The Lonely War One Woman’s Account of the Struggle for Modern Iran By Nazila Fathi (New York: Basic Books, 2014. hbk. 297 pp.)

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Babak Elahi



Nazila Fathi’s The Lonely War joins a number of similar journalist memoirs
by Iranian or Iranian émigrés, including Roxana Saberi’s Between Two Worlds
(Harper Collins: 2010), Ramita Navai’s City of Lies (Public Affairs: 2014), and
Maziar Bahari’s Then They Came for Me (Random House: 2011), which was
recently reissued as Rosewater and adapted into a film by The Daily Show’s
Jon Stewart. Fathi and Bahari mostly grew up in Iran, whereas Azadeh Moaveni and Roya Hakakian mostly grew up in the United States. Thus they
offer a different sort of history, one that is less inclined toward nostalgia or narratives
of leaving and return.
As a proverbial first draft of history, Fathi’s memoir appeals to a wide audience
interested in current affairs, but also to policy wonks in both the media
and politics. Fellow journalists seem captivated by such stories, particularly
when they involve the author’s attempts to analyze civil society in the Islamic
Republic. Fathi’s work will also appeal to Iranians in the diaspora, others interested
in the Shi‘ah polity’s internal problems, and those concerned with questions
of social class in addition to gender in the Islamic Republic ...

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