Neither East Nor West

Neither East Nor West

One Woman's Journey Through the Islamic Republic of Iran

Book - 2001
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Baker & Taylor
Combining reminiscence, travelogue, historical study, unforgettable portraits, and interviews with Iranians of all walks of life, this intriguing odyssey through modern-day Iran captures a complex nation shrouded by misunderstanding, cultural stereotypes, and hostility.

& Taylor

Combining reminiscence, travelogue, history, and interviews with Iranians from all walks of life, a journey through modern-day Iran reveals a nation shrouded by misunderstanding, cultural stereotypes, and hostility.

Simon and Schuster
Here is the Islamic Republic of Iran today, in all its beauty, ferocity, and contradiction -- from the modern bustling capital of Tehran to the medieval holy city of Qom. A fusion of eloquent travelogue, historical inquiry, unforgettable portraits of people, and interviews with Iranians from all walks of life, Neither East Nor West is a landmark contribution to both travel writing and cultural studies, as well as a timely illumination of an enthralling nation deeply misunderstood by most Westerners. Christiane Bird, who spent several years of her early childhood in Iran, sets out to write a simple safarnameh -- the Persian word for travelogue or, literally, travel letter -- but soon delivers much more. In describing the sights, sounds, and overall tenor of life in Iran today, she helps to break through the silence that has surrounded the country's culture -- as opposed to its politics -- for nearly twenty years. Up until the election of Iran's moderate President Khatami in 1997, virtually no Americans were allowed into the Islamic Republic. Bird presents an altogether unprecedented and riveting glimpse of contemporary Iran. Her travels take her from the sacred pilgrimage site of Mashhad, visited by more than twelve million Shi'ites every year, to the haunting, isolated valley of Alamut, once home to the legendary cult of the Assassins. She visits mosques, public baths, Khomeini's former home, and a Caspian Sea resort, and attends Friday prayer meetings and a horse racing meet. Along the way, she talks to everyone from muleteers to ayatollahs, Kurds to Turkomans, Westernized Iranians to traditional Iranians -- many of whom invite her home for dinner or a cup of tea. As an American woman traveling alone, largely by bus, Bird offers an insightful look at a complex nation that has long been obscured by unfortunate stereotypes and misunderstandings.

Publisher: New York : Pocket Books, 2001
ISBN: 9780671027551
Branch Call Number: 955.054 Bir
955.054 BIR 2001


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WVMLStaffPicks Dec 22, 2014

A woman travels alone to Iran, a place her family called home when she was a child. She sets out in 1998, to write a "safarnameh", the Persian word for travelogue. What she delivers is an engaging and insightful portrait of a country and people undergoing enormous change while upholding ancient traditions. This is travel writing at its evocative best.


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