "keeping our mouths shut let the Shah do what he wanted." Her memoir is actually most effective as a political document. She powerfully condemns the Eisenhower-backed coup that toppled democratic premier Mossadegh and installed ruthless dicatator Reza Shah Pahlavi, whose fascist secret police were trained and financed by the CIA. The Shah's corrupt, unjust regime, she graphically demonstrates, fueled explosive resentment that found an outlet in Khomeini's fanaticism.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In this poignant autobiography, Farman Farmaian brings Persian history and culture alive. Born in 1921 into the powerful, aristocratic Qajar family, her life spans nearly a century of tremendous change in Iran: from a sheltered childhood in her father's harem (there was an extended family of four wives and over 30 children) through her studies at the University of Southern California where she was the first Iranian student to attend to her return to Iran to found and direct the Tehran School of Social Work from 1958 until 1979 when radical students took over the school and forced her into exile. Intertwined with her personal account is the political history of Iran from the constitutional monarchy of the Qajars through the Western-oriented but brutal Reza Khan and his son Reza Shah to the virulent anti-Western Islamic Republic of Ayatollah Khomeini. This is also a cultural history of a highly adaptable people who learned centuries ago--in order to survive--to trust no one outside one's own family. Highly recommended for all libraries.
-Ruth K. Baacke, Bellingham P.L., Wash .
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Beautifully written -- enlightening -- easy to read.
lynnejoy@aol.com
This is one of three books that I believe provide a fairly comprehensive history of Persia / Iran in the 20th Century.
D. J. Hamilton
I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone interested in learning more about the Iranian culture.
CathyB

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Simone P. Stilson on December 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
I am an American daughter of an Iranian man who grew up in Tehran the same time as the author, and I was THRILLED to find this book. It provided me with many insights and a sizeable history lesson about Iran and its culture. Ms. Farman-Farmaian writes clearly and factually, yet includes her own analysis of the amazing history and perpetual transitions that have characterized this ancient country. She provides an excellent introduction, pertinent background, and an exposure to some of the Farsi language, which gives the rest of the book depth and feeling and makes it easy to follow. Contrary to the Western connotation of a "Harem," Farman-Farmaian enlightens us with the powerful network of love and support, which deeply connected the women and siblings in her family. It is a moving account of a life of courage and dedication by a woman who dared to think beyond her cultural boundaries. I highly recommend it!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Molly Lubin on June 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
I loved reading Daughter of Persia. It is a thrilling journey through Farman Farmaian's remarkable life, and it is a fascinating ride through the modern history of Iran; from before the overthrow of the Shah to Iran today. Farman Farmaian's descriptive, yet fast-paced writing style makes this book a treasure to read. Read Daughter of Persia if you are interested in reading about the life of the extraordinary woman who founded social work in Iran, and read this if you are interested in Iranian culture and history.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Hal Gordon on May 3, 2003
Format: Paperback
One of the best and most illuminating biographicies I have read. It's sad, insightful, but funny (for example, when Miss Farmaian arrives in Los Angeles after a long journey and asks to see the Statue of Liberty).
She explains why figures like Khomeni were so popular, though she is clearly unbiased since she was almost prosecuted for being a spy. She discusses the good and bad about the shah and provides tremendous insight into Moslem society. Why aren't there more books as good as this.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By John Kwok HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on May 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
Sattareh Farman Farmanian gives a spellbinding account of her life from birth until 1979, when she flees an Iran caught in the throes of the Islamic revolution. Her tale works not only as a memoir, but also as an anecdotal history of modern Iran up to and including the Islamic revolution which toppled the Pahlavi dynasty. As a descendant of the former Qajar dynasty, and daughter of a prominent Persian government official, she is blessed and cursed to see important events in her country's history unfold before her eyes. Indeed, I was intrigued by her kinship to the late Iranian Prime Minister Dr. Mohammed Mossadegh. Most moving is how she emerges as a strong, willful young woman, who successfully pleads with her father that she deserves a college education, along with her brothers. And you see the same strong determination in her efforts to elevate social work as a respected profession in Iran, and her management of the college she founds in Tehran, Iran's capital, for social work education. Anyone who wishes to understand at least some contemporary Iranian history should read this excellent tome.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 27, 1999
Format: Paperback
I've just bought this book for the fourth time. The story is so fascinating and the author is so personable that I have had to lend it out and then that person lends it out and somehow it never gets back to me. This autobiography tells a very personal story of a person raised in three very different worlds: as a daughter of the fourth wife of a very wealthy man in Tehran, as a student and then social worker living under the Shah, and then her life under the Ayatollah. Her story provides a glimpse into the history of Iran and an appreciation of a culture most of us know little of. Iranians all know the family of this author and those I have lent the book to like it. Americans love it. Everyone, without exception, I've talked to about this book has wanted to write the author and thank her for telling her story.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 2, 2001
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for a long train or plane journey, as once you start reading, you want to continue to find out what happens to this interesting woman - Persian woman. I found the first one-third of the book the most interesting as this part told the story of a little girl growing up in a Persian family, in Iran, with 12 step mothers. The historical aspect of the book is very informative but also not chronical or boring. Obviously Sattareh Farman Farmaian has gone a lot in her life, things that most Americans or Europeans will never go through, and perhaps never fully understand. This book is particularly interesting because it introduces Americans to an unknown world and continously amazes the reader with S. Farman's reactions, emotions and thoughts. She never falls in love and she does not seek to fall in love. Although she moves to the United States, and adopts well to the professional life, she never abundanes her cultural roots and beliefs. Despite what goes on in Iran, and how they treat her, she loves her country until the end. Read it and enjoy it for yourself!
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Bukkene Bruse VINE VOICE on May 3, 2000
Format: Paperback
Daughter of Persia is a wonderful book. Most fascinating is the history of Iran told through the experiences of one remarkable woman. Farman Farmaian's engagement with both Iranian and American society at a young age and her secular democratic ideals make this a very accessible look at Iran for a Western audience.
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