Book Him Danno's Reviews > We Heard the Heavens Then: A Memoir of Iran

We Heard the Heavens Then by Aria Minu-Sepehr
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's review
Apr 09, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: 2012, books-sent-by-author-publisher-for
Read on April 08, 2012

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 society.

Aria Minu-Sephur details the life of someone who was an heir to all Iran had to offer; being well educated and destined for great things. As part of that life he shows the world of those who do not have the same opportunities readily available, those who are there to serve the ruling class. For the most part they were treated well, there was never a sense that they could improve their situations and be more than they were. In fact most of their life is spent in fear of the ones in power, to be dismissed at the whim of the master.

This hopelessness is what opens the door for revolution. If we cannot have the power than neither can you. Then through the destruction of all that has been built, the resulting society is highly regulated and controlled, without opportunity at all for personal improvement. But that is okay, because nobody else can have it any better either. Basically you end up with modern Iran, a country stuck in the past which expends most of its time controlling its citizens. From their behaviors to their thoughts, a country without freedom, ruled with a gun.

This book is a fascinating story of family and politics, a story of what is possible and how fast it can all go away if not nurtured constantly. It is also a great look at Iran as a culture, a look beyond all the bluster and hate filled propaganda they spew out today. This book humanizes the people we do not see on the nightly news, the mother and fathers trying to do the best by their families while living in an impossible situation. Iranians are real people, many of who would prefer a different engagement with the world too.

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