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Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn: A Hitchhiker's Adventures in the New Iran Hardcover – October 13, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1602397910
  • ISBN-13: 978-1602397910
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (47 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,362,149 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Like a postcard home, Maslin's debut entertains but doesn't inform. The author went to Iran against the better advice of nearly everyone he knew and discovered a country full of hospitable people who seem to want nothing more than to get him another cup of tea. I almost felt surprised, he writes, that the sun was still shining on this side of the border, and it's with obvious delight that he discovers cultural peculiarities: two types of knockers on the doors in the city of Yazd, for instance (one to announce a male visitor, the other for females), or the ongoing use of the qanat, a 3,000-year-old irrigation system (though he's somewhat less enamored of the deep-seated Iranian affection for Irish singer Chris de Burgh). Unfortunately, Maslin's narration is awkward, and while he does provide background information, he doesn't provide sources, leaving the reader to wonder if the occasional small inaccuracy is just that or signifies a larger problem. This book is best read for its surprising snapshots of a culture largely misunderstood in the West; hard facts and analysis are better sought elsewhere. (Nov.)
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Review

“Maslin describes a far more complex and hopeful Iran than outsiders usually perceive.” (Donna Seaman - Booklist)

“Maslin offers invaluable insights into this oppressive and demonized nation as he marvels over its lush valleys and mountains, stark desert, and the magnificent Al Sadr Caves. Intrepid, observant, funny, and charming, Maslin explores Tabriz, Tehran, Esfahn, and the ancient city of Persepolis, and he visits museums, bazaars, and nightclubs, eating splendidly well and drinking gallons of tea, and, on one wild night, 96-proof ethanol (alcoholic beverages are illegal). Maslin describes a far more complex and hopeful Iran than outsiders usually perceive.” (Booklist)

“Jamie Maslin is cool – and he has adventures far beyond anything Jack Kerouac could ever dream of.” (Daily Kos)

“In a time where an understanding of different cultures is more important than ever, I’m so glad we have books like Jamie Maslin’s. Both informative and entertaining, Maslin paints a picture of Iran in stark contrast to the caricature one fed to us by the mainstream media. A riveting off the beaten track tale of adventure and self discovery that can't fail to provide new insight on a country unfairly demonized in the West.” (Cindy Sheehan)

“[A]n unexpectedly enlightening introduction to an unfairly misunderstood country and culture.” (Kirkus Reviews)

“[A]n unexpectedly enlightening introduction to an unfairly misunderstood country and culture.  ” (Kirkus Reviews)

“[T]his travelog will appeal to armchair travelers and those wondering about future prospects for Iranian society.” (Library Journal)

Maslin's debut entertains.

” (Publishers Weekly)

“A timely and valuable book by a young Westerner who decides to see Iran for himself. Maslin is naive upon his arrival—having no idea what to expect—but keeps an open mind and invites the reader along on his fascinating and colorful adventures. His experiences reveal the lies that mainstream media are telling us about the country.  Having read this book, I may visit Iran in the near future.” (Richard Kendrick, author of "Déjà Vu")

“Jamie Maslin follows a long line of intrepid young Britons, from Laurie Lee to Paddy Leigh Fermor and, most recently, Rory Stewart, who set off on a journey to distant parts with little money but lots of curiosity; and return to tell their tale. Maslin has a good ear for dialogue and a keen eye. The result is a hitchhiking odyssey across Iran that provides a fascinating, and timely, behind-the-scenes glimpse of a country the news anchors never reach.” (Simon Worrall, author of "The Poet and the Murderer")

Jamie Maslin's book is Iran from the ground up, and a total surprise to those who only know the media version of that country. A fascinating likeness of a complicated people.

” (Anthony Brandt, editor of the "Journals of Lewis and Clark," and "The National Geographic Adventure Classics" series)

“Bill Bryson meets Jack Kerouac.  For anyone who enjoys adventure and travel, this book is a raw, gripping, philosophical, and hilarious first person account of traveling to remote and exotic destinations—you won't be able to put this book down, and you will feel close to the sincere, earnest author within a few pages.” (Simon Van Booy, author of "The Secret Lives of People in Love" and "Love Begins in Winter," and winner of the 2009 Frank O’Connor Award.)

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Customer Reviews

On my recommendation, we are now reading Jamie Maslin's book in our book club.
Lynn A. Jacobson
This book- entertaining and informative at the same time- tells the reader how iranian people see their country and what life in Iran for them is really about.
Miriam Schmidts
It should also be mandatory reading if you're a member of a government considering invading Iran.
Barry Finch

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Barry Finch on November 11, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This is a really enjoyable read and succeeds on a multitude of levels; it is thought provoking, it is touching, it is laugh-out-loud funny, it is entertaining and it is enlightening. It shatters most of our illusions about Iran and its people; it can be dipped into at random revealing fascinating glimpses of Iran's history, politics, architecture and everyday life, yet really delivers when read and savoured as a whole.

The situations that Maslin encounters on his travels range from the seriously life threatening to the totally unexpected, and often the plain bizarre. The sheer hospitality of its people is a real eye opener. Time and again the Iranians go out of their way to help this intrepid traveller, insisting on paying for his meals, for his drinks and for his taxis, and even insisting that he stay at their houses - just because he is a foreigner in their land and therefore their guest. This has the great benefit that we are able to read about the hidden Iran and how life is lived by its ordinary people, and get to understand their hopes and aspirations, and how they see the west.

This is essential reading if you're planning on visiting Iran - Maslin reveals that it has several international standard ski resorts for instance - but it goes way beyond the tourist locations in the guide books, yet doesn't pull any punches about the Iranian government: Maslin has subsequently been banned from re-entering the Islamic Republic! It should also be mandatory reading if you're a member of a government considering invading Iran.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Jerome D. Pike on December 30, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thoroughly enjoyed this travel diary about a young Brit who takes an extended tour of Iran on less than $500. He does this mostly because of the incredible generosity of the Iranian people, who never hesitate to offer a meal or a bed to the author, simply because he's a foreigner. As an American constantly inundated with anti-Iranian rhetoric from the media, I found Maslin's experience refreshing and candid. I was lucky enough to get to know a few Iranians in college and always found them to be kind and generous, and this book only reinforces that view.

As I read this memoir I found myself laughing out loud and sharing many funny moments with my wife. Read the book and you'll discover these unexpected details of Iranian life: the popularity of Chris de Burgh and "German rock gods" Modern Talking; the effectiveness of the pick-up line "You are beautiful"; "super film" DVDs; the constant greeting of "Can I help you"?; whisky by the can; super-clean subways; friendly taxi drivers; ice cream-jello deserts; the abundance of old Range Rovers and new Hillman Hunters on the roads. The list goes on.

I also found it interesting that many young Iranians despise their government but love their country. A majority of the country's population is made up of young people, and Maslin effectively shows how these young Iranians accept certain Western values while rejecting others, all of which shows a country that is changing.

Some reviewers here have complained that Maslin's periodic discussions of politics and history don't belong, but I disagree. It's impossible to separate the image of Iran from its role in modern history, and Maslin weaves these brief passages about C.I.A. involvement and the 1979 revolution into places where they seem fitting.
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Format: Hardcover
The Good
As I firmly believe with most demonized people, almost all of them will be pleasant, nice, and unbelievably helpful to you. This book will make even the most diehard "axis of evil" believers want to visit. Yes Iran does have its problems, especially on the human rights front, but the average person on the street are fantastic.

The Bad
He can be a little glib, in the way young men are, about certain dangerous situations. And by dangerous I mean hitchhiking, alcohol consumption, and other activities (fast driving). It is also quite superficial, but if you are looking for a detail orientated history of Iran you should probably look elsewhere.

The Ugly (my opinion)
What defines a good travel book for me is how I feel at the end - Would I have wanted to have taken that trip? I can say a definite yes to this. It is like traveling with the funny British guy from the Lonely Planet show.

I like when Iranians ask him what westerners think about Iran and he shares with them that everyone told him not to go because he will get shot. They think that is the funniest thing they have ever heard. You may still feel that but a lot foreigners think that about America too, because all they watch is American movies and television. Everyone is getting shot and killed all the time if that is your only basis of opinion.

Wonderful book which at a minimum will change any stereotype opinions you may have about the average Iranian and the country while at the same time being honest about the current regime.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Bob Graham on October 18, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Admittedly I read books on Iran just because, so the title didn't draw me. Which is good, because who ever thought it up didn't read the book in detail. The author tells a delightful story of his trip through Iran with a sense of humor the British excell at. And Iran is a fascinating place, especially if all you know of it is from the mass media. That said, I'd have liked more insight into the people and places he visited in this ancient, and complex society.
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