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Iran's Epic and America's Empire Perfect Paperback – May 15, 2012

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Product Details

  • Perfect Paperback: 254 pages
  • Publisher: Afshar Publishing; First edition (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0962766496
  • ISBN-13: 978-0962766497
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,261,220 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Mahmoud Omidsalar is a world authority on Ferdowsi's Shahnameh. Very few people anywhere in the world know the Persian epic inside out as well as he does. Omidsalar's Iran's Epic and America's Empire is a bold political manifesto written by a master literary scholar. His steely meditations come at a particularly troubling time when Ferdowsi's birthplace is ruled by chronic autocracy and threatened by military strike. Omidsalar writes with conviction, courage, steadfast determination, and a defiant will to recollect, to remind, and to claim the Iranian posterity.

Hamid Dabashi (Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies and Comparative Literature at Columbia University in the City of New York)

In Iran s Epic and America s Empire, Mahmoud Omidsalar the master of Shahnameh Studies, attempts to provide a personal narrative about the substance and meaning of the greatest literary work composed in the Persianate World. Along the way he provides a useful and contentious purview of the pre-modern history of Iran and the life of the composer of the epic, Abol-Ghasem Ferdowsi. Furthermore, Omidsalar not only dispels the common Eurocentric notions about Iran and the Shahnameh, but also takes on the blind nationalism of his own countrymen who at times are blinded by their own chauvinism. He shows how this xenophobic view has kept some from understanding the essence and nature of the Persian epic and Iran's cultural achievement. Whoever reads this book will be forced to think about her/his own views on the meaning and importance of the Shahnameh.

Touraj Daryaee (Howard C. Baskerville Professor in the History of Iran and the Persianate World at the University of California, Irvine)

About the Author

Mahmoud Omidsalar obtained his Ph.D. in Persian Literature from the Department of Near Eastern Studies, University of California, Berkeley, where he also studied Folklore under Alan Dundes. In addition to publishing many essays on Persian literature and folklore, he has also edited the 6th volume of the new critical edition of the Shahnameh, under the general editorship of Professors Khaleghi-Motlagh and Ehsan Yarshater. He has served on the editorial board of the Encyclopeadia Iranica since 1990, and was appointed to the Supreme Council of the Center for the Great Islamic Encyclopaedia (Tehran) in 2006. Together with Iraj Afshar, he edits the series Folia Medica Iranica and Persian Manuscripts in Facsimile. In 2004, the first volume of his collected English and Persian papers received the book of the year award of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance in Iran.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Kam Zarrabi on September 19, 2012
Format: Perfect Paperback
Ethnic pride, nationalistic passion, cultural heritage, territoriality and similar traits are all natural hereditary or genetically engrained tendencies that make us what we are, human beings. All human groups, tribes and nations, even the conglomerates that constitute empires, whether in the historical past or at the present time, have regarded and do regard themselves as somehow special, exceptional and superior, if not in demonstrable power or wealth, but in some other attributes that could not be easily challenged.
This human characteristic exhibits itself in many ways, perhaps symbolically best portrayed in the often heroic composition of national anthems.
However, such self-glorifying expressions and, indeed, beliefs do get in the way of objective scholarship in the study of history and cultural evolution of peoples and nations. A true scholar must remain dispassionately honest, unbiased, and forensically astute in searching for, analyzing, interpreting and presenting the results of his research. In this, Professor Mahmoud Omidsalar has done a superlative job in "Iran's Epic", with a uniquely apropos subtitle, "And America's Empire".
The author has managed to separate myths and legends from historical facts, from Iran and the Iranian's historical roots to the clashes and intermingling and exchanges between the Iranians and Macedonians and Greek cultures, to the encounters with the Islamic civilization. The vehicle that carries the narratives through the various stages of the book is the great 1000-years-old Iranian epic, Ferdowsi's Shahnameh (The Book of Kings), elegantly handled by the highly acclaimed master of that work.
I would highly recommend this book, above all others of this genre, to all students of Iranian history, and in particular to those, young and old, of Iranian background who live in the United States or Europe.
Kam Zarrabi
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2 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Aryo Tabrizi on March 9, 2013
Format: Perfect Paperback Verified Purchase
Two absurd words are constantly being repeated in this book which their use is in total contradiction with the purpose of the book as it claims.
1. There never was or is a country called "Persia". The name of the country is IRAN and Iranian "are" the people of IRAN..
Pars was and is one of the many provinces of Iran (like Azarbaijan, Khorasan, Lorestan, Golestan, Baluchestan, Esfahan, Khoozestan and kordestan....etc.) Parsian or Persian is an inhabitant of pars.....
Just as Howard Zinn in his book the people's history of the United states mentions "it happens too often that people are saddled with names given them by their conquerors.".. the name Persia instead of IRAN is what the historic enemies of IRAN which sought to divide the Iranian nation gave to my country.
2. I understand that with the advent of Encyclopeadia Iranica and especially since 1990 with the insistance of Ehsan Yarshater and the gang, there has been a craze to call Parsi or Farsi, "Persian". A totally meaningless foreign term. The most proper name besides Farsi itself would have been "Irani". The language of the people of Iran which is referred to by many of Iran's population all over the vast country of IRAN....
Paayandeh Baad IRAN!
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