In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs

In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs

A Memoir of Iran

By Christopher de Bellaigue

Harper Perennial, Paperback, 9780060935368, 283pp.

Publication Date: January 2006


The history of Iran in the late twentieth century is a chronicle of religious fervor and violent change -- from the Islamic Revolution that ousted the Shah in favor of a rigid fundamentalist government to the bloody eight-year war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq. But what happened to the hostage-takers, the suicidal holy warriors, the martyrs, and the mullahs responsible for the now moribund revolution? Is modern Iran a society at peace with itself and the world, or truly a dangerous spoke in the "Axis of Evil"?

Christopher de Bellaigue, a Western journalist married to an Iranian woman and a longtime resident of a prosperous suburb of Tehran, offers a stunning insider's view of a culture hitherto hidden from American eyes, and reveals the true hearts and minds of an extraordinary people.

About the Author
Christopher de Bellaigue has worked as a journalist in South Asia and the Middle East, writing for the Economist and the Financial Times, the Independent, and the New York Review of Books. His first book, In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs, was short-listed for the Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje Prize, and his second, Rebel Land, was short-listed for the 2010 Orwell Prize. He and his wife divide their time between London and Tehran.

Praise For In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs

“Readers will find here a detailed picture of Iranian life that has too long been out of reach.”

“De Bellaigue is a defiantly literary writer, and he gives us a sense of Tehran [that is] immediate and insistent.”
-Pico Iyer, New York Times Book Review

“De Bellaigue’s . . . anecdotes and interviews provide tremendously valuable context for many of today’s headlines.”
-Washington Post Book World

“Incisive analysis. . . . Through eloquent human stories, Bellaigue frames the murky politics of Iran in a telling, intimate scale.”
-Newsweek (International Edition)

“An intimate exploration of the revolution’s denouement...The intellectual honesty de Bellaigue brings to bear is worthy of praise.”
-San Francisco Chronicle Book Review

“A highly original and disturbing portrait of the Islamic republic.”

“An important book that deserves to be read by both defenders and detractors of the Islamic republic.”
-Times Literary Supplement

“De Bellaigue gives us a sense of daily life in Iran . . . cynical, conflicted, and bitter, yet surprisingly vibrant.”
-Chronicle of Higher Education