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Iran Awakening: One Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Life and Country Paperback – April 10, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

Most Americans date troubles with Iran to the 1979 overthrow of the shah and the 444-day U.S. embassy hostage drama. Iranians date the friction back to 1953, when the U.S. orchestrated a coup that removed beloved Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. Ebadi recalls that period as the beginning of shifting politics that would erode basic freedoms and notions of human rights in Iran. Raised to believe in gender equality, Ebadi became a judge but was demoted to secretary when the Islamic Revolution under Ayatollah Khomeini demanded subservience of women. Ebadi estimates that five million Iranians, feeling oppressed by the revolution, left the country, draining valuable resources and leaving bitterly separated families. Ebadi lost her profession, her friends, and her country but was determined to stay and speak out against oppression. She eventually returned to public life as a human-rights lawyer taking on the defense of women, children, and dissidents. Ebadi offers a very personal account of her life and her fight for human rights in Iran. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Praise for Shirin Ebadi and Iran Awakening
 
“This is the riveting story of an amazing and very brave woman living through some quite turbulent times. And she emerges with head unbowed.”—Archbishop Desmond Tutu
 
“The safety and freedom of citizens in democracies is irretrievably bound with the safety and freedom of people like Shirin Ebadi who are fighting to reassert the best achievements of mankind: universal human rights. One of the staunchest advocates for human rights in her country and beyond, Ms. Ebadi, herself a devout Muslim, represents hope for many in Muslim societies that Islam and democracy are indeed compatible.”—Azar Nafisi
 
“A moving portrait of a life lived in truth.”The New York Times Book Review
 
“A riveting account of a brave, lonely struggle . . . [Iran Awakening] reads like a police thriller, its drama heightened by Ebadi’s determination to keep up the quotidian aspects of her family life.”The Washington Post Book World
 
“A must read . . . may be the most important book you could read this year.”Seattle Post-Intelligencer
 
“As a testament to how a single, inspired voice can rise above the cacophony . . . the book should be required reading.”The Nation
 
“Some of her admirers in Iran call her a woman of steel. Sure, the Iranian human rights champion also has a heart of gold. But it is Shirin Ebadi’s unbending will that explains how she has become the conscience of the Islamic Republic.”Time
 
“[Ebadi] has come forward with professional force and unflagging courage, and she has defied any danger to her own safety. She is truly a woman of the people!”—Ole Danbolt Mjos, chairman of the Norwegian Nobel Committee
 
“[Ebadi] has risked her freedom and her life to defend democracy, free speech, and the rule of law.”The Boston Globe


From the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Random House Trade Paperbacks; Reprint edition (April 10, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812975286
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812975284
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.5 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (63 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,018 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By James R. Duren on May 6, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Mrs. Ebadi's purpose in writing the book is to give Westerners an accurate and eye-opening account of the human rights struggle in Iran. It is a fascinating biography full of political facts, personal struggles, and victory. Ebadi tells the reader in her epilogue that her desire was not to explain and give motives to the political crises that Iran has faced over the past fifty years, but to present the historical legacy of upheavel in her country in a way that Americans can comprehend and understand clearly. If you want to learn about Persian politics and the influence of hard-line Islam on Iranian society, this is the book. If you want to learn about the struggle of women under the pressures of conservative Islam, this is the book. If you want to read a brief, quick biography, this is also the book. If you want to deconstruct your stereotypes about Islam and the Koran, this is the book. Ebadi's writing is clear, simple, and stunning.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Classical Chump on August 30, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ms. Ebadi crafts a compelling autobiography that draws the reader in like a novel. She brings us into the center of her experiences without crowing or being sanctimonious. In telling her own story, she also manages, in a fairly short book to present what I think is an objective history of Iran starting just prior to the 1953 coup and ending at the present.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Dorny B. on June 10, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Very accurate description of daily lives in Iran, I'm very pleased that finally someone -and who could be better than Ebadi- wrote a book explaining the strange phase Iranian people went through in the past half a century.

I specially enjoyed the parts where she explains the gradual enforcement of Hejab (women's dresscode), and the gradual fading of women's rights in the Religious regime.

I've recommended this book to all my friends. For anyone who is interested on the subject, this is as close as one can get to how it feels to really live in Iran.

Additionally, Ebadi is able to transfer her amazingly strong personality right to the reader. You'll finish the book thinking that you should seriously put up with a lot less s*** than you do, even if it might sometimes be scary to single-handedly stand up for what you believe in.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By P. Saunders on September 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
This is the best and the most honest version of the modern history of my country from the eyes of a brave educated woman who is not afraid to fight for what every one else is afraid to whisper. In her memoir, she does not leave out any detail of the atmosphere governing Iran. Living in the circumstances she describes in the book, I genuinely respect her for who she is. She is an icon every woman can look up to and That is why she is a Nobel prize winner. She has a story telling gift, making the book absolutely attractive and easy to follow. This book is a must read; she risked her life writing it and it needs audience: Iranian women and children need Shirin Ebadi and people who think like her. This is an outstanding book, unforgettable.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Maryam on May 13, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Finally, we learn about Shirin Ebadi's struggles and trials and tribulations from inside Iran. This Nobel Peace Prize Winner candidly discusses her country's realities -- her struggles, her hopes and the importance of US-Iranian dialogue. Shirin Ebadi's story is unique in every way and we learn about the fine line she walks while surviving under the Islamic Republic of Iran. She's daring, brilliant and a trail blazer ... If you liked "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and "Lipstick Jihad" you will be sure to enjoy this book!
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By NPP on June 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book in Amsterdam and read the entire book on a flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis. I am delighted it is available on Amazon as there were challenges getting it published in the US. Shirin Ebadi is a very inspiring woman and she made me re-evaluate what have I done lately to make the world a better place. Her courage, tenacity, sense of justice and high level of integrity are communicated beautifully through the book. The ramifications of politics are extremely interesting in the impact they have on the everyday lives of average people, such as who is power the Shaw vs. the Ayotolla? A wake-up call of how your life can change very quickly through no fault of your own. It is one of the best books I have read in years, I am recommending it to all of my reading friends. This is a must read - Hats off to Shirin I would love to meet her!
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Ronald Scheer on August 28, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Written by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, this highly readable memoir reaches out specifically to American readers to help them understand the Islamic Republic of Iran as the two countries continue on what gives every appearance of a collision course. While Iran (Persia) can look back over a history of 3000 years, recent memory of political history dates from the 1953 CIA-assisted overthrow of its democratically elected prime minister, Mossadegh. The more than 50 years since then, as remembered by Ebadi, are a record of sometimes concealed, sometimes open animosity between our two nations, leading to the current dispute over Iran's development of a nuclear capability.

There are many books about Iran during these years written by outsiders, including Iranians from the West (such as the co-author of this book, Azadeh Moaveni, whose "Lipstick Jihad" tells of a return to Iran after growing up in California). This book provides an insider's view of the years since the fall of the Shah in 1979, and told from a woman's point of view, it describes the experience of losing not only her professional standing as a judge but of the struggle to preserve her identity, her integrity, and finally her life, as she is marked for elimination by a death squad eager to wipe out any perceived resistance to the hard-line government.

Unwilling to leave her country, while long-time friends and associates flee to the West, especially during the protracted and bloody war with Iraq in the 1980s, she remains behind, using her legal training to work in the defense of women and children, whose welfare is compromised by the extreme conservatism of the country's Islamic leaders.
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