Iranian study

I have tasked with a long term look at Iran with respect to the role that Religion, Culture, Learning and Politics have played with the development of Science & Tech.

To help me put this in context can anyone recommend a good book that descibes Iranian History from the Persian Empire to Current times. I am to far from Shrivenham to pop down to the libarby and do a trawl so any recommendations would be welcomed.

The best source I could reccomend for work of this nature is a guy called Bernard Lewis. Look him up/google him on the net and I'm sure that you will find what your looking for. Good Luck.
That ******. His speciality is the Arab world. He is responsible for advising GWB that invading Iraq would be a great idea because "Arabs respect power". Persians are not Arabs.
I second Skinn_Full, but it's worth noting what some of Lewis' detractors say about his work and possible agenda, in order to keep an impartial head on your shoulders!
Bernard Lewis is more of an Ottomanist (though his early career was that of an Arabist)

Not sure what your sources remit would be but a nice general history starting from the pre-Islamic period to the modern period which deals the Iranian culture would be Sandra Mackey's 'The Iranians' also Nikki Keddie is a must (if you primary sources will be secondary translations), she is the doyen of Iranian history, look up her UCLA page for an extensive bibliography.

One good book for modern Iranian political and religious development and its influences would be Roy Mottahedeh's 'The Prophet's mantle'.
Moojan Momem's 'An introduction to shi'i Islam' is a good one too (for the Shiite interpretation of Ijtihaad and 'Alim). Also look at Khomeini's work if you want to look at the idea of valiati fakhi and its influence (the Algar translation, is a must).

Donald Hill's 'Islamic Science and engineering' could also be useful as could RM Savory's book 'An Introduction to Islamic civilisations' as it will also deal with the non-Islamic past in regards to Persia.
Check the book reviews at timesonline and; I think I have seen a couple of recent iran-related reviews in the last few months that would fit your SOR.
How much do you know about Iran? If you're starting from zero, I'd start with the Lonely Planet guide, of course its a travel guide, but covers a lot of ground about modern Iran, history, culture, a nd physical and human geography. It also highlights some of the peculiar anomolies about the current state. It will give you a good insight quickly and you can then move on to more academic research.

You won't get much credibility for quoting it, but it is based on first hand accounts. There is a useful bibliography in the back.

As stated above, the Iranians view themselves as Asian people and certainly not Arabs.

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