Drawing on everything from Ralph Waldo Emerson's odes to his beloved Persian poets to Pierre Omidyar's founding of eBay, The Persian Square culls together stunning images and sharp storytelling, weaving a modern, multimedia tapestry of Iranian American history over the centuries.
Until fairly recently, Iranian Americans have been one of the country's quietest minorities. Their presence has animated great cities like Los Angeles and their traditions – from the transcendent poetry of Rumi, to aromatic kabobs to the Persian New Year celebration of the vernal equinox – have seeped into mainstream American experience.
But even a decade ago, Iranian Americans' civic voice was a whisper, and their coming of age story as immigrants to America a tale told in living rooms rather than documentaries and coffee table books. All that is gradually changing today, with multiple generations of Iranian Americans becoming highly visible players at the forefront of virtually every field in America today. The Persian Square offers a vivid portrait of Iranian Americans at this moment, exploring the early intersections between the two countries' citizens, and the unexpected places where American and Iranian tradition have embraced one another.
NPR Senior Producer, Iran Davar Ardalan's storytelling draws on her family origins, interweaving her grandparents' first meeting in New York and her parents' migrations in an intimate but historically grounded telling of how America and Iran came together both in her life, and in the world. The result is a deeply personal portrait of her community, whose confidence and accomplishments grows by the day.
Ardalan encourages the public to share their personal stories living between Iran and America for possible inclusion in upcoming volumes. Share stories in 300 words or less via this email firstname.lastname@example.org and follow @PersianSquare on Twitter.
The Editor-at-Large of The Persian Square is journalist and author Azadeh Moaveni. This book includes historic documents, handwritten letters, archival photos from Iran and over 30 media files including, music, videos and several audio recordings from 1912, 1915, and 1924 used with permission from Sony Music. The book contained links to NPR stories from 1995-2012 with permission from NPR.
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