Children's LiteraturePart of the "Nations in Conflict" series, this reference text presents a political history of Iran, focusing particularly on the dichotomy between turmoil and stability experienced by its residents. While the nation has experienced radical changes in government and other power structures, other aspects of the cultureIslam, for examplehave remained constant. Readers are introduced first to the geography of Iran, its climate, terrain, and natural resources. They are then taken back in time and invited to explore Iran's history from ancient times to the present, discussing Islamic Persia, the Safavids, the Qajars, the Constitutional Revolution, and the Pahlavis, under whom the nation became known as Iran. The next chapter describes the political turmoil of the region, introducing such key people as Khomeini and Khatami. The final chapter addresses the uncertainty of Iran's future, discussing several attempts at progressive reform. While the text contains information that is thought-provoking, it does little to provide a portrait into real life in Iran. In the text's entirety, only two paragraphs discuss the people of Iran, and there is no inclusion of traditions, beliefs, daily lifethe kinds of details that might help readers find a connection with people who reside in a place to which they are unlikely to travel. There is an intriguing photograph of several young girls dressed in traditional clothing awaiting the start of the school day, for example, that deserves greater treatment and is likely to evoke thought and discussion in a way that a summary of historical events cannot. 2005, Blackbirch Press, Ages 12 to 17.
Wendy Glenn, Ph.D.