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Iran: The Essential Reading List

As Iran emerges from decades of isolation, her ancient monuments, vibrant culture, and millennia-long traditions are making sure that this intriguing nation soars to the top of every discerning traveler’s bucket list. 

To prepare for your journey to Iran, here are five books we think capture the essence of this unique emerging destination.

Empire of the Mind:  A History of Iran by Michael Axworthy
Renowned Arab and Islamic Studies professor Michael Axworthy writes eloquently and authoritatively about Iran’s fascinating and complex history, taking us through each era of Persian and Iranian history from the early Zoroastrians to the challenges and opportunities modern-day Iran faces today. This is history at its best!

The Silk Roads: A New History of the World by Peter Frankopan
Oxford historian Peter Frankopan’s ambitious book mines the rich history of the regions bisected by the ancient Silk Road in an attempt to revisit world history from a non-Occidental perspective.  Illuminating and thought provoking, the thematically arranged book also boasts one of the most beautiful cover designs 2015. 

The Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam
One of the geniuses of the early Middle Ages, Omar Khayyam was a typical Iranian: a man of many talents.  He was a groundbreaking mathematician, astronomer, and philosopher but the revered Persian scholar is probably best known for his beautiful poetry, the most famous of which are his Rubaiyat or quatrains, including the unforgettable: “A book of verses underneath the bough, a jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou beside me singing in the wilderness, and Oh, wilderness is paradise enow.”

Funny in Farsi by Firoozh Dumas
This humorous memoir is deceptively lighthearted as Firoozh Dumas recounts the story of her family’s move to America in 1971 after the Iranian revolution.   While Dumas’s embrace of all things American is typical of immigrant narratives, her nostalgia for what the family has left behind provides a unique window into the modern Iranian mindset.

Persiana: Recipes from the Middle East & Beyond, Sabrina Ghayour
Saffron, pomegranate, lamb, walnut, sumac, and honey…these are the flavors which immediately come to mind when one thinks of Iranian cuisine, but Persiana is an eloquent testimony to the fact that they are just the beginning! Food offers a unique perspective on a country’s culture, and Sabrina Ghayour’s recipes are easy to follow and a marvelous introduction to the rich culinary traditions of Iran.  

Alexander + Roberts pioneered a tradition of introducing Americans to emerging destinations. Iran now joins that venerable list on our signature Persian Moments tour, always capped at 16 guests.  Speak to one of our knowledgeable reservation agents about your trip to Iran!

Posted: 8/16/2016 4:38:39 PM by Alexander + Roberts