Lonely Planet Iran (Country Guide)
This guide added immeaurably to my just-completed & thorougly enjoyable three-week vist to Iran. As the authors stress in the opening chapters, Western perceptions of Iran are largely based on government propaganda, ours as well as Iran's.
They also point out the huge differences between public and private life.
For example, alcohol may be government banned, but it is available for anyone who really wants it.
The Iranians are warm,friendly, and most of them do not hesitate to tell us "We love you! We love America!" Getting free of effusive schoolgirls--high school and university--who want to take our photos, can be difficult. I missed a mosque & a couple of old homes in Natanz because of this entrapment!
November was an ideal month, perfect weather throughout the country including sunshine in Tabriz and the Caspian Sea region which can be bitterly cold in the winter.
I didn't like having to wear the hijab in public, but this and no access to ATMs were small prices to pay for an invaluable experience. Burke and Elliott's Lonely Planet Iran makes both an ideal introduction to a visit and encapsulates everything one wants to remember about various sites from Persepolis to the flourishing bazaars in every city.
I would encourage everyone, especially Americans, to visit Iran. Ignorance on both sides is a problem that can be dispelled by first-hand experience.