Abdo, Geneive, and Jonathan Lyons. Answering only to God: Faith and Freedom in 21st Century Iran. New York: Henry Holt, 2003; First Edition $10 *

Size: 9.5" x 6.5" x 1"

Cost: $10

Condition: Excellent, 306 pp., includes index

The first foreign correspondents to reside in Iran permanently since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Abdo and Lyons reported from there from June 1998 until early 2001. This husband-and-wife team was obliged to flee Iran in January of that year, just before being expelled or worse. Their individual and joint reportage, all well contextualized by a use of available scholarly literature on Iranian history and culture, provides a readable, somewhat discursive survey of Iran today. Especially effective are the pages devoted to President Mohammed Khatami, the opposition cleric Ayatollah Hussain-Ali Montazeri, the opposition press, and the poignant account of the few Iranian secularists who, at the time of the Revolution, drafted a liberal constitution but saw their efforts shunted aside by the institutionalized clerical authoritarianism that emerged. There are also insightful asides on such matters as feminism and Islam in Iran and the political artwork ubiquitous on walls and billboards. Abdo and Lyons depict Khatami and his inner circle in much less sanguine terms than can be found in several previous accounts, seeing them as not all that persistently liberal. - from Foreign Affairs book review

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