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.