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Iran Awakening: From Prison to Peace Prize: One Woman's Struggle at the Crossroads of History Hardcover – Apr 5 2006

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Canada; 1 edition (April 5 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0676978029
  • ISBN-13: 978-0676978025
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 2.5 x 23.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 499 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,060,025 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From Booklist

Most Americans date troubles with Iran to the 1979 overthrow of the shah and the 444-day U.S. embassy hostage drama. Iranians date the friction back to 1953, when the U.S. orchestrated a coup that removed beloved Prime Minister Mohammad Mossadegh. Ebadi recalls that period as the beginning of shifting politics that would erode basic freedoms and notions of human rights in Iran. Raised to believe in gender equality, Ebadi became a judge but was demoted to secretary when the Islamic Revolution under Ayatollah Khomeini demanded subservience of women. Ebadi estimates that five million Iranians, feeling oppressed by the revolution, left the country, draining valuable resources and leaving bitterly separated families. Ebadi lost her profession, her friends, and her country but was determined to stay and speak out against oppression. She eventually returned to public life as a human-rights lawyer taking on the defense of women, children, and dissidents. Ebadi offers a very personal account of her life and her fight for human rights in Iran. Vanessa Bush
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.


"The safety and freedom of citizens in democracies is irretrievably bound with the safety and freedom of people like Shirin Ebadi who are fighting to reassert the best achievements of mankind: universal human rights. One of the staunchest advocates for human rights in her country and beyond, Ms. Ebadi, herself a devout Muslim, represents hope for many in Muslim societies that Islam and democracy are indeed compatible."
—Azar Nafisi

"This is the riveting story of an amazing and very brave woman living through some quite turbulent times. And she emerges with head unbowed."
—Archbishop Desmond Tutu

Customer Reviews

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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By H. Akbari on June 30 2006
Format: Hardcover
I was not able to put this book down.... Reversely, I didn't want it to finish.... so I tried to read it as slowly as possible.

Articulately written, this book speaks to all who believe in fairness and perseverance in a system that does not make it easy for an individual's, even more so a woman?s, voice to singularly succeed at making change.

Mrs. Ebadi is someone who loves her country, loves her religion, and beyond all has not lost sight of and promotes the beauty of the Iranian spirit.

She reminds us of the Integrity that one has, and gets to keep, when one does not loose their values and vision in facing "brick walls". She makes the walls invisible, and persists on in such a submissive determination that it reminds me of Gandhi and what he was able to do in India.

This book was inspiring on such a level that today I feel more ready to deal with the world and my own walls no matter how incomparable.

Mrs. Ebadi, your unwavering vision of what is just and your unrelenting perusal of it makes me believe that there is hope in the world yet.
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Format: Paperback
This woman's captivating story has enabled me to learn a great deal her native country, Iran and her never ending heartfealt quest for freedom and democracy.
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0 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Winston on Sept. 20 2008
Format: Paperback
I am disappointed by this book. Yes, the author as a woman has suffered a lot as a result of the Islamic revolt of 1979 but she is not fit to speak for a nation. Shirin Ebadi, aka Ayatollah Ebadi among many people for her deep sympathies with the current regime, is unfortunately a narcissist and self centered person and this book is fully supporting that sense of narcissism. She reminds me of Al Sharpton the grievance leader of African-American community. Also, she has helped the Iranian regime buy more time in acquiring nuclear weapons through her sham human rights campaign. She's constantly giving legitimacy to the Iranian regime and opposing those who oppose the regime. Unfortunately this book is another sham trying to mask her sympathy with the current regime of Iran.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 36 reviews
24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
A Fabulous Primer for the West May 6 2006
By James R. Duren - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Mrs. Ebadi's purpose in writing the book is to give Westerners an accurate and eye-opening account of the human rights struggle in Iran. It is a fascinating biography full of political facts, personal struggles, and victory. Ebadi tells the reader in her epilogue that her desire was not to explain and give motives to the political crises that Iran has faced over the past fifty years, but to present the historical legacy of upheavel in her country in a way that Americans can comprehend and understand clearly. If you want to learn about Persian politics and the influence of hard-line Islam on Iranian society, this is the book. If you want to learn about the struggle of women under the pressures of conservative Islam, this is the book. If you want to read a brief, quick biography, this is also the book. If you want to deconstruct your stereotypes about Islam and the Koran, this is the book. Ebadi's writing is clear, simple, and stunning.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
Great book June 10 2006
By Dorny B. - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Very accurate description of daily lives in Iran, I'm very pleased that finally someone -and who could be better than Ebadi- wrote a book explaining the strange phase Iranian people went through in the past half a century.

I specially enjoyed the parts where she explains the gradual enforcement of Hejab (women's dresscode), and the gradual fading of women's rights in the Religious regime.

I've recommended this book to all my friends. For anyone who is interested on the subject, this is as close as one can get to how it feels to really live in Iran.

Additionally, Ebadi is able to transfer her amazingly strong personality right to the reader. You'll finish the book thinking that you should seriously put up with a lot less s*** than you do, even if it might sometimes be scary to single-handedly stand up for what you believe in.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
Candid biography w/an overview of Iranian politics &society May 13 2006
By Maryam - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Finally, we learn about Shirin Ebadi's struggles and trials and tribulations from inside Iran. This Nobel Peace Prize Winner candidly discusses her country's realities -- her struggles, her hopes and the importance of US-Iranian dialogue. Shirin Ebadi's story is unique in every way and we learn about the fine line she walks while surviving under the Islamic Republic of Iran. She's daring, brilliant and a trail blazer ... If you liked "Reading Lolita in Tehran" and "Lipstick Jihad" you will be sure to enjoy this book!
11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
Inspiring, Everyone Should Read this Book June 2 2006
By NPP - Published on
Format: Hardcover
I purchased this book in Amsterdam and read the entire book on a flight from Amsterdam to Minneapolis. I am delighted it is available on Amazon as there were challenges getting it published in the US. Shirin Ebadi is a very inspiring woman and she made me re-evaluate what have I done lately to make the world a better place. Her courage, tenacity, sense of justice and high level of integrity are communicated beautifully through the book. The ramifications of politics are extremely interesting in the impact they have on the everyday lives of average people, such as who is power the Shaw vs. the Ayotolla? A wake-up call of how your life can change very quickly through no fault of your own. It is one of the best books I have read in years, I am recommending it to all of my reading friends. This is a must read - Hats off to Shirin I would love to meet her!
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
Inside Iran . . . Aug. 28 2006
By Ronald Scheer - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Written by Nobel Peace Prize winner Shirin Ebadi, this highly readable memoir reaches out specifically to American readers to help them understand the Islamic Republic of Iran as the two countries continue on what gives every appearance of a collision course. While Iran (Persia) can look back over a history of 3000 years, recent memory of political history dates from the 1953 CIA-assisted overthrow of its democratically elected prime minister, Mossadegh. The more than 50 years since then, as remembered by Ebadi, are a record of sometimes concealed, sometimes open animosity between our two nations, leading to the current dispute over Iran's development of a nuclear capability.

There are many books about Iran during these years written by outsiders, including Iranians from the West (such as the co-author of this book, Azadeh Moaveni, whose "Lipstick Jihad" tells of a return to Iran after growing up in California). This book provides an insider's view of the years since the fall of the Shah in 1979, and told from a woman's point of view, it describes the experience of losing not only her professional standing as a judge but of the struggle to preserve her identity, her integrity, and finally her life, as she is marked for elimination by a death squad eager to wipe out any perceived resistance to the hard-line government.

Unwilling to leave her country, while long-time friends and associates flee to the West, especially during the protracted and bloody war with Iraq in the 1980s, she remains behind, using her legal training to work in the defense of women and children, whose welfare is compromised by the extreme conservatism of the country's Islamic leaders. In working for reform, she also attempts to achieve justice for the student victims of the government's most repressive measures of intimidation. Meanwhile, she raises a family and never loses hope - even after an arrest puts her in prison for a while - that the democratic ideals that drove the revolution will some day be fulfilled.