Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran

Children of Paradise The Struggle for the Soul of Iran The drama that shaped today s Iran from the Revolution to the present day In seemingly overnight moving at a clip some thirty years faster than the rest of the world Iran became the first revol

  • Title: Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran
  • Author: Laura Secor
  • ISBN: 9781594487101
  • Page: 180
  • Format: Hardcover
  • The drama that shaped today s Iran, from the Revolution to the present day In 1979, seemingly overnight moving at a clip some thirty years faster than the rest of the world Iran became the first revolutionary theocracy in modern times Since then, the country has been largely a black box to the West, a sinister presence looming over the horizon But inside Iran, a breatThe drama that shaped today s Iran, from the Revolution to the present day In 1979, seemingly overnight moving at a clip some thirty years faster than the rest of the world Iran became the first revolutionary theocracy in modern times Since then, the country has been largely a black box to the West, a sinister presence looming over the horizon But inside Iran, a breathtaking drama has unfolded since then, as religious thinkers, political operatives, poets, journalists, and activists have imagined and reimagined what Iran should be They have drawn as deeply on the traditions of the West as of the East and have acted upon their beliefs with urgency and passion, frequently staking their lives for them With than a decade of experience reporting on, researching, and writing about Iran, Laura Secor narrates this unprecedented history as a story of individuals caught up in the slipstream of their time, seizing and wielding ideas powerful enough to shift its course as they wrestle with their country s apparatus of violent repression as well as its rich and often tragic history Essential reading at this moment when the fates of our countries have never been entwined, Children of Paradise will stand as a classic of political reporting an indelible portrait of a nation and its people striving for change.

    One thought on “Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran”

    1. First, thank you to Viking Books at Penguin Random House for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. Children of Paradise is a book that has filled a yawning gap in my knowledge - it presents a history of Iran through understanding the development of political theory and institutions. It is a sweeping work of cultural criticism that moves between political history, literature, and religious theory activists and children's literature. That last bit is about The Little Black Fish (ما [...]

    2. I received a lovely e-mail from the publisher of "Children of Paradise", suggesting I might be interested in reading this book having read and appreciated "Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity",by Katherine Boo. I've been in both countries 'India' and 'Iran'. I was and am interested. Author, Laura Secor, says"After 1979, Americans seldom traveled to Iran, and the press reports of any depth were surprisingly rare". I was in Iran in 1975. It was very common to [...]

    3. The story of the past 30+ years of Iran’s dissent and reform movements are told through key events and the biographies of reformers, journalists and activists, most of whom are unknown to the US public.Author Laura Secor first cites the influences on the people/events she later profiles: Samad Behrangi’s children’s story of a heroic martyred fish; Jalal Al-e Ahmad’s “Westoxification” advocating that Iran modernize by building on its own literature and culture; Ali Shiarati’s charis [...]

    4. Thank you to Penguin Random House for gifting me with a free copy of Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran in exchange for an honest review!There are several large topics I'd like to cover in this review so let's get started!1. The research and the content. The first thing I'd like to mention is how much research went into this. There are countless interviews and paper sources pieced together with the author's own experience. I honestly can't imagine how long it took to accumul [...]

    5. Has any people anywhere in the world deserved a democracy more than the Iranian people? They keep dying and getting tortured and imprisoned and yet they keep going out in the streets and writing and fighting their government.This book was absolutely riveting and totally heartbreaking. You must read this book if you want to understand Iran. I should mention that these are my people. And Soroush, one of the main characters in her story, is a friend of my parents. My mom spent time in Evin and was [...]

    6. This is probably the best English-language history of the politics of Iran focused on the Green Movement. It is a partisan book--no one will fail to notice the author's engagement with the movement of the modernizing Iranian middle class to break free of the stifling repression imposed by the clerical government--but it is firm in its judgment of the negative aspects of the liberal intellectuals--their addiction to philosophizing where practical action was needed, which cost them dearly over and [...]

    7. A long, powerful, tremendously well-reported history of the ideological origins of the Iranian revolution and its reformers and dissidents. Chronological but not a straight history - it's seen through the people and especially the ideas that shape the times. If you are into a grim, careful book that takes you inside a country often seen as opaque or monolithically evil, this is precisely for you. In particular, I couldn't help but be struck by the way everyday life and the paranoia of living und [...]

    8. In the late 1960s, the first fissures began to appear in Iranian intellectual life that would lead to the earthquake of the country's 1979 revolution. As the country rapidly modernized under the Shah, writers, clerics and poets began to articulate ideas that inspired the revolutionaries who deposed Iran's ruling class, setting the country on a new course internationally and promulgating a style of government never before seen in history. Neither Iran or the world have been the same since. This b [...]

    9. Laura Secor has written about Iran for many major publications and has worked at The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The American Prospect and Lingua Franca. She has been a fellow at the New York Public Library's Cullman Center and the American Academy in Berlin and has taught journalism at NYU and Princeton.To say she is well versed in the subject matter would be an understatement. She tells this story of individuals, some famous, some not, caught up in the times, seizing and wielding ideas p [...]

    10. This is the best nonfiction book I've ever read about Iran! It made me cry during a few passages about political dissidents in jail I like the story of the black fish that undergirds the book. And the last line was perfect.

    11. As I finish reading Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran by Laura Secor, Iran is conducting parliamentary elections and has concluded a nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Laura Secor’s history of Iran from before the the 1979 Islamic Revolution arrives just in time for US Readers to understand this moment in time for Iran. My hope is that Secor’s history will help those of us in the US to move beyond the fearful reflex we have in the US about everything Iranian, and replace [...]

    12. A sort of philosophical-cultural-political journey through Iran over the last 50 years. It's not really a history, because it stays too close to the ground. It is written by a journalist, so it is based more on personalities and events. It does not give a bird's-eye view. Still, I felt like I got a sense of the personal landscape. A chart of the people and their roles would have helped me. Because most of the names were unfamiliar to me, I had trouble keeping track of the players without a score [...]

    13. In the US, we tend to view Iran as a monolith--entirely one thing before the revolution, entirely another thing after 1979. If there's one thing at which Laura Secor excels in this book, it is breaking down that misconception. She tells the story of post-revolutionary Iran not as a historian, but as a journalist, following personal narratives into surprising and enlightening territory.The characters she focuses on are generally counter-cultural figures. Whether religious or secular, the thing th [...]

    14. I read about 1/3 of it, and got frustrated. The flap on the inside of the front cover raves because the author talks about all the thinkers in Iran -- artists, politicians, literary figures, blah, blah, etc. -- which would be great except that did she need to talk about ALL of them? It all begins to run together, and yet, in another sense, it's too tidy of a narrative. She makes pronouncements about peoples' motives, their guiding purposes, the results of whatever it is they were trying to do, w [...]

    15. ('Haaretz', 5.4.16. haaretz/jewish/books/.)'Westoxification' and worse: Probing Iran’s turbulent historyTwo new books – by American journalist Laura Secor and human rights activist and lawyer Shirin Ebadi – shed light on Iran's complex political and religious psyche.By Akin Ajayi “Children of Paradise: The Struggle for the Soul of Iran,” by Laura Secor, Riverhead Books, 508 pp $30“Until We Are Free: My Struggle for Human Rights in Iran,” by Shirin Ebadi, Random House, 304 pp $27In [...]

    16. I knew very little about the modern political situation in Iran going into this book. I had some idea that Iran had a supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, but also had some elections held for president and parliament. I knew that it was an Islamic state with a regime suspicious to the west and supported by oil. I also knew, of course, that the United States had reached a nuclear deal though I had no insight into what the state of the current regime looked like.I did not know the influence of Ali Sharia [...]

    17. "Iran doesn't have a culture of passive citizenship, despite the best efforts of its rulers, past and present, to produce one. What it does have in many quarters is a restless determination to challenge injustice and to seize control of its destiny." Laura Secor's subtle reflections and confidently produced insights into the turbulent and often violent ideological battles inside the Islamic Republic yields an exceptional book. Her intent is to reveal the deep intellectual roots of the Islamic Re [...]

    18. Children of Paradise is an excellent read that details the dissent and reform movements in Iran since the 1979 revolution. Secor does a fantastic job giving life to the individuals in Iran who have been fighting to make a real difference, giving ink to a different side of Iran that doesn't typically get covered in the media.Secor made an active choice to have the book focus on the people of Iran, ignoring many of the typical pitfalls of books that try to cover a foreign country but get bogged do [...]

    19. Actually, I am still listening to this book, but wanted to start the review before I forget a point. The audiobook reader is excellent , but unless you have already sorted the cast of characters in your head, you may regret not having their names in front of you in typeface. To my western and untrained ear, some of the names sounded similar, so I ended up listening for the feel of the general cultural history rather than sorting out the individual actors. I have some regrets about this, as they [...]

    20. This book is a must read for anyone who enjoys history, politics strong characters and anyone who wants to really about Iran. This is not a historical novel with dry and wry characters. Every significant event in the last few decades has been written with hidstorical accuracy and yet not losing the emotional philisophical connection it has to society

    21. Good history of the people and principles of Iran's 3 contemporary factions, although understandably better and more insightful on the reformers and moderates than conservatives.

    22. Fantastic insight into a country that we really don't know. This is not a sympathetic book about an evil country that we don't understandis is a carefully crafted documentary about specific people/leaders in Iran who have believed in a religious philosophy that morphed into an unrecognizable nightmare for the country, their religion, and their dreams for a functioning, fair government. Ms. Secor has presented a great recent history of the people who have tried to change the government of Iran th [...]

    23. Children of Paradise offers a fascinating view into Iran's past 30 years, through the eyes of its dissidents. It offers insight into the internal complexity of the Iranian system and the ideas that shaped the revolution and the years that followed. From the national fascination with Karl Popper, which the author notes as a household name in the '80s, to the rejection of Max Weber during show trials in the early 2000s, the book adds depth to a country that's mostly been simplified to being a memb [...]

    24. An excellent study on the horrific consequences of the Iranian Islamic revolution. Quite a tough read, be prepared to suffer through a very painful and thorough description of the many tragedies Iranian people suffered. Since I visited a country I became very interested in its history. This book paints a rather dark and dusturbing portrait of the crushed hopes of the young sentimental romantics. These children of the revolution hoped to build the better future for their country. Many of them ins [...]

    25. Absolute trash.This book is sentimental nonsense, mixed with Iranian propaganda, written by an individual that has no deep understanding or knowledge of history.This publication does little except parroting some radical Iranian nationalist propaganda and anti-Western nonsense, although it is possible for an individual with a bit of analytical skills to see that the Iranian revolutionaries were a hodgepodge of nihilistic youths influenced by the ideas of the very same West they allegedly rejected [...]

    26. While I found the first fifty pages enlightening, I ultimately stopped reading this book after struggling to reach page 100. Secor does an admirable job of relaying the minutely detailed political and philosophical thoughts of countless Iranians. Personally, the book read more as textbook for me. I would rather gain a thorough understanding of key figures through individual biographies. I felt like I was only glimpsing the ideologies of various figures, rather than attaining rememberable insight [...]

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