Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey From Her Father's Harem Through the Islamic Revolution

Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey From Her Father's Harem Through the Islamic Revolution - Sattareh Farman Farmaian, Dona Munker This is, quite frankly, one of the most fascinating memoirs I have ever read. Sattareh Farman Farmaian was born the year Reza Shah (father of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the ousted Shah of Iran) came to power. Born into one of Iran's noble families, she led a privileged life. However, because of her family's beloved servants, Farmaian was exposed to the squalor in which the majority of her country lived. She became determined to do something to help.After studying abroad to become a social worker, Farmaian returned to her country to establish social work there. Starting with donations from her family and friends, she took on a small cadre of students and taught them how to improve the lot of those around them.The school survived and thrived under Farmaian's tutelage, with support and interest from the Shah's government. However, when the Islamic Republican Revolution (under Ayatollah Khomeini) began, Farmaaian found herself picking up dead bodies in the streets of Tehran ... and more. She was eventually denounced by her own students, narrowly escaped execution, and left her country as a refugee.Farmaian provides an exceptional opportunity to understand Iran's socio-political climate from a non-Western perspective. She writes frankly about the problems that colonial-type interventions from Britain and the US caused in the country, as well as how the country's cultural attitude of "wait and see which way the wind blows" added to the eventual cultural fire.I cannot recommend this book highly enough to those who wish to understand more about Persian culture and how it came to be where it is today.