Saved by Beauty by Roger Housden
Adventures of an American Romantic in Iran

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Roger Housden traveled to Iran to meet with artists, writers, film makers and religious scholars who embody the long Iranian tradition of humanism, the belief in scholarship and artistry that began with the reign of Cyrus the Great. He traveled to the mountains of Kurdistan to learn from Sufis, whose version of Islam exhorts nothing but tolerance and love. From the bustle of modern Tehran to the paradise gardens of Shiraz to the spectacular mosques and ancient palaces of Isfahan, Housden met Iranians who were warm, welcoming, generous, intellectually curious, and who would recite the poetry of Hafez or Rumi at the slightest opportunity.

Saved By Beauty weaves a richly textured story of many threads. It is a deeply poetic and perceptive appreciation of a culture that has endured for over three thousand years, while it also portrays the creative and spiritual cultures within contemporary Iran that are rarely given any mention in the West. It is a suspense story that reflects on the philosophical and aesthetic questions of good and evil, truth and beauty. And finally, it is the story of a man in his sixties on a personal quest to discover if the Iran of his youthful imagination continued to exist, or whether it had been lost forever under a strict totalitarian regime. In Iran, Roger Housden was brought face to face with the reality that beauty and truth, deceit and violence, are inextricably mingled in the affairs of human life, and was forever changed.

From the Hardcover edition.

About Roger Housden

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Roger Housden, a native of Bath, England, emigrated to the United States in 1998. He now lives in Woodstock, New York, with his wife, Maria. He is the author of several works of nonfiction, including Ten Poems to Change Your Life, and also a recent novella, Chasing Rumi: A Fable About Finding the Heart's True Desire. He gives occasional public recitals of ecstatic poetry from the world's great literary and spiritual traditions. You can e-mail him at
Published May 17, 2011 by Broadway Books. 306 pages
Genres: Travel. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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When Housden (Ten Poems to Change Your Life, 2007, etc.) was a young man living in London in the early 1970s, he fell profoundly and permanently in love with Iranian literature, music, art and architecture.

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Publishers Weekly

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As a young man, British-American author Housden (Chasing Rumi) found himself drawn to Iran—its poetry, music, and even the signature blue color of its mosques, but only in his 60s was he able to visit the country and attempt to unlock its secrets.

Feb 07 2011 | Read Full Review of Saved by Beauty: Adventures o...

Spirituality & Practice

He also writes about the first declaration of human rights made by Cyrus the Great 2,500 years ago, the situation of Jews in Iran (more are here than in any other Muslim nation), and the dualism of Zoroastrianism started in Iran 3,500 years ago and still practiced.

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