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The Golden Cage: Three Brothers, Three Choices, One Destiny

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  199 Ratings  ·  32 Reviews
For over fifty years the Shah Pahlavi dynasty ruled Iran until Ayatollah Khomeini's 1979 Islamic Revolution seized power and began its own reign of tyranny. The questions about the revolution shape The Golden Cage while the answers shed light on Islamic Iran's current events and tell us why it strives for nuclear energy, chants "Death to Israel," and claims to be the most ...more
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published April 30th 2011 by Kales Press (first published 2008)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 528)
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Merrie
May 09, 2011 Merrie rated it really liked it
I met this author and read this book the week after meeting Tina Fey at a reading of her new book, "Bossypants."

Both authors, from amazingly different perspectives, talk about women's issues, work, family obligations, being a woman in a man's world.

Fey is a famous American comedian and Ebadi is a Nobel Peace Prize winner who no longer can return to her home in Iran. Fey's book talk was sold out in 12 minutes ($40 per ticket), and I listened to Ebadi speak about the terror and repression of the
...more
Catherine Gillespie
May 15, 2015 Catherine Gillespie rated it it was ok
Shelves: set-in-iran
After reading Iran Awakening, I also picked up Ebadi’s more recent book The Golden Cage: Three Brothers, Three Choices, One Destiny. As in Iran Awakening, this book is narrated in Ebadi’s voice, but is primarily about the three brothers of one of her family friends. The three brothers apparently (I am still unclear how much of this book is straight truth and how much is semi-fiction or condensing multiple characters into one) each adopted one of the major ideologies of modern Iran (supporting th ...more
Bruce McDonald
Mar 04, 2014 Bruce McDonald rated it really liked it
Recommended to Bruce by: Bonniecco cco
I wanted to like this book more than I did. The history that it tells is important, and complex, and vastly misunderstood by so many of us in the west. I actually taught a few Iranian Air Force pilots when we were on best-buddy terms with the Shah, and I remember what happened with all that. Learning later about the Cold War intrigues that had propped up the relationship and made it so toxic left me with the sad knowledge that the US was responsible for so much of what happened there, in our zea ...more
Jackie
Jun 10, 2011 Jackie rated it liked it
This book could have done so much more. I was really disappointed in the writing and the time spent developing the stories--there was so much material to get to know the characters better, to describe their lives and their relationships. Instead, it was written like a bedtime story and for most of the book the connections felt perfunctory. Frankly, it felt lazy to me, like Ebadi or her editor wanted to produce a book quickly, or wanted something that more people would be willing to read because ...more
Susan Jones
Dec 27, 2014 Susan Jones rated it really liked it
The Golden Cage tells the story of three brothers who grew up in Iran. Each brother takes a different political path. One brother becomes a monarchist who supports the Shah. The second brother is a revolutionist and the third is a devotee of Ayatollah Khomeini.
The story line follows each of the men and their families; the choices they made in their lives and the effects it had on them. Shirin did a wonderful job of capturing the hardship and heartache that took place in Iran and the role the Uni
...more
Irukina
Jun 14, 2016 Irukina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
La obra me ha gustado mucho y me ha tenido enganchada todo el tiempo. Sin embargo, he echado en falta un poco más de contexto para poder entender mejor la situación política de Irán y su historia.

Es cierto que el libro está más centrado en la historia de la familia de Simin pero las escenas pasan de un modo un poco deslavazado y si no se está familiarizado con la historia de Irán, algunos sucesos no acaba de entenderse (en especial, sus causas)

Aún así le pongo 5 estrellas porque se logra enten
...more
Ana María
Ojalá me hubiese gustado más, como bien dice algún lector por ahí abajo. Shirin Ebadi, Premio Nobel de la Paz y luchadora por los derechos humanos y de la mujer en Irán, nos cuenta una historia real de dos familias iraníes, la suya y la de su amiga, sobre el destino de tres de sus hermanos antes y después de la Revolución de los ayatolás.

Pero como novela testimonio simplemente no funciona. La trama es aburrida y no engancha. Lo cuenta más como si fuera una amiga que ha quedado a charlar con otra
...more
Ana Dabrundashvili
May 25, 2014 Ana Dabrundashvili rated it really liked it
It is a great book for those who want to get acquainted with Iran's lifestyle and internal politics and don't know much about the country. The plot is very engaging and so many events happen that it looks like this could make a good thriller or a drama movie. It reads very easily and is a real page-turner.

However the perspective of the book is very political and you can say that it is written by a person whose primary occupation is not writing but rather political and social activism. Perhaps t
...more
Beatrice
Oct 29, 2014 Beatrice rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The stories of Pari's three brothers - one a general devoted to the Shah, one a communist, and the youngest a fervent admirer of Khomeini - become a great way for Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi to present Iran's recent history in a fairly unbiased way. And it works beautifully. Of course, it is clear throughout the book that the author has very strong personal opinions on the events described, but Shirin Ebadi does a very good job of balancing all the various points of view, and is not ...more
Farrah Azadi
Must read! Provides great insight into Iran before and after the revolution through simple story telling...very engaging and informative.
Fatma
Jan 01, 2011 Fatma rated it it was amazing
Great book! Shirin Ebadi is a powerfull and brave woman!
Kate Z
Jun 06, 2012 Kate Z rated it liked it
I would probably give this book 3.5 stars. Read this book for "The Street" book club selection in June 2012. This book was recommended to my mom and I by the guy at the Information Desk at Barnes and Noble. He had the book displayed on the Info Booth and he raved about it. Both my mom and I were immediately hooked. The night before at our book club we had been discussing The Cellist of Sarajevo and the discussion turned to how little, historically, we (collectively) knew about the circumstances ...more
Graham Mulligan
Nov 22, 2012 Graham Mulligan rated it liked it
The Golden Cage, Three Brothers, Three Choices, One Destiny
Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate
Kales Press, 2011

Reviewed by Graham Mulligan

Shirin Ebadi promised her childhood friend, Pari, that she would tell the story of her family’s great tragedy and the three brothers who lived and died under Iran’s Islamic Revolution. Each brother chooses a different path, one loyal to the old Shah, one loyal to the fundamentalist revolution and one loyal to the communist opposition.

I read this book im
...more
Rachel
Aug 15, 2015 Rachel rated it it was ok
Recommended to Rachel by: Andrew Sullivan's blog
Shelves: read-2011, aoc
While the subject matter presented here is important, I couldn't get over how poorly it was presented. Shirin Ebadi chooses to tell the story of the last half-century+ of Iranian political upheaval through the medium of three brothers she knew. The oldest brother loved the Shah and was a general in the royal army; the second brother was a communist; and the third brother was a religious fanatic devoted to Ayatollah Khomeini. Using the three of them to tell the larger story sort of works. The wri ...more
Demetria
Mar 15, 2015 Demetria rated it really liked it
I learned so much about Iranian political history from this book. Because it is clearly aimed at a Western audience, Shirin Ebadi makes sure to explain certain basic aspects of Iranian culture, but she manages to package what is essentially Iranian Political History 101into an enthralling novel-esque narrative about three brothers. It's a great and important read about human rights, politics and human nature. I highly recommend it.
Wendy
May 29, 2012 Wendy rated it really liked it


Four stars for depicting the very disturbing reality of modern Iran. People need to know!

I could relate to the descriptions of the build up to the revolution, having been shepherded out of 1977 Tehran Uni classes when my students realized the military were on a raid. I remember staying inside after warnings of imminent shooting in the streets Sept 1978. Tanks in streets & curfews weren't fun either.

I admire those like Ms Ebadi who have tried to improve the lot of the oppressed & suffer
...more
Kathy
Jan 05, 2013 Kathy rated it really liked it
This book relates the story of three brothers growing up in Iran: one a monarchist, a general under the Shah, another who becomes a leftist sympathizer, and the youngest who becomes a religious follower of Khomeini. Through their stories, and that of their family, Ebadi does a superbe job of relating the history of Iran (since the 1950s), and also the lives of many of its people who followed one of these three paths.

It is a good examination of the blinding power of ideology and rigidity of thoug
...more
Bonniecco cco
Oct 02, 2013 Bonniecco cco rated it it was amazing
Halfway through, and it is the best thing I have read about Iran in many years. I was a Peace Corps volunteer there in the early 70s. Ebadi writes simply and effectively, and along the way gives some clear summaries of Iranian history since 1900. This drew me in like great fiction writing does. I wanted to find out what happened next to the three brothers and their sister Pari, Ebadi's lifelong friend. Like the rest of us, Ebadi has no easy solutions for Iran's terrible situation, but she humani ...more
Jill
Aug 02, 2012 Jill rated it really liked it
Each day in the media, we read brief reports of executions, murders and violence carried out in the middle east. We seldom think "who were these people?" or "How did they get to this position?" This book describes the life of three brothers and the stories of their lives in and outside Iran. Despite the divergence of their paths, their paths all lead them to the same fate. The story of the youngest brother, Ali, is particularly heart wrenching. This is the story of just three brothers and if you ...more
رناتا
Oct 08, 2009 رناتا rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"La Jaula de Oro" es una magnífica novela que retrata el Irán pre y post-revolucionario a través de la historia de tres hermanos enfrentados por sus ideologías políticas, describiendo el lado más desgarrador de la Revolución Islámica y de la República Islámica Islámica de Irán.

Creo que es un libro que debería de leer todo aquel que esté interesado en conocer algo más sobre la cultura iraní, y el devenir de este pueblo desde los tiempos del Sha, pero siempre desde la óptica de ciudadano medio de
...more
Susan Reed
Aug 07, 2014 Susan Reed rated it liked it
excellent story, well told. sad.
Ayse Sen
Feb 08, 2014 Ayse Sen rated it it was amazing
İran siyasi tarihini bir ailenin dramı ile bu kitapta çok net görebiliyoruz. Çok iyi edebi bir eser olmuş.Gerçekten de 'Uçurtma Avcısı tadında' tanımına uygun. Bu kitabı okurken boğazım sürekli düğüm düğüm oldu.Bazı bölümlerde gözyaşlarımı tutamadım.Yazar Shrin Ebadi 2005 nobel barış ödülünü de alan bir barış gönüllüsü.Persepolis filmini izleyenler için bu kitap bir pekiştirme oluyor. Kafanızda bütün olayların daha iyi canlanması bakımından o filmi de izlemeyenlere tavsiye ediyorum.
Kristin
Mar 20, 2014 Kristin added it
Shelves: nonfiction, iran
This was written from an interesting perspective-- after having read many memoirs from Iranian authors about this time period, this one seems more carefully worded than any. Usually, the perspective becomes pretty clear early on: you know where the author fits in the puzzle of the Iranian political nightmare. Ebadi almost appears to be first in this group, then in that group, etc. Because of this, it seems very objective.
Sara B igtet
Jan 20, 2013 Sara B igtet rated it really liked it
A great book. Shirin Ebadi did exactly what she set out to do. She told the difficult history of her country through a human story; a woman's story. It's a beautiful tale of friendship & family which, as we follow it, weaves a rich tapestry revealing Iranian mentality, culture and tradition - with all it's strengths and weaknesses. I found it easy to read and hard to put down!! If this is your thing - you will too!
Phillip
May 22, 2016 Phillip rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: dave abbasian
Insightful story of post revolution Iran from the perspective of an upper middle class family. Nuanced portrait belies western simplistic interpretations
Elizabeth Lind
Dec 31, 2011 Elizabeth Lind rated it liked it
I thought its most powerful punch came at the end, when we learned that the book is her promised memorial to her friend Pari's brothers, whom the Iranian government won't memorialize because it murdered them. Some of the stories in this book were in her first book. But it is amazing how even the brother that supported the government ended up being destroyed by it.
Hdock
Aug 24, 2011 Hdock rated it really liked it
A wonderful story, Thank you to Shirin Ebadi for continuing to bring awareness to the tragic recent history of Iran. I agree to the posts that there should be 'more' in this novel, but Ebadi's role is as an activist to bring about change and a more hopeful future in a still repressive society.
!Tæmbuŝu
Oct 04, 2011 !Tæmbuŝu marked it as to-read
Shelves: iran, memoir
Reviewed by The Independent
Pascale
Couldn't really start reading this book as the first 12 pages were missing when it arrived!!! Should have sent it back..
Elizabeth
Nov 14, 2011 Elizabeth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very much liked the book for its true report of Iranian politics and history....What courage this woman has.
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Shirin Ebadi (Persian: شیرین عبادی - Širin Ebâdi; born 21 June 1947) is an Iranian lawyer, human rights activist and founder of Children's Rights Support Association in Iran. On October 10, 2003, Ebadi was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her significant and pioneering efforts for democracy and human rights, especially women's, children's, and refugee rights. She was the first ever Iranian to hav ...more
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