Books on the History, Politics, and People of Iran

By Colleen Rowe | January 5 2023 | Political ScienceHistoryGender and Sexuality StudiesHuman Rights

Following the death of Mahsa Amini, young women have taken to the streets to lead anti-government protests. These demonstrations have been met with police violence, prompting a UN investigation into human rights abuses. These books explore the history and politics of Iran with a particular focus on Iranian women’s experiences.

Children of Paradise
The Struggle for the Soul of Iran
978-0-399-57334-7
The drama that shaped today's Iran, from the Revolution to the present day.
$18.00 US
Feb 07, 2017
Paperback
528 Pages
Riverhead Books


Persepolis 2
The Story of a Return
978-0-375-71466-5
In Persepolis, heralded by the Los Angeles Times as “one of the freshest and most original memoirs of our day,” Marjane Satrapi dazzled us with her heartrending memoir-in-comic-strips about growing up in Iran during the Islamic Revolution. Here is the continuation of her fascinating story.
$16.00 US
Aug 02, 2005
Paperback
192 Pages
Pantheon


Reading Lolita in Tehran
A Memoir in Books
978-0-8129-7930-5
We all have dreams—things we fantasize about doing and generally never get around to. This is the story of Azar Nafisi’s dream and of the nightmare that made it come true.
$20.00 US
Nov 04, 2008
Paperback
400 Pages
Random House Trade Paperbacks

Iran Without Borders
Towards a Critique of the Postcolonial Nation
978-1-78478-068-5
A history of the cosmopolitan forces that made contemporary Iran
$29.95 US
Aug 09, 2016
Hardcover
256 Pages
Verso

Rooftops of Tehran
A Novel
978-0-451-22681-5
"A stirring story about the loss of innocence . . . reveals a side of Iran understood by few Westerners. An ambitious first novel-full of humor, originality, and meaning."—John Shors, author of Beneath a Marble Sky
$16.00 US
May 05, 2009
Paperback
368 Pages
Berkley

Song of a Captive Bird
A Novel
978-0-399-18233-4
A spellbinding debut novel based on the life of the rebel poet Forugh Farrokhzad, who defied Iranian society to find her voice, and love--inspiring generations of women to come.
$17.00 US
Feb 05, 2019
Paperback
432 Pages
Ballantine Books

The Women of Deh Koh
Lives in an Iranian Village
978-0-14-014993-7
“Masterful . . . absorbing. This finely written book gives us a whole new sense of Iran.”—The Washington Post Book World
$16.00 US
Sep 01, 1991
Paperback
256 Pages
Penguin Books

America and Iran
A History, 1720 to the Present
978-0-307-47238-0
By an admired historian, a hugely ambitious, illuminating portrait of the two-centuries-long entwined histories of Iran and America: two powers who were once allies and now adversaries.
$18.00 US
Dec 07, 2021
Paperback
688 Pages
Vintage

Argo
How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History
978-0-14-750973-4
On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the American embassy in Tehran and captured dozens of American hostages, sparking a 444-day ordeal and a quake in global politics still reverberating today.
$17.00 US
Feb 06, 2013
Paperback
320 Pages
Penguin Books

Daughter of Persia
A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem Through the Islamic Revolution
978-0-307-33974-4
An intimate and honest chronicle of the everyday life of Iranian women over the past century
$16.00 US
Jun 27, 2006
Paperback
432 Pages
Crown

The Voyage and the Messenger
Iran and Philosophy
978-1-55643-269-9
"To read Corbin is to learn what it means, at the level of thought, to take the wisdom of the east and the knowledge of the west as the basis of the search for truth."—Jacob Needleman, author of Time and the Soul
$16.95 US
Sep 09, 1998
Paperback
296 Pages
North Atlantic Books

A Beginner's Guide to America
For the Immigrant and the Curious
978-0-525-56592-5
Here is a stirring, witty, and poignant glimpse into the bewildering American immigrant experience from someone who has lived it. Hakakian’s “love letter to the nation that took her in [is also] a timely reminder of what millions of human beings endure when they uproot their lives to become Americans by choice” (The Boston Globe).
$17.00 US
Jan 25, 2022
Paperback
240 Pages
Vintage

Iran Awakening
One Woman's Journey to Reclaim Her Life and Country
978-0-8129-7528-4
The moving, inspiring memoir of one of the great women of our times, Shirin Ebadi, winner of the 2003 Nobel Peace Prize and advocate for the oppressed, whose spirit has remained strong in the face of political persecution and despite the challenges she has faced raising a family while pursuing her work.
$18.00 US
Apr 10, 2007
Paperback
256 Pages
Random House Trade Paperbacks

Brown Album
Essays on Exile and Identity
978-0-525-56471-3
Porochista Khakpour’s family moved to Los Angeles after fleeing the Iranian Revolution, giving up their successes only to be greeted by an alienating culture. Growing up as an immigrant in America means that one has to make one’s way through a confusing tangle of conflicting cultures and expectations.
$16.00 US
May 19, 2020
Paperback
240 Pages
Vintage

Operation Ajax
The Story of the CIA Coup that Remade the Middle East
978-1-78168-923-3
Graphic true-life spy thriller about the CIA mission that overthrew Iran's democracy
$25.95 US
Aug 18, 2015
Paperback
248 Pages
Verso

Shah of Shahs
978-0-679-73801-5
With the same narrative power that dissected the rule of Haile Selassie in The Emperor, Kapuscinski turns his attention to Iran, combining reportage with reflection to deliver what is at once a compelling account of the fall of the Shah in 1979 and a timeless portrait of the terror state and revolution.  Translated by William R. Brand and Kataryna Mroczkowska-Brand.
$16.00 US
Feb 04, 1992
Paperback
160 Pages
Vintage

Censoring an Iranian Love Story
A novel
978-0-307-39042-4
If conducting a love affair in modern Iran is not a simple undertaking, then telling the story of that love may be even more difficult. In a country where mere proximity between a man and a woman may be the prologue to deadly sin, where illicit passion is punished by imprisonment, or even death, telling that most redemptive of human narratives becomes the greatest literary challenge.
$15.95 US
Jun 01, 2010
Paperback
304 Pages
Vintage

A Mirror Garden
A Memoir
978-0-307-27878-4
Both a love story and a celebration of the warmth and elegance of Iranian culture, A Mirror Garden is a genuine fairy tale of an exuberant heroine who has never needed rescuing.
$17.00 US
Aug 12, 2008
Paperback
336 Pages
Anchor

The Devil We Know
Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower
978-0-307-40867-9
Over the past thirty years, while the United States has turned either a blind or dismissive eye, Iran has emerged as a nation every bit as capable of altering America’s destiny as traditional superpowers Russia and China. Indeed, one of this book’s central arguments is that, in some ways, Iran’s grip on America’s future is even tighter.
$15.00 US
Aug 18, 2009
Paperback
288 Pages
Crown



Iran Without Borders
Towards a Critique of the Postcolonial Nation
978-1-78478-068-5
A history of the cosmopolitan forces that made contemporary Iran
$29.95 US
Aug 09, 2016
Hardcover
256 Pages
Verso

The Iranians
Persia, Islam and the Soul of a Nation
978-0-452-27563-8
WITH A NEW AFTERWORD BY THE AUTHOR
$20.00 US
Apr 01, 1998
Paperback
464 Pages
Plume

The Last Great Revolution
Turmoil and Transformation in Iran
978-0-375-70630-1
Acclaimed journalist Robin Wright meticulously describes the ongoing transformation of Iranian society, politics and religion that ranges from the empowerment of women to the blossoming of a movie industry and an independent press. 
$18.00 US
Feb 13, 2001
Paperback
384 Pages
Vintage

Machineries of Oil
An Infrastructural History of BP in Iran
978-0-262-03704-4
The emergence of the international oil corporation as a political actor in the twentieth century, seen in BP's infrastructure and information arrangements in Iran.
$40.00 US
Mar 09, 2018
Hardcover
360 Pages
The MIT Press

Poets and Pahlevans
A Journey into the Heart of Iran
978-0-676-97733-2
Like Reading Lolita in Tehran and Honeymoon in Purdah before it, Poets & Pahlevans explores the vibrant heart of Iran, and the paradoxes that reside in both its history and in its contemporary life.
$16.95 US
Aug 07, 2007
Paperback
304 Pages
Vintage Canada