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47 Reviews
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The other side of Iran
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...
Published on November 11, 2009 by Barry Finch

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars So close to being great!
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...
Published 14 months ago by Bob Graham


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The other side of Iran, November 11, 2009
This review is from: Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn: A Hitchhiker's Adventures in the New Iran (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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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very Good Travel Memoir, December 30, 2012
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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. For the most part they are accurate and in line with what is commonly held to be true among experts on Iran. My only complaint is Maslin's description of the 1979 attack on the U.S. Embassy in Tehran as a student-led, spontaneous event. In fact, the attack was a carefully orchestrated activity by the Ayatollah that went a long way in damaging Iran's reputation around the world. However, to say this book is anti-American because it points out a few ugly truths about American involvement in Iran is silly and just plain ignorant.

Read this book and you'll learn to appreciate your own culture while seeing what a country like Iran has to offer.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My Kind of Travel Book, April 5, 2010
This review is from: Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn: A Hitchhiker's Adventures in the New Iran (Hardcover)
What is it with titles of books on Iran? Do publishers think Iran is so unappealing that they need to jazz it up?( Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America And American in Iran )I doubt that Maslin has devoted 500 words devoted to rappers and porn. The title belies the substance of the book.

Jamie Maslin defies conventional wisdom and travels to Iran. He meets incredibly hospitable Iranians. In this book he thoroughly immerses you in the country's people, scenery and antiquities. His warm and generous hosts are surprised, some laugh, when he tells them that they are perceived as terrorists outside their country.

He sent me to You Tube to hear the bleating Chris De Burge and the repetitive Modern Talking. I had more enjoyable internet explorations searching the architecture of Esfahan, the antiquities of Persepolis, the Babak Castle and more. Maslin gives an over lightly of the history of these sites and the modern history of places like the Den of Espionage.

What you can't find so well surfing the net are the descriptions of and conversations with ordinary Iranians. This is a treat for the armchair traveler as is meeting the international travel companions he casually finds. The locals are quick to invite Maslin into their homes. They are surprisingly open, even though, as a school visit showed, there could be a camera anywhere. The final chapter raises interesting questions.

I was glad to see Maslin engage with Iranian females. Many male writers [i.e.The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran) marginalize (or ignore) their plight.

With Maslin being British, there were some words that jolted my eye. "Whilst" and "Lads" come to mind.

While in great need of a map, I like this kind of travel book. If you have interest in Iran and like travel books that emphasize the adventure and the people (as opposed to the place) this book is for you too.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful book which at a minimum will change any stereotype opinions you may have about the average Iranian, March 24, 2012
This review is from: Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn: A Hitchhiker's Adventures in the New Iran (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
3.0 out of 5 stars So close to being great!, October 18, 2013
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This review is from: Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn: A Hitchhiker's Adventures in the New Iran (Hardcover)
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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars In the wilderness, July 3, 2013
By 
Michael Brown (Cleveland, Ohio USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
The author does a great job of writing a travelogue. He is not a historian or a political scientist, in fact he demonstrates that element of the British population which some might call 'uninformed' to use a kind word. Despite having no real language skills or cultural awareness, the author goes to Iran and takes the reader with him. I am far more interested in Iran now after having read his story than otherwise. The English wit comes through now and again with its dry hilarity. The author did something and wrote about it. Stop treating it as if it were some doctoral dissertation or paper written for an ideological think tank! Just enjoy the book and you will be able to see the country of Iran and its amazing people through someone's eyes who isn't waiting to expostulate on nuclear weaponry, terrorism or political conundrums.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars very informative, May 12, 2013
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This book opened my eyes to a culture and people I only know from our news. Great read and very good social commentary
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, June 14, 2012
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I just have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with this book. It was very nicely written and gives great insight into the people of Iran. Now, even more than ever, I would like to see for myself what Iran has to offer. The book is worth every penny!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars fun and non-judgemental account of an everyday traveler in Iran, October 15, 2011
By 
belacane (moscow, russia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn: A Hitchhiker's Adventures in the New Iran (Hardcover)
...A breath of fresh air compared to the moody, dark and mystic airs of other books in this category.

This is a story of travel; The everyday encounters of a young British man in modern Iran, speckled with interesting facts, but thankfully not the full dose of overly romantic history, or overly condemning descriptions of modern politics that many travelogues from this part of the world tend to have. And that is exactly what I love about it! The author describes his adventures as they are, in an entertaining and casual tone, without being over dramatic about the differences between his own country and Iran. He is not overly pretentious about his reason for being there (he wanted to travel, got a visa and thought it would be a waste not to go), and describes in honest and open words his meetings with average Iranians and day to day mishaps and adventures without going into too much wordy detail.

This book is a very fun read and gives a nice, non-pretentious picture of a Westerner traveling in Iran today. Surprisingly or not surprisingly, what the author found was very little of the negative image that the Western media portrays. Thank you for that!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Funny and enlightening, September 20, 2011
This review is from: Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn: A Hitchhiker's Adventures in the New Iran (Hardcover)
Highly recommend it. It is so nice to know there is a whole diferent side to what we see in the media about Iran. Iranians are warm and friendly. The book is funny and also the historical references are very enlightening.
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Iranian Rappers and Persian Porn: A Hitchhiker's Adventures in the New Iran
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