women in 20th century Iran (under Shah Pahlavi and Khomeini)

I like to know about any recommendations for the books which are a “must” from others. I do read book’s reviews at Amazon and other sites (especially homeschooling stuff, it saved me from purchasing many over-marketed books), then I check them out from the library.

The last 2 weeks I’ve read 2 books, memoirs written by Iranian women who lived throughout the Shah and Khomeini times. You will become familiar with the culture, traditions and customs of the people of 20th century Iran as well as meet 2 women who went against the flow of the times, had to learn how to survive, live and tell the story.

“Prisoner of Tehran: a memoir” by Marina Nemat, tells you a story of a girl imprisoned as a teenager, surviving execution, forced to be married to her captor. Fascinating and powerful, one night read. You can’t put it away, every chapter draws your attention to the next. Vividly portrays the prison life, emotional and spiritual turmoil, painting them on the canvas with the background of her life before. As a Catholic believer, she was under even greater scrutiny, but her faith gave her courage and she had few encounters that clearly proved her God to be the One who loves, cares and remembers.

“Persian girls: a memoir” by Nahid Rachlin, starts as a story of a girl who was given by her mother to her barren aunt, and then taken back. She takes you through her family’s events, rather tragic, through the moment that changed her life, going to school in the USA. She struggles to keep her identity and to fit into her new lifestyle, which she expected to be different.

Both of these books dismantle the idea that Shah’s western ways of life, promoted so heavily during his reign, were of a help to the Iranian women. You see the position of a women coming from an era of superficial freedom under Shah, who controlled the society for his personal benefits, to the place of religiously imposed laws, not giving them any other options to chose from.

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