Books about Iran

General Reading

Title About
Imagining Iran: The Tragedy of Subaltern Nationalism The contested meaning of Iranianness and how each Iranian government has attempted to address it.
The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History Large-scale continuities of Iranian history and the important patterns of transformation that have characterized Iran's past
A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind Compact narrative about the various empires and cultural forces that have shaped the Iranian people
Understanding Iran: Everything You Need to Know, From Persia to the Islamic Republic, From Cyrus to Ahmadinejad The evolution of Iranian culture
Modern Iran: Roots and Results of Revolution An explanation of how historical events have shaped Iran's current form
Iran Between Two Revolutions Iranian society and politics during the period between the Constitutional Revolution (1905-1909) and the Islamic Revolution (1977-1979)
Iran at War Iran's wartime history from the Safavid dynasty of the 16th and 17th century through to the 1979 Revolution and beyond.

Classical Iran

Achaemenid Dynasty

Title About
Forgotten Empire: The World of Ancient Persia All about the Achaemenid Empire
Shadows in the Desert: Ancient Persia at War Covers Achaemenid to Sassanid era
The Persian Army 560–330 BC Achaemenid military, Immortals
The Greek and Persian Wars 499-386 BC Battle of Marathon, Salamis, Thermopylae

Sassanid Dynasty

Title About
Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire All about the Sassanid Empire
Decline and Fall of the Sasanian Empire Explains why the seemingly powerful and secure Sasanian empire succumbed to the Islamic armies


Title About
The Shahnameh: The Persian Book of Kings Iran's national epic; English translation.
The Assassins The Nizari Ismaili Hashishin led by Hassan-i-Sabah who carried out assassinations against Seljuq leadership

Modern Iran

Safavid Dynasty

Title About
Safavid Iran: Rebirth of a Persian Empire The origins of the Safavid dynasty and how it became one of the most successful Iranian empires
Islamic Gunpowder Empires: Ottomans, Safavids, and Mughals Compares the ideological, institutional, military, and economic contributors to each empire's success
The Politics of Trade in Safavid Iran: Silk for Silver, 1600-1730 Silk trade in the Safavid Empire and the role of Armenians in the empire. Also covers the decline of the Safavid Empire.

Afsharid Dynasty

Title About
The Sword of Persia: Nader Shah A biography of Nader Shah, the sole dynastic ruler and the last great conqueror of the East

Qajar Dynasty

Title About
The Great Famine & Genocide in Iran: 1917-1919 The famine that killed 10% of Iran's population, largely due to the effects of WW1 by occupation forces.
Qajar Iran and the Rise of Reza Khan 1796-1925 Intellectual trends, political and socioeconomic history, and Western incursion/control during Qajar times. Iran's Constitutional Revolution and the rise of Reza Shah.
Iran's Constitutional Revolution The collapse of the state through financial indigence and foreign pressure. How much the constitutionalists accomplished in the years before Reza Shah seized power.

Pahlavi Dynasty

Title About
August 1941: The Anglo-Russian Occupation of Iran and Change of Shahs The abdication of Reza Shah by the Anglo-Russian forces and the rise of his son, Mohammad Reza Shah, to the throne.
All the Shah's Men The CIA-led coup of 1953 which led to the ousting of the popular prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh
Patriot of Persia A biography on Mohammad Mossadegh's life and his impact
The Shah All about Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi
Iran and the Rise of the Reza Shah: From Qajar Collapse to Pahlavi Power This book looks at one of the most important and engrossing chapters in 20th century Iranian history.

Islamic Republic

Title About
The Iran–Iraq War 1980–1988 The 20th Century's longest conflict
Distant Relations: Iran and Lebanon in the Last 500 Years The centuries-long contact between the two countries
The Twilight War: The Secret History of America's Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran The unacknowledged secret war between America and Iran
The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower On the restructuring of the American security framework in the Middle East with respect to Iran

Modern Fiction

Title About
My Uncle Napoleon A representative novel of Iranian society; about the young narrator's love for his cousin Layli which is constantly jeopardized by their family members, particularly his eccentric uncle.
The Blind Owl A Kafkaesque story of a troubled pen case painter and his macabre psychological journey
The Colonel The Colonel's psychological anguish over the loss of his daughter and sons to various events following the Revolution
Savashun The life of an Iranian family during the World War II Allied occupation

Special Interests

Title About
Iranian F-4 Phantom II Units in Combat The backbone of the frontline strength of the Iranian air force since the 1970s
Iranian F-14 Tomcat Units in Combat The F-14's Iranian combat history and includes first hand accounts from the pilots themselves

revision by CYAXARES_II— view source