We Heard the Heavens Then: A Memoir of Iran
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We Heard the Heavens Then: A Memoir of Iran

3.49 of 5 stars 3.49  ·  rating details  ·  57 ratings  ·  20 reviews
ARIA MINU-SEPEHR was raised in a sheltered world of extraordinary privilege as the son of a major general in the Shah’s Imperial Iranian Air Force. It seemed his father could do anything—lead the Golden Crowns in death-defying aerobatic maneuvers; command an air force unit using top American technology; commission a lake to be built on a desert military...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 10th 2012 by Free Press
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Jen
Jan 10, 2014 Jen rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Jen by: BC2
Shelves: book-club
This was a good book and I found it interesting to read about Iran before the revolution and how the western influence disappeared.

I enjoyed his stories and thought they gave an interesting view of those who were well off and those who were less fortunate. I liked his father and how he treated his son, even if it felt a bit reckless at times. For instance, when his father told him to speed up when he was driving down the road in his homemade dune buggy because they were being chased by men with...more
Carol
I couldn't put this one down -- fascinating! The author, now an expatriate living in Oregon, is the son of a major general in the imperial air force of the former Shah of Iran. His father lost his position (and many family friends lost their lives) with the return of the Ayatollah Khomeini. The author's father rose from humble beginnings in Teheran as part of a devout, traditional Muslim family, attended an elite military academy, and married the author's mother, daughter of an aristocratic, mor...more
Book Him Danno
Heartbreaking, simply heartbreaking. Reading this book you get a sense of how close Iran was to being a fully modern, westernized nation. How they would have been a leader for the region, and the world as a whole. Unfortunately they made the mistake of all societies when they undergo such rapid growth and prosperity; they separate into the haves and the have nots. Which wouldn’t be so bad if they provided a a real identifiable path for the nots to share in the wealth and opportunity of the soci...more
Patty
This memoir of a young boy living in Iran as revolution strikes was a compelling book. Young Aria lived a life of privilege as the son of one of the generals of the shah's elite air force. His father, called Baba in the book was a mythic man to young Aria - capable of doing almost anything. Men snapped to his orders and he seemed almost god-like to a young boy. If he wanted a lake in the desert there would be a lake in the desert!


Aria was a very intelligent young man and soon realized that time...more
Casee Marie
{Full review at Literary Inklings.}

One of the reasons I love reading is because it affords me the opportunity to live so many different lives. Memoirs have more recently become one of my favorite things to read for the way they offer personal insights and, occasionally, an educating look at places and histories we may not be familiar with. It’s a gift to be able to learn about different cultures and events through the eyes of someone to whom the experiences meant something monumental. In such a...more
Meg - A Bookish Affair
I really like memoirs. I especially like memoirs when they're about places and times that I don't know much about. We're about 30 years past the Iranian Revolution and there are still new perspectives and information that are coming out about that time period from a broad variety of sources. Aria Minu-Sepehr was just about 10 years old when the revolution took place. Even at that young age, he was well aware that his life was going to change. His family was very well off under the Shah and his d...more
Jennifer
The first part of Minu-Sepehr's childhood was spent in a sheltered, privileged environment as the second son of a powerful Iranian air force general. This memoir mostly focuses on the years of the revolution when he was 8-10, though we read some of his memories from before that period. Minu-Sepehr's father was, to him, a powerful, heroic, incredibly loving figure - an amazing pilot, exacting yet humble leader, indulgent partner in mischief, self-made man who came from an impoverished background....more
Jessica
This is a 3.5 stars rounded up to a 4. I thought this was a well written memoir and captured the turmoil in Iran very well from a child's perspective. I learned things about Iranian history, which is always the sign of a good book to me. I had no idea they were so modern before they went backwards. Such a shame to think about it from Aria's fathers perspective. To be so loyal to your country and to have so much love and patriotism and there be nothing you can do but leave it. Harsh. I really lik...more
Mary Craddock
I did like this book. At first, it was hard to know who was who in terms of the revolution in Iran, but then it became clear. I fell in love with the author's father (Baba). From the author's viewpoint, the father can do no wrong and I agree! The one issue I grappled with was the Shah of Iran's portrayal in the book. Although, it sounds as if the Shah brought a modern lifestyle to Iran, he (the Shah) has been accused of having the U.S. in his back pocket. After reading the book, it didn't matter...more
Misha
I was skeptical because I I've read so many memoirs about growing up during the Islamic Revolution in Iran. However, this one did highlight a new voice and a different experience, from the son of a high-ranking General in the Shah's army.

I have one critique -- I did not like the way the author chose to show maid Bibi's accent / villager dialect.

I have one regret -- that it didn't go on. I found myself wanting to know more about the family's life after they left Iran.

A good read. I recommend.
Kathy


This story is one that is dear to me and I am fascinated by the strength of Iranian families during the revolution. I love the way the memoir is told through his "child eyes". Although the story does slow down at one point and drags a little, for the most part I could not put it down. With all of the negative press Iran receives as a nation in Western society, this is a beautiful glimpse into one well to do Iranian family and a glimpse into the culture.
Guna
This is a story of growing in Iran before the fall of the Shah by a young privileged boy. The times ran from before the Shah, to his overthrow, and Ayatollah Khomeini. One reviewer said it is "an extraordinary story of a child who sees his Paradise turn into Hell...(and) reveals the delusions of the Shah's regime about modernity and exposes the terrifying nature of the turbaned beards' dogma." (Al-Azzawi) It is a very readable, poignant story.
Judy
I heard Aria minu-Sepehr read from this book and comment about his early life in Iran. He lives in Oregon now. He is a compassionate speaker. His memoir moves between his childhood experiences during the Iranian revolution and commentary about the events and people involved. Because he was in the privileged class with Western/modern parents and values, his family was forced to leave Iran. His father and mother remain in Iran as activists/reformists.
Kate
Historically interesting, but the stories became a bit less interesting. Glad to have read.
Hollis
Jul 19, 2012 Hollis rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Hollis by: grassroots
Shelves: didn-t-finish
While I was interested to learn more about the Iranian experience prior to and during the change of teh Shah's regime, this seemed to be more about that life of luxury and privilege enjoyed by the few. And while I realize that if I'd kept reading, it would have changed, I wasn't interested enough to continue.
Gail
This book really did nothing for me. I have read numerous accounts of Iranians who came from highly educated families and left for America and their accounts moved me much more than this one did. I believe that it was the style of writing that turned me off.
Stephanie
I read this book because I love learning about the Middle East, and it got great reviews. But I think it fell short. It is an incredible story in and of itself, but something in the storytelling just didn't grip me.
Martha
Just could not relate to the main character (an 8 year old child) and his troubles. Not sure why..perhaps his privileged life as a member of Iran's ruling class during the Shah's regime.
Kathy
Memoir written by the son of a high level air force in the Iranian military. His thoughts and viewpoint (child) on the last days of the Shah. Nothing new.
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Following the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979 and the purges that targeted the author’s class, Aria Minu-Sepehr sought refuge in the United States. The hostage crisis, a year later, would prove that the edicts of the Iranian Revolution could impact the global community and destroy the goodwill of one people for another. Aria Minu-Sepehr has worked to bridge that divide. He has lectured on issues...more
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