August 6, 2013

Ancient Persia, Modern Iran: What to read before you go

So many books, so little time. Looking forward to our trip to Iran this Fall, Jack and I have assembled a reading list that already has me buckling at the knees.  We won’t finish all of them—at least I won’t— but I hope to finish one or two in each category.

If you’re planning a trip to Iran, or just interested in the subject, here are a few books we like.  Find more at Longitude Books, one of my favorite sites for travel literature, or at your favorite bookseller.




Iran: Persia: Ancient and Modern by Helen Loveday

Lonely Planet Iran (Country Guide), Andrew Burke, ed.

Among the Iranians: A Guide to Iran’s Culture and Customs by Sophia Kutlaki




A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind by Michael Axworthy

Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia by  J. E Curtis

A History of Modern Iran by Ervand Abrahamian




Art and Archeology:

The Golden Age of Persian Art  by Sheila Canby

Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia by John Curtis and Nigel Tallis

Persepolis: Re-Discovering the Ancient Persian Capital of Modern Day Iran by Gotz Balonier

Persepolis: The Archaeology of Parsa, Seat of the Persian Kings   by Donald N. Wilber



The First Muslim: The Story of Muhammad by Lesley Hazleton

After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split in Isla by Lesley Hazleton,






Lonely Planet Farsi (Persian) Phrasebook by Yavar Dehghan

Old Persian by Roland G. Kent (Available free online)

Old Persian Inscriptions of the Achaemenian Emperors by Sukumar Sen (Available free online)



Persian Poets by Peter Washington






The Good Daughter: A Memoir of My Mother’s Hidden Life by Jasmin Darznik

Honeymoon in Tehran: Two Years of Love and Danger in Iran by Azadeh Moaveni

Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran by Roya Hakakian

Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing up Iranian in America and American in Iran by Azadeh Moaveni





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