Iran, an emerging great power of the Middle East, is rarely out of the media spotlight. Whether because of its nuclear ambitions, its confrontation with the US or the provocative rhetoric of its leadership, Iran demands attention.
In this riveting book, William Beeman pries open the complex and multifaceted society that makes up Iran. Sweeping through its history, Beeman seeks to show how Iranian identity has been forged. Although Iran has been profoundly influenced by the experience of many invasions, its natural identity is firmly anchored in its deeply subtle literary and artistic heritage producing the most ethnically diverse yet culturally united country in the Middle East. Iran's national epic, the 'Book of Kings', is one of the gems of world literature with flawed heroes and sympathetic foes striding through its verses. This poetic ambiguity is felt in every aspect of Iranian social and political life today. Thoughtful, and informative, Beeman's book explains this dazzling and much misunderstood country with a verve and in a style which make it a pleasure to read.