counter create hit Neither East Nor West: One Woman's Journey Through the Islamic Republic of Iran - Download Free eBook
Hot Best Seller

Neither East Nor West: One Woman's Journey Through the Islamic Republic of Iran

Availability: Ready to download

Fusing travelogue, historical inquiry, and interviews with Iranians from all walks of life, Neither East Nor West is a landmark contribution to travel writing and to cultural studies, as well as a timely illumination of a nation deeply misunderstood by most Westerners. In describing life in Iran today, Christiane Bird, an American who spent part of her childhood there, bre Fusing travelogue, historical inquiry, and interviews with Iranians from all walks of life, Neither East Nor West is a landmark contribution to travel writing and to cultural studies, as well as a timely illumination of a nation deeply misunderstood by most Westerners. In describing life in Iran today, Christiane Bird, an American who spent part of her childhood there, breaks the silence that has surrounded Iran's culture -- unlike its politics -- for nearly twenty years. Traveling alone and largely by bus, Bird journeys from the modern, bustling capital of Tehran to the medieval holy city of Qom, from the sacred pilgrimage site of Mashhad -- visited by more than twelve million Shi'ites annually -- to the 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 prayer meetings and a horse racing meet. Along the way, she talks to muleteers and ayatollahs, Kurds and Turkomans, Westernized and traditional Iranians -- many of whom invite her home for a cup of tea. The result is an astounding, insightful journey into the Islamic Republic of Iran -- in all its beauty, ferocity, and contradiction.


Compare

Fusing travelogue, historical inquiry, and interviews with Iranians from all walks of life, Neither East Nor West is a landmark contribution to travel writing and to cultural studies, as well as a timely illumination of a nation deeply misunderstood by most Westerners. In describing life in Iran today, Christiane Bird, an American who spent part of her childhood there, bre Fusing travelogue, historical inquiry, and interviews with Iranians from all walks of life, Neither East Nor West is a landmark contribution to travel writing and to cultural studies, as well as a timely illumination of a nation deeply misunderstood by most Westerners. In describing life in Iran today, Christiane Bird, an American who spent part of her childhood there, breaks the silence that has surrounded Iran's culture -- unlike its politics -- for nearly twenty years. Traveling alone and largely by bus, Bird journeys from the modern, bustling capital of Tehran to the medieval holy city of Qom, from the sacred pilgrimage site of Mashhad -- visited by more than twelve million Shi'ites annually -- to the 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 prayer meetings and a horse racing meet. Along the way, she talks to muleteers and ayatollahs, Kurds and Turkomans, Westernized and traditional Iranians -- many of whom invite her home for a cup of tea. The result is an astounding, insightful journey into the Islamic Republic of Iran -- in all its beauty, ferocity, and contradiction.

30 review for Neither East Nor West: One Woman's Journey Through the Islamic Republic of Iran

  1. 5 out of 5

    Susie Chocolate

    This book took me longer to read than any other book I have read in a very long time! I wanted to read this book because I love to read about Iran and to read a travel book written by an American Woman about Iran sounded very interesting to me but it was not one of those books that you cannot put down and because it is a travel guide book of sorts, it is a slower read. I like the book but that is because I am an Iranian/American and all the details she offered about her travels were of interest This book took me longer to read than any other book I have read in a very long time! I wanted to read this book because I love to read about Iran and to read a travel book written by an American Woman about Iran sounded very interesting to me but it was not one of those books that you cannot put down and because it is a travel guide book of sorts, it is a slower read. I like the book but that is because I am an Iranian/American and all the details she offered about her travels were of interest but I cannot imagine that a travel book of such detail would be interesting to any body else that either wasn't from Iran or had no intentions of traveling to Iran. The best take away from the book is that the Author left Iran with a very good sense of the kindness and hospitality of the Iranian people that Iranians are famous for. Here she was, a blond single American woman traveling around Iran which is very challenging and uncommon but she was met with kindness, curiousity and general good feelings. She saw more than most Iranians who live in the country ever do and she traveled by modes of transportation that I personally have never entertained and so kudos to her for her bravery and her interest in trying to understand a culture and people that are from a very different world than her Western World.

  2. 5 out of 5

    M Carmichael

    A thought provoking travelogue. My white male priveledge was challenged by the author's feminine perspective. Much of her experience and challenges, traveling as a woman in Iran, would be foriegn to me. Like Twain said "travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness". Her journey through Iran revealed it's complexity. As all Americans are not "devils", so all Iranians are not "fanatics". A thought provoking travelogue. My white male priveledge was challenged by the author's feminine perspective. Much of her experience and challenges, traveling as a woman in Iran, would be foriegn to me. Like Twain said "travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrow mindedness". Her journey through Iran revealed it's complexity. As all Americans are not "devils", so all Iranians are not "fanatics".

  3. 4 out of 5

    Constance Chevalier

    I loved the book even though I took it slow. It was very detailed in the descriptions of major cities, customs and historical figures. Half way through I reread the book, The Forty Rules of Love, by Elif Shefak who tells the story Rumi and Shams of Tabriz that takes place in 1245. The other story in the book is of Ella and Aziz, who writes the book, Sweet Blasphemy, that Ella reads as an editor, which takes place in 2008. The history of this land is intriguing. Christiane travels and researches I loved the book even though I took it slow. It was very detailed in the descriptions of major cities, customs and historical figures. Half way through I reread the book, The Forty Rules of Love, by Elif Shefak who tells the story Rumi and Shams of Tabriz that takes place in 1245. The other story in the book is of Ella and Aziz, who writes the book, Sweet Blasphemy, that Ella reads as an editor, which takes place in 2008. The history of this land is intriguing. Christiane travels and researches about modern day Iran, focusing at first on major cities such as Tehran, Tabriz ( where she spent her early childhood ) and Qom. She explains a lot of the ancient Persian history as well as modern day history of the Shahs and then the Revolution in 1979. Towards the end of her three month visit, she visits Esfahan, Shiraz and Persepolis. She explains the history of women's clothing, including the hejab. She speaks to women of all ages and answers questions about America, specifically Bill Clinton and Monica Lewinski. :) The whole visit she dressed modestly with a veil. She spoke Farsi and took many notes. The whole book is fascinating.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Sophie

    This would make for a really great audio book but was a little hard for me to get through reading wise.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Heather

    As a complement to Jason Elliott's book on Iran, I read Christiane Bird's Neither East Nor West: One Woman's Journey through the Islamic Republic of Iran. It was an excellent travelogue or safarnameh in Farsi. I liked it even better than Elliott's book because 1. it was from a woman's point of view (a huge distinction when talking about Iran) and 2. there were fewer in-depth ruminations on architecture. Bird actually notes many similar observations to Elliott, but her experiences interacting with As a complement to Jason Elliott's book on Iran, I read Christiane Bird's Neither East Nor West: One Woman's Journey through the Islamic Republic of Iran. It was an excellent travelogue or safarnameh in Farsi. I liked it even better than Elliott's book because 1. it was from a woman's point of view (a huge distinction when talking about Iran) and 2. there were fewer in-depth ruminations on architecture. Bird actually notes many similar observations to Elliott, but her experiences interacting with Iranian people were quite different than his. Although they both enjoyed the traditional hospitality of the people, Bird's hosts were very protective. They didn't understand why a woman might travel alone and constantly insisted on escorting her. This was somewhat annoying at times, when people insinuated themselves into, and sometimes completely derailed her plans, but it led to a deeper understanding of the culture. She also has a chance to discuss and experience issues around veiling and the hejab with women from all different parts of the country. She learns that it is a much more complicated issue than educated + westernized + urban = secular/anti-veil. Coming from an American viewpoint her book also reveals some of the attitudes towards the U.S. and the love-hate feelings many people have for things American. Since her book was based on experiences 10 years ago when there was a more liberal president in office, I'd be interested in finding a reliable source for what life is like in Iran at present, especially for women.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

    Very interesting book, but twice as long as it needed to be. Christiane returns to Iran where her family spent several years of her childhood. She is now a journalist, who is trying to figure out the culture and religion of present-day Iran and she comes up with enlightening perspectives. Contrary to western thought, Ayatollah Khomeini and his revolution are highly revered. Many women do feel protected by the cultural traditions of Iran. Christiane brings out the great literacy history of Persia Very interesting book, but twice as long as it needed to be. Christiane returns to Iran where her family spent several years of her childhood. She is now a journalist, who is trying to figure out the culture and religion of present-day Iran and she comes up with enlightening perspectives. Contrary to western thought, Ayatollah Khomeini and his revolution are highly revered. Many women do feel protected by the cultural traditions of Iran. Christiane brings out the great literacy history of Persians ~ a fact seldom realized in the West. Many men she meant were closet poets. But to get these concepts across could take half the pages and I really would have appreciated a glossary in the back to explain what are the chador, hejab, rusari, manteau ~ articles of clothing but which articles of clothing?

  7. 5 out of 5

    Michelle

    This book was fascinating. I really enjoyed looking at this fascinating country through Bird's eyes. I knew her politics before and wasn't sure she and I would be "fellow travelers" but I really enjoyed getting to know her through her perceptions of the people and places around her. She really seemed ready to experience while judging as little as possible, ready to believe that there were things she didn't understand but that this made them no less real, ready to wonder who was really right--or This book was fascinating. I really enjoyed looking at this fascinating country through Bird's eyes. I knew her politics before and wasn't sure she and I would be "fellow travelers" but I really enjoyed getting to know her through her perceptions of the people and places around her. She really seemed ready to experience while judging as little as possible, ready to believe that there were things she didn't understand but that this made them no less real, ready to wonder who was really right--or if that even mattered. I liked reading her "travel" scenes, describing the places she saw--but what makes this book worthwhile is reading her descriptions of the people she met--the cranky, the friendly, the eager, the contradictory, the paradoxical. Lovely, lovely book.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Anya

    This book was recommended by Mahbod Iraji (the author of Rooftops of Tehran) and I thought that since I loved his novel and my chances of traveling to Iran are non-existent at this time, I’d give a try to this travelogue. I was captivated by the personable narrations of Ms. Bird. She really did her best in being objective to a country that’s viewed by most Americans as one of the greatest evils in the world. Despite the fact that I understand now that Iran is a country of complex contradictions This book was recommended by Mahbod Iraji (the author of Rooftops of Tehran) and I thought that since I loved his novel and my chances of traveling to Iran are non-existent at this time, I’d give a try to this travelogue. I was captivated by the personable narrations of Ms. Bird. She really did her best in being objective to a country that’s viewed by most Americans as one of the greatest evils in the world. Despite the fact that I understand now that Iran is a country of complex contradictions inhabited by incredibly hospitable people, I am still not sure I could ever be as brave as the author and traverse that land by myself. I wish there were other and more recent travel accounts of that part of the world.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Iffat

    Either she deliberately seemed confused or was really confused, I couldn't tell. Either she herself had many complexes and didn't know what to feel or wasn't really sure if she should be feeling this way for the Iranians. One thing was clear though,the Muslim world has left a deep impact on Bird : ) to the point of pushing her out of her comfort and 'spiritual' zones. The West may also never understand what Hijab means to women. They actually might also understand but I guess are afraid of givin Either she deliberately seemed confused or was really confused, I couldn't tell. Either she herself had many complexes and didn't know what to feel or wasn't really sure if she should be feeling this way for the Iranians. One thing was clear though,the Muslim world has left a deep impact on Bird : ) to the point of pushing her out of her comfort and 'spiritual' zones. The West may also never understand what Hijab means to women. They actually might also understand but I guess are afraid of giving in to the understading of how Muslim women are so happy and comfortable in their roles. They just cannot digest the simplicity of it all. But all in all, I liked the experiences she shared which were always laced heavily with double meanings though.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Matthew John

    The thing I liked most about this book is the picture is provides of the Iranian people. Here in the US, we seem only to be able to deal with characatures -- a people must be either all good or all bad, and that opinion is usually based on our federal government's characterization of that people's government. This book shows that, just as our country is, the Iranian nation is both varied and beautiful. The thing I liked most about this book is the picture is provides of the Iranian people. Here in the US, we seem only to be able to deal with characatures -- a people must be either all good or all bad, and that opinion is usually based on our federal government's characterization of that people's government. This book shows that, just as our country is, the Iranian nation is both varied and beautiful.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lori

    I finished this on the plane to Iran. The author returned to Iran for 3 months in 1998, traveling around the country, after having lived there for several years as a child. The book does a wonderful job of combining information about sites, descriptions of culture and interactions with the people, and historical background and context. It's long and has a leisurely pace, but that was what I was looking for. Great background for anyone traveling to Iran, or just curious about Iran. I finished this on the plane to Iran. The author returned to Iran for 3 months in 1998, traveling around the country, after having lived there for several years as a child. The book does a wonderful job of combining information about sites, descriptions of culture and interactions with the people, and historical background and context. It's long and has a leisurely pace, but that was what I was looking for. Great background for anyone traveling to Iran, or just curious about Iran.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Akkire55

    I am in the process of reading this travelogue. The author does a great job of blending travel, history, and culture with both an objective and personal voice. This would be a good way for people to learn about tradition and values, and debunk any stereotypes American news has created about Iranians.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Toni

    This book was great for religious history: differences between shia and sunni, Zoroastrians, great for Iranian culture, and all that. Her travelogue parts were a bit lengthy and dry. the chapters were average of 40 pages which makes it feel longer.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Aim-ish

    This was a really engrossing, informative, and enlightening description of a series of personal encounters in the Islamic Republic. It's full of insight from many different Iranian perspectives reported by the author. It's fascinating and easy to read. This was a really engrossing, informative, and enlightening description of a series of personal encounters in the Islamic Republic. It's full of insight from many different Iranian perspectives reported by the author. It's fascinating and easy to read.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Victoria

    Suffers American "go it alone" approach. Trust/reliance would have added dimension. She appears to fear it would overwhelm her perceptions, rather than add to them. However, good job in short time span/more reflection than expected. Note similarities w/Soviet Xianity. Suffers American "go it alone" approach. Trust/reliance would have added dimension. She appears to fear it would overwhelm her perceptions, rather than add to them. However, good job in short time span/more reflection than expected. Note similarities w/Soviet Xianity.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bernadette

    An interesting look at woman's trip into Iran, where things anything but black and white. An interesting look at woman's trip into Iran, where things anything but black and white.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

    This book was extreamly GREAT. I really loved it from start to finish. I feel like I was privledged to a very in-depth look into Iran. Fascinating. Great writing.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Tammy

    955.05 Bir

  19. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    An appealing travelogue which will impress upon you the deep generosity of the people of Iran.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Nessa

    Currently reading it and loving it SOOO much! Great franky style- very enjoyable!

  21. 4 out of 5

    Arpitha

  22. 4 out of 5

    Bob

  23. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Shepard

  24. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Pace

  25. 5 out of 5

    Madeline

  26. 4 out of 5

    unholy trinity

  27. 4 out of 5

    Kyla Denae

  28. 4 out of 5

    Debra

  29. 5 out of 5

    Maria Christensen

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer Peters

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.