The Islamic Republic has lost its hold on the hearts and minds of Iranians, who have little patience with its ideological rigidities and social restrictions. For those who hold dear individual freedom, human rights, and rule of law, it is inspiring to see the Iranian people embrace these principles. As one of the Western journalists most familiar with Iran, Wright is well placed to bring to life how reformers are chipping away at the Islamic revolution. The strength of her account lies in the vignettes of daily life, especially in chapters about relations between the sexes and on cultural life. One of the more surprising aspects of Iranian life is how much better women fare there, in social practices and legal standing, than in Iran's neighbors. For example, Iranian women can initiate divorce proceedings; they make up a majority of university students; and a substantial proportion of them work outside the home.
Wright has an unfortunate tendency to gush about Iran, writing for example that "Iran took bigger steps in defining a modern Islamic democracy than any other Muslim country," a statement that insults the vibrant democracy in Turkey and exaggerates the importance of Islam to Iranian democrats (who are much more nationalist than Islamic). In placing Iran's Islamic revolution in the same category of importance as the French and Russian revolutions, she greatly exaggerates its significance. But these pretensions are minor sins for what is on the whole an eminently readable account about life in a country struggling to establish a free, democratic society.