Book Review: Prisoner of Tehran: A Memoir by Marina Nemat

I've been reading many books about the Middle East for the last few years. I view this as a good thing for many reasons. If more Americans had been reading about the region for the last fifty years, perhaps there would be more stability and less violence there. Who knows, maybe not.

The most recent book is Prisoner of Tehran: A Memoir by Marina Nemat. Free Press, a division of Simon & Schuster published the book this year. It is the story of Marina Nemat, an Iranian expatriate living in Canada. Marina was a sixteen-year-old public high school student in the late 1970s and early 1980s when the Shah was deposed. During the following religious and political repression she was arrested as an enemy of the state because she had led a strike in her high school demanding the math teacher stop issuing the Khomeini approved propaganda and begin teaching calculus. Because of this and similar actions she was arrested and sentenced to execution.

Prisoner of Tehran is the story of her life in Evin prison and her resulting immigration to the United States. Despite the events occurring more than twenty years ago Prisoner of Tehran is a poignant story because so many similar things are done on a daily basis throughout the world today.

I recommend reading Nemat's book. At times it seems like the story of an adolescent from anywhere in the world trying to grow up. Other times her experiences warn the reader against the extremes of any religion or political group.

I encourage everyone to learn about the Middle East. If your attention has not been focused there yet, it should be. The role the Middle East will play on the future of the world is uncertain, but it is likely to be significant.

Here are some links to Prisoner of Tehran and other books I've read about the Middle East and Afghanistan.

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