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Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem Through the Islamic Revolution

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  1,769 ratings  ·  226 reviews
An intimate and honest chronicle of the everyday life of Iranian women over the past century

“A lesson about the value of personal freedom and what happens to a nation when its people are denied the right to direct their own destiny. This is a book Americans should read.” —Washington Post

The fifteenth of thirty-six children, Sattareh Farman Farmaian was born in Iran in 1921
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Paperback, 432 pages
Published June 27th 2006 by Broadway Books (first published 1992)
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Leslie yes.it really gives you a personal glimpse into an "innocent bystander's" life during a tumultuous time.When change is going all around them and there…moreyes.it really gives you a personal glimpse into an "innocent bystander's" life during a tumultuous time.When change is going all around them and there is nothing to do but have an experience because there is nothing she could have done.Maybe her being a woman in that country at that time had something to do with that fact.It is not propaganda;just an experience.(less)

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Ahmad Sharabiani
Daughter of Persia, Sattareh Farman Farmaian

Sattareh Farman-Farmaian (December 23, 1921 – May 23, 2012), was one of the daughters of Persian nobleman Abdol Hossein Mirza Farmanfarma of the Qajar dynasty.

Tells a fascinating tale of growing up in the 1930's in a Persian harem compound in Tehran.

Breaking with Muslim tradition, she became an independent woman and found herself arrested as a counterrevolutionary. A dramatic window on Iran's journey through the twentieth century.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش:
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W
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is a fabulous book.It is the story of one woman but is also a journey through Iranian history ,from the Qajar and Pehalvi dynasties to the chaos of the 1979 revolution.

Sattareh Farman Farmaian tells the story of her life growing up in her father's harem and all the adversity that befell him.He was a prince of the Qajar dynasty,with multiple wives and innumerable children.They all lived in one compound.He was already an old man,when the author was born.

Very ununsually for her time,the author
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Aubrey
“You know that isn’t right,” I screamed. “If you and your men are God-fearing and religious, you have to help the weak, regardless of what those poor women do for a living! You’re supposed to protect people in danger, no matter who the government is!”
Tomorrow begins the first batch of the classes that need finishing before I return to UCLA. Thus far, only one has made its required reading explicit, and with a title such as 46A British Writers: Medieval to Renaissance, it is obvious which phy
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Louise
Jul 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: iran, biography
Through this book you experience dictatorship, democracy, dictatorship (again) and revolution through the life of Sattareh Farman Farmian. She was born in an andarun (a sub-compound within a harum) in 1921. Her father was a prince of the (former) Qajar dynasty; he had 38 other children by 8 wives; 9 by her mother.

There is a wonderful portrait of life in the andarum. The patriarch’s first wife selected her mother as her husband’s third wife because she was 12 years old, meek, patient, not noble a
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Brian Griffith
I'm really glad to have found this book. It's a clearly written memoir of an authentically noble woman. Her writing conveys the vast beauty and pain of Iran through the twentieth century. Farman Farmaian was one of the legions of Persian women who laid the foundations of education and social support for women and children in the modernizing age. She was one of the real spiritual leaders of Iran, whose life work changed the nation in ways that can hardly be reversed.

In 1958, Farman Farmaian found
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Debbie Zapata
Oct 12, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: twenty22print
Oct 12, 2022, 11am ~~ Review asap.

3pm ~~ In this book we journey with the author from the later years of the Qajar dynasty in the early 1900s, through the entire reign of the two Pahlavi Shahs, ending with the 1979 Revolution, later known as the Islamic Revolution.

I have read a little bit about Iran's history and of course I remember the turmoil in the 70's and the hostage crisis. But this book took me to Iran, introduced me to the people and their lives, and showed me how the government worked
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Bob Newman
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: iran, biography
top drawer lady brings social work to Iran

Sattareh Farman Farmaian was born the year that her family, the royal Qajars, gave way to a new dynasty in Persia (Iran). She grew up in luxury, with a father who believed in education for girls. As time passed, the new rulers, the Pahlavis, made things hard for the old guard. Still, picnics in the mountains, connections to all important people, and plum jobs for the brothers and cousins signify their elite position. Along with her personal story, the au
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Ann
May 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I learned a LOT about the culture and 20th century history of Iran. This book clarified my formerly vague understanding of how the CIA's meddling in Iran contributed to our current dismal non-relationship. Sattareh Farman Farmaian is an amazing woman! Born into a (pre-Reza Pahlavi) aristocratic family, she comes to the U.S. for college and then decides to establish the field of social work in her own country, which she does almost single-handedly. Her family's extensive connections help her to b ...more
Jennifer Jacobs
A wonderful book!
No other words can describe the book other than those!It's a very beautifully written book by a lady from a very high ranking family of Iran!What makes this book so special is how the book describes life in Iran during 3 time periods,before 1979 under Shah,the chaos during 1979 and life after 1979!The chapter about how she met Ayatollah Khomeini's men was especially harrowing!And I luved that part of the book the most:)
The author is from a very well known family of Iran,her fath
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Jolene Monheim
May 19, 2009 rated it it was amazing
I learned a lot about Iran... and of the courage and integrity of the woman who wrote this book. I found her and emailed her my appreciation of her work and I heard back from her! wow -
Pari
Jul 22, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I have read my fair share of books about Iran, both fiction and non-fiction. After completing "Daughter of Persia," I have to rank this book in the top three books about Iran, right up there with "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and "Iran Awakening."

Ms. Farman Farmaian does an excellent job detailing the political events of Iran from pre-Mossadegh to the revolution from the point of view of someone who was moderate and fairly removed from politics. It is an interesting take on events in Iran, viewed f
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Sharon
Mar 02, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is, quite frankly, one of the most fascinating memoirs I have ever read.

Sattareh Farman Farmaian was born the year Reza Shah (father of Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, the ousted Shah of Iran) came to power. Born into one of Iran's noble families, she led a privileged life. However, because of her family's beloved servants, Farmaian was exposed to the squalor in which the majority of her country lived. She became determined to do something to help.

After studying abroad to become a social worker, Fa
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Cathyb
May 11, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
In this heartfelt autobiography, Ms. Farman-Farmaian provides us with a personal account of Persian history and culture. The book chronicles her life experiences – as a young girl born into an aristocratic Qajar family to an adult woman who founded social work in Iran and was then forced into exile in order to survive. The writing is clear, wonderfully descriptive and contains a smattering of the Farsi language. It is amazing that after all she has been through that she is able to provide a fair ...more
Simeon Kohlman Rabbani
This is a hauntingly beautiful account, not only of one woman's life story, but of the 20th-century history of Iran. It traces the rise and fall of Shahs, princes, and political movements, all as a tapestry through which the thread of Sattareh Farman Farmaian's remarkable life is woven. It is an absolutely essential background to understanding the current political turmoil in Iran and it gives powerful insights into Persian culture and the mindset and outlook of the Iranian people.

I only gave i
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Charlotte
Fascinating first hand account of a woman raised by a political leader in Iran. Her relationship with her father, mother, and the rest of the harem. Also their personal upheavals during war and how she introduced social work to the country. Quite an interesting life.
Kailin Lu
Feb 18, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This book changed me. Satti (the author) takes the reader through the epic of her life from growing up in a nobleman’s harem in Iran, breaking all tradition to attend university in the US, returning back to Iran to establish the profession of social work and empower Iranians to help themselves and their countrymen, and ultimately landing back in the US but this time against her own will, in exile. While many of the events described in this book are heartwrenching, there are slivers of hope on ev ...more
Tricia
May 28, 2022 rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating read about a woman that overcame so many challenges to set up a school of Social Work in Iran. This book is a testament to what determination can do. She changed lives even though she put herself in danger.

Definitely worth a read.
Jennifer Jacobs
Aug 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful book!
No other words can describe the book other than those!It's a very beautifully written book by a lady from a very high ranking family of Iran!What makes this book so special is how the book describes life in Iran during 3 time periods,before 1979 under Shah,the chaos during 1979 and life after 1979!The chapter about how she met Ayatollah Khomeini's men was especially harrowing!And I luved that part of the book the most:)
The author is from a very well known family of Iran,her fath
...more
Alexander Polsky
Mar 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
A remarkable life -- Sattareh Farman-Farmaian (who died in 2012) was born into medieval feudalism, grew up with a modernizing despotism of the Shah, and fled the ferocious obscurantism of the Iranian Revolution.

Smart, well read, and with courage, her book makes one more than a little sad, its the "what Iran could have been"; however there is some bright side in that its what Iran still might be.

Its politically difficult for anyone to swallow, which makes me like the author all the more. She was
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Rebecca altman
Feb 07, 2008 rated it really liked it
What a fabulous book and insight into a new perspective. I got a hold of this book when my husband who is getting his masters in social work brought this home as the read for one of his classes. Of course I read it in a couple of days and wanted to discuss it in full with him. It is a great book about a womans journey in a land where women dont have voices. She goes to America and receives a degree in California as one of the first to do so and then goes home and starts an unbelievable program f ...more
Hamideh
May 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing
There is no need to search into fairy tales to find an angle or a super-human. By looking around, you might find someone who sacrifices to boost humanity.
Usually, I don't like a biography. However, this one is something else. You can have an overview of the contemporary history of Iran from a civilian, well-educated, innovative, strong women's points of view.
She was raised in a very conservative family and society, in a chaotic and turbulent era; hence she managed to withdraw herself and many o
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Shadi
May 09, 2021 rated it really liked it
A fascinating memoir covering many decades of Iranian history thru the life experiences of one woman. Having been a child in Iran during the last decade that the book covers, the Islamic Revolution, I was given an insight not afforded to a child but I also remember crystal clearly the fear and anxiety she describes as well as the sense of loss. A lot of emotions were stirred for me that I'm not eloquent enough to put into words, I'm happy that the author was!
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Catriona Macaulay
Jan 06, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: iran
Fascinating history of before, during and after the Fall of the Shah by the "mother of social work" in Iran. The historical material on pre-Revolution Iran and her life as one of the many sons and daughters of a wealthy Persian patriarch is interesting but the account really comes into its own when the Shah's fall begins. ...more
Jyotsna Agrawal
Jul 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
It is nice to know the Iran history and struggle of a woman to do something good.
Gitanjali
May 21, 2021 rated it it was amazing
Must read!
Jessica Newton
Dec 02, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This woman's story is amazing. The history of her country can a lesson to all of us and I would recommend this book as a precursor to another book I read this year which, while fictional, follows many of the same events from a more average family's POV - "A Thousand Splended Suns" by Khaled Hosseini. ...more
Dana Smith
Dec 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I loved Daughter of Persia. It was about a time and place at once so different from my experience and yet also so familiar. The events of the Islamic Revolution happened during my lifetime. I remember them from television and newspapers. I remember traffic being backed up when Iranian students protested at the Iranian Embassy on Massachusetts Ave., not far from where I was living at the time.

You can’t help but admire Satti. Growing up in a culture and family that put more significance on men, sh
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Jean Tucker
Mar 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After the American presidential election of 2016 led to great shock to over half of the electorate in the U.S., a young friend suggested on Facebook that we read Daughter of Persia about a woman who had lived through upheavals and changes in her own country, living a life of hope and service in difficult circumstances. This book did not disappoint. It was interesting from start to finish. Sattareh Farman Farmaian documents her amazing life growing up in the family of a prince or shazdeh who had ...more
Toni
May 30, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A friend recommended this book to me, and I am glad that she did. Immediately this book intrigued me since I have family with Persian lineage. The book covers sixty years of Khanom Farman Farmaian life. In the beginning of the book, she states that this book is her perspective, views, and personal memoir not a historical book written by a journalist or scholar. She was born when the Qajar dynasty still ruled Iran. In her lifetime there were several different governmental styles that ruled Iran. ...more
Evin Ashley
Mar 30, 2015 rated it really liked it
The first part of the book, describing Satti's childhood, was an utter phantasmagoria of penmanship. I am admittedly infatuated with Persian and Levantine culture; it oozes out of the book's aura and pores. I found both the sophistication of her prose (translated by Dona Munker) incredibly intoxicating and sumptuous.

The book sometimes reads as the story of a woman writing her legacy and perhaps clearing her name to an extent, given the murky world and various shadows of political subversion ramp
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Sattāreh Farmānfarmā'iān (1921 – 23 May 2012; Persian: ستاره فرمانفرمائیان‎) was one of the daughters of Persian nobleman Abdol Hossein Mirza Farmanfarma of the Qajar dynasty.

In addition to her autobiography, Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem through the Islamic Revolution (1992), which was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize, she published "Social Work as Social Development
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