In This Review

Tales of Two Cities: A Persian Memoir
Tales of Two Cities: A Persian Memoir
By Abbas Milani
Mage Publishers, 1996, 263 pp

Memoirs of politicians are now commonplace in the Middle East, but it is rare to find a memoir by an independent thinker, which is candid and revealing. Perhaps it takes the wrenching experience of exile to open the way for such an intimate portrait as that sketched by Milani. With remarkable candor and sensitivity, he describes his life in Iran as a member of a well-to-do family and recounts how he turned to leftist politics, ended up in the shah's prison, and then tried to come to terms with the Islamic revolution. Finally, in 1986 he left his homeland, disillusioned by the Khomeini period, which had turned out to be at least as repressive as that of the shah. The reader will not find here deep insights into the high politics of Iran, but rather a wealth of insights into Iranian society and culture. Along the way Milani also makes acute observations about American society.