A History of Iran

  • by Michael Axworthy
  • Narrated by Peter Ganim
  • 13 hrs and 19 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Although frequently vilified, Iran is a nation of great intellectual variety and depth, and one of the oldest continuing civilizations in the world. Its political impact has been tremendous, not only on its neighbors in the Middle East but also throughout the world. From the time of the prophet Zoroaster, to the powerful ancient Persian Empires, to the revolution of 1979, the hostage crisis, and the current standoff over Iran’s nuclear ambitions, Michael Axworthy vividly depicts the nation’s rich history. He explains clearly and carefully both the complex succession of dynasties that ruled ancient Iran and the surprising ethnic diversity of the modern country, held together by a common culture. With Iran again the focus of the world’s attention, A History of Iran is an essential guide to understanding this volatile nation.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Extremely biased, not a good historical survey.

At first, I thought this was a pretty good book. It started out and spent a decent amount of time going into detail about the Achaemenid empire. Oddly enough, the author even covers the Qajar dynasty, which many books skim over. Unfortunately, it became extremely obvious the author was biased once the 1900s arrived. As soon as the author began to describe the Pahlavi dynasty, the blame game began. Everything is the fault of the British, US, and the evil capitalists.

For a book about Iranian history, it's incredible that the author spends about 10 minutes talking about H.I.M. Muhammad Reza Shah. Even if someone hates what the Shah did or stood for, no historical record of Iran could be complete without spending at least an entire chapter on the time period between 1900 and 1979.

To make matters worse, the author actually appears to be a supporter of the post-79 regime that has murdered so many, and destroyed the nation.

Another aspect of the book that is bad is that the author's personal feelings towards American leaders, notably Republican George Bush, is obviously very negative. When I'm listening to a book about Iranian history, the last thing I want to hear is the author's personal feelings. Especially anti-American rhetoric.

The author mistakingly states that before Obama, no one had tried to talk or negotiate with Iran. This is absolutely false, as every single US President has made many attempts to communicate and in fact, negotiate with the monsters.

The only way that this book makes sense is if the author is an IRGC employee. The nonsense at the end about the nuclear investigations makes it very clear that he is biased or simply on the regime's payroll.

If you want to read a good, historical record about Iran, pick up a copy of Amir Taheri's The Persian Night.
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- Mitch

Lazy Narration

It's a 4 star book. Narration was great as far as voice acting is concerned, but the narrator kept on unnecessarily and even pretentiously trying to pull off an "authentic" pronunciation when uttering an Iranian word or name, while having no idea what the Persian language sounds like. I'll go over a few of the many:

1) He insistently over-pronounced every 'h' consonant as in an Arabic 'hard h', while anyone having picked up a rudimentary sense of Persian phonetics from having heard a conversation or two would know that it doesn't have a hard h.

2) The familiar French loan word "montage" (pronounced "montaazh" in Persian) was pronounced "montazeh", obviously confusing the 'zh' consonant with a distinct 'z' and 'h'.

3) Even recently prominent proper names (like "Ahmadinejad") regularly featured in the news were mispronounced.

This is not a librivox recording that you'd do for free as a hobby. You are paid for this and should act professionally and responsibly. Put in some effort, do your homework.
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- Arya Pourtabatabaie

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-16-2014
  • Publisher: Audible Studios