This Handbook is a current, comprehensive single-volume history of Iranian civilization. The authors, all leaders in their fields, emphasize the large-scale continuities of Iranian history while also describing the important patterns of transformation that have characterized Iran's past. Each of the chapters focuses on a specific epoch of Iranian history and surveys the general political, social, cultural, and economic issues of that era. The ancient period begins with chapters considering the anthropological evidence of the prehistoric era, through to the early settled civilizations of the Iranian plateau, and continuing to the rise of the ancient Persian empires. The medieval section first considers the Arab-Muslim conquest of the seventh century, and then moves on to discuss the growing Turkish influence filtering in from Central Asia beginning in the tenth and eleventh centuries. The last third of the book covers Iran in the modern era by considering the rise of the Safavid state and its accompanying policy of centralization, the introduction of Shi'ism, the problems of reform and modernization in the Qajar and Pahlavi periods, and the revolution of 1978-79 and its aftermath. The book is a collaborative exercise among scholars specializing in a variety of sub-fields, and across a number of disciplines, including history, art history, classics, literature, politics, and linguistics. Here, readers can find a reliable and accessible narrative that can serve as an authoritative guide to the field of Iranian studies.
Touraj Daryaee is Howard C. Baskerville Professor in the History of Iran and the Persianate World and Associate Director of the Dr. Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies & Culture at the University of California, Irvine. His previous books include Sasanian Persia: The Rise and Fall of an Empire, winner of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies book award.
"A well-known scholar of pre-Islamic Iran, Daryaee...has edited the best single volume on the history of the Iranian world...[T]his volume...provides the most accessible study of Iranian history available. Whether one's aim is to learn about the cultural complexity of Iranian people or the changing nature of politics in one of the most pivotal countries in the Middle East, this handbook is an excellent point of departure. Highly recommended." --CHOICE
"This volume offers a large amount of information, much of it interesting and valuable, and some of it new." --Middle East Journal
"The book's expansive temporal, geographical, and cultural framework nevertheless is useful in highlighting the historical processes that have contributed to a sense of Iran as both unique and cosmopolitan.... The Oxford Handbook of Iranian History
serves as a concise, useful introduction to and convenient, authoritative reference for many topics inthe field." --Journal of World History
"Overall, the Handbook
is impressively accurate, reliable and well presented. The publisher and especially the editor deserve praise for taking on the task, which must have been a laborious one." --Times Literary Supplement
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