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Ghosts of Revolution: Rekindled Memories of Imprisonment in Iran Hardcover – January 14, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This is a powerful book that significantly enriches readers' understanding of human resiliency under regimes of torture and stands as compassionate testimony to the dialectical relationship between repression and resistance in modern Iran. Highly recommended."—G. Tezcur, CHOICE


"Not memoir nor autobiography, but an extraordinary beading of visions beyond the person, and even the specific history of Iran, this book casts new eyes on the deathly zones of the post-revolutionary years without ever emptying the Revolution of its spiritual-political hope. In parsimony of words the author's voice is woven in conversation with the dead, as a gesture of love. It bears witness to death, madness, and betrayal for the sake of the living, and of community, mindful at all moments that the risk of destruction and madness is as much the product of historical processes as it is nested in the human soul. Act of witnessing and work of literature, Ghosts of Revolution makes an important impact for the transformation of cultural memory. It is a work of art in the fullest sense: a creation at the limits of life."—Stefania Pandolfo, University of California, Berkeley, author of Impasse of the Angels. Scenes from a Moroccan Space of Memory


"Shahla Talebi's observations about language, writing, death, modes of consciousness, the depravity of the state and its prisons, and the experience of love and solidarity in the most abject circumstances in which she found herself speak for themselves. Her portraits of fellow prisoners are unforgettable. By far the most moving, sensitive, and profound book about torture I have read."—Vincent Crapanzano, The CUNY Graduate Center


"Ghosts of Revolution gives us a great lesson in humanism in a period of History when we insist on the outer signs of international conflicts and lose sight of the inner struggles and sufferings of the people, each taken individually, who are the unbreakable core of what really matters. Shahla Talebi is a survivor with no hatred in her heart. We are implicated in what she has to say."—Etel Adnan, author of Master of the Eclipse and Sitt Marie Rose


"This searing memoir of women's visceral pain, principled resilience, and redemptive imagination in Iran's brutal political prisons will leave you shaken, forever. Talebi's voice is remarkable for its generous empathy, its poetry in evoking the tortured humanity of the women with whom she shared her prison experience, and its brilliance in analyzing the dark horrors inflicted on the men and women condemned to these death-spaces that were, in the 1970s and 1980s, and are even today, so strangely tied to the exercise of power in Iran."—Lila Abu-Lughod, Columbia University, author of Writing Women's Worlds
"Ghosts of Revolution is the forbidden and forgotten social history of Iran, the moral vindication of a people written from the vantage point of a political prisoner, from the bared life of a liberating conscience. Judiciously poetic, pulling no punches, but above all showing an abiding love for the people of a homeland that is now blessed to have her as its storyteller, Shahla Talebi reassures the world that the right and the beautiful are still triumphant."—Hamid Dabashi, Columbia University
"Ghosts of Revolution is both a powerful testimony and an important political act from an author sharing her singular experience of eight years behind prison bars. Remarkable in Talebi's memoir is her profound sense of dignity and resilience in the face of absolute despair and brutality. With a philosophical edge, her book helps us all to face our humanity and vulnerability and, most of all, to grasp that fine barrier between life and death, hope and submission. With clarity, honesty, and a lack of sentimentality, Ghosts of Revolution speaks to the resilient nature of the human spirit in the face of adversity and the abyss."—Shirin Neshat

About the Author

Shahla Talebi was imprisoned in Iran from 1977 to 1978 and again from 1983 to 1992, first by the former Shah and later by the Islamic Republic, for her political beliefs and activities. She now lives in the United States and is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Arizona State University.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 264 pages
  • Publisher: Stanford University Press (January 14, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804772010
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804772013
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.9 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,131,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for work that looks at imprisonment in Iran with any intellectual depth, this is it. This is a beautifully and intelligently written book about the author's experience under two authoritarian regimes in Iran, and does not subscribe to cheap binaries of victimhood and persecution. Excellent book for anyone who is also doing research in the larger subject areas of torture, imprisonment, humanity, etc.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Shahla Talebi's memoir, Ghosts of Revolution, tells the true story of her political imprisonment during Iran's Islamic Revolution, its emotional tolls and cascading affects on her friends, family and loved ones. Talebi poetically details specific accounts of her torture, both physical and psychological, without fetishizing the brutality for its emotional power. Her prose is artistic and lyrical, which elevates the narrative beyond its somber and depressing reality. Talebi should be commended for highlighting the abuses of her fellow prisoners as well, rather than merely focusing on her own experiences. This allows her to provide a more objective, all encompassing account. Readers will appreciate the emotional roller-coaster her memoir takes us, as well as leave with a solid historical account of the Islamic Republic's brutality against political prisoners. I cannot recommend it enough!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Howier on September 4, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ghosts of Revolution is a powerful creation of prisons and prisoners in Iran. The inmates, the cruelty of the guards and the prison system, are drawn vividly and with great attention to details and meaning. The insights are profound. You can't help being deeply moved both by the author who herself was once an inmate and by the other inmates she brings to life in this narration.
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0 of 3 people found the following review helpful By lennyrats on May 28, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Too many foreign expressions to try to comprehend. The emotions expressed by the author are flat lined that didn't resonate!
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