Persian Mirrors: The Elusive Face of Iran by Elaine Sciolino

I cannot praise this book too highly. I have read other books on modern Iran, but this book gives a much more detailed, complex, and fascinating look at what life in Iran is actually like. The author paints a picture of a vibrant and spirited people struggling desperately against a hated theocracy, and a theocracy struggling equally desperately to hang on to power. The most fascinating and perplexing aspect of Iranian collective psychology is the ambivalent love-hate attitude toward the United States. There is still very much a “Death to America” chorus in modern Iran, but Iranians also see America as a place of hope and opportunity that is sadly lacking in their own country. And the booming youth of Iran have no use for the Revolution or for theocracy, presenting a tantalizing hint of what Iran might look like ten years from now. This is a wonderful, wonderful book that deserves to be read by more Americans.

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