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Shamshone: Sun Of Assyria Paperback – March 19, 2013
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"A moving story beautifully told. Brian Appleton has painted for us an exquisite portrait of the dispappearing multi-cultural society of the Middle East. He captures a reality that unfortunately threatens to vanish under the forces of intolerance and the drive for uniformity" John W. Limbert, Distinguished Professor of International Afairs at the US Naval Academy, Ambassador former Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Iran in Department's Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs.
"What a wonderful project Brian has undertaken. I remember the Sarmecanic family well from Golpashan. Their house compound lay across the ruins of WWI houses from our house compound and right across from our orchard."
Dr. Eden Naby Frye, Center for the Study of World Religions at Harvard Divinity School
"This is a timely and fast-moving memoir of the political change, immigration and family life among the Assyrians of Rezaiyeh ( Urumia), many of whom moved to the United States over the years."
Hannibal Travis, Associate Professor of Law and interim Associate Dean for Informational Resources Florida International University, College of Law.
--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
About the Author
Brian H. Appleton, is an American writer who spent 20 years abroad, five of which were in Iran in the 1970's. He first visited Iran alone at age 16 for the summer in 1966 and his latest visit was in 2008. His first book also about Iran, about his own experiences there as an American is entitled Tales form The Zirzameen first published in 2007, now in its 3rd edition. It includes his account of the revolution of 1979 and five months after. He was briefly taken hostage and rescued by a heroic Iranian woman. He has written numerous articles for various Iranian American publications including Payam Javan, Payvand, Irandokht, Iranian.com, Persian Heritage Magazine, Persian Mirror. Other works include three volumes volumes of poetry and contributions to several anthologies such as Love and Pomegranites. Appleton was knighted in 2008 into the order of St John Hospitaller for his peace efforts between Iran and the USA. He also holds a BA in Anthropology from George Washington University and a Masters in Ancient History from University of Fundamental Knowledge Oxford network, St Petersburg, Russian Federation. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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The author tells the story of his friend Sam (Shamshone), born in 1938. Growing up in a rural village, Sam has two older brothers. There were the hard times, such as living under Soviet occupation and living through the Iranian Revolution. They survived the genocide of World War I. (It turns out the Armenians were not the only ones who faced genocide in that time period.) Sam later goes on to study engineering at Tehran University in the 50s. Sam eventually attended another engineering school in London.
The every day life of the family was described in vivid detail. I could visualize the preparation of the tea and the samovar. In this culture, tea must always be available for guests who may stop in unexpectedly. Then there was the wine-making – how they harvested the grapes and then stomped them with their bare feet. (Okay, I admit I had flashbacks to the “I Love Lucy” episode.)
Wonderful historical photos are scattered throughout the book. In the back are some lovely color photos.
I was really surprised when I read one of the old Mesopotamian prayers. This was a prayer in appreciation of the months of the year. What I found surprising was how many of the months listed were the same in the Jewish calendar – Nisan, Iyyar, Tammuz, Ab, Illul, Teshri, Shebat, and Adar.
There were moments when Sam encountered culture shock. At one point he decided to surprise his future wife Linda with an unannounced visit at her parents’ home. Much to his surprise, he finds that Linda has told his parents nothing about him. Now in his culture, the men are “raised to think that men were like gods whom women should worship”.
I loved Sam and Linda’s devoted maid. I got a good laugh at the descriptions of her devotion.
This is an amazing family story. Reading it was like being a part of Sam’s family. This is a piece of Assyrian history preserved.
I highly recommend this book especially to all Assyrians and Iranians.