"Well documented with both primary and secondary sources gathered during years of travel, interviews, and archival research, this collection is immensely readable, addressing the politics of the period while avoiding politicization."—Choice
As the 25th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution approached, Abbas Milani realized that very little, if any, attention had been given to the entire prerevolutionary generation. Political upheavals and a tradition of neglecting the history of past regimes have resulted in a cultural memory loss, erasing the contributions of a generation of individuals. Eminent Persians seeks to rectify that loss. Milani’s groundbreaking portrait of modern Iran reveals the country’s rich history through the lives of the men and women who forged it. Consisting of 150 profiles of the most important innovators in Iran between World War II and the Islamic Revolution, the book includes politicians, entrepreneurs, poets, artists, and thinkers who brought Iran into the modern era with brilliant success and sometimes terrible consequences. The biographies and essays weave a richly textured tapestry of lives, ideas, and events that reveals the true story of these decades in the life of a nation.
The two volumes are divided into sections on politics, economics, and culture, each accompanied by an introductory essay that places the individual stories in their broader historical context. Drawn from interviews, extensive archival material, and private correspondence, Eminent Persians is a treasure trove of original documents, many appearing in print for the first time. Detailed sketches of personalities and personal foibles offer a compelling and highly readable account of this remarkable period of history on a human scale.
Abbas Milani is the Hamid and Christina Moghadam Director of Iranian Studies at Stanford University where he
is also a research fellow at the Hoover Institution. He is the author of The Persian Sphinx: Amir Abbas Hoveyda and the Riddle of the Iranian Revolution, Lost Wisdom: Rethinking Modernity in Iran, and Tales of Two Cities: A Persian Memoir.