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By His Own Rules cover




By Haleh Esfandiari
Ecco Press

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"Esfandiari recounts in measured, at times chilling, detail her journey into the bowels of the Iranian intelligence apparatus. Neither the fear nor the fury that she undoubtedly felt compromise the clarity of her observations." --Laura Secor, New York Times (read the entire review)

"Haleh Esfandiari, the founding director of the Woodrow Wilson Centre's Middle East programme, was visiting her mother in Tehran when she was the apparent victim of a robbery at knifepoint on her way to the airport to catch a return flight to the US. Her passports, ID cards and luggage were stolen. When questioned about the incident she realised that the robbery had been set up by the Iranian state as ploy to detain her. She spent more than three months in solitary confinement before international pressure forced her release. Her book is yet another powerful, personal indictment of the Ahmadinejad regime." --London Times (read the entire review here, subscription required)

"Goes well beyond the headlines by deftly weaving personal narrative with a political history of modern Iran." --Lisa Bonos, Washington Post

"[Obama's] bedside reading should be Haleh Esfandiari's brilliant, shattering book 'My Prison, My Home,' in which the Wilson Center scholar recounts her own 2007 Evin nightmare." --Roger Cohen, New York Times (read the entire review here)

"A mesmerizing story of survival and a clear-eyed portrait of Iran today and how it came to be." --Biographybooks.us (read the review here)

"The value of this book is that Esfandiari sets this shameful episode in the context of Iran’s recent history, lucidly explaining, through her own family history, how its tragic swings between liberalism and repression are largely dependent on American policy in the Middle East." --Christopher Hudson, Sunday Telegraph (U.K.) (read the entire review here)

"[A] profoundly moving memoir . . . this is above all, a story of faith-in the human capacity to withstand mistreatment and in what people working together against tyranny can accomplish." --Nikki Keddie, Ms. Magazine, Fall 2009

"In the wake of Obama’s calls for tougher sanctions against Iran’s nuclear ambitions and Iran’s reciprocal refusal to partake in discussions, this intimate account is as valuable as it’s readable." --Time Out Dubai (read the entire review here)

"Gripping...[Esfandiari's] book lays bare the paranoid mind-set of a regime convinced that any internal protest is part of a Western plot to organize a so-called "velvet revolution" like the mass revolts that brought down leaders of some former communist countries." --Trudy Rbin, Philadelphia Inquirer (read the entire review here)

"She is restrained in her telling—the book is filled with vivid details and facts, rather than emotional outpouring—a decision for which her narrative is only the more powerful; but her position as someone who fully understands both America and Iran affords her the opportunity to elucidate, for American readers, some of the apparent mysteries of her native culture." --Claire Messud, New York Review of Books [read the entire review here]

'What this brave, resolute woman has to say about the country in which she was born and still loves makes powerful, troubling reading." --Philip Jacobson, Daily Mail (read the entire review here)

"A taut, jolting narrative that describes how life in the Islamic republic is stranger—and darker—than fiction." --Washingtonian.com

"Esfandiari’s Kafkaesque tale of entrapment and imprisonment gives readers a shocking lesson in the horrors of Iran’s government. And her refusal to break under strict confinement and false charges without breaking is inspiring and powerful." --New York Post [read the entire New York Post review here]

"Ms. Esfandiari's finely wrought memoir - one woman's story - gives us a window on a terrible and terrifying world and the trial by fire that some of our fellow human beings are forced to endure." --Washington Times [read the entire Washington Times review here]

"In this engaging memoir, Esfandiari weaves together strands of her family and professional life, the problematic and complex history of the American-Iranian relations, along with a reasoned eyewitness account of being held as a political prisoner." --Publishers Weekly

"This is an engaging book that will inform the reader and make it easier to understand the issues that define Iran in the 21st Century." --Robert Williams, Rooftop Reviews

[advance praise]

“From the threads of history and personal experience, Haleh Esfandiari has woven a masterful memoir. My Prison, My Home is an intimate tale of bravery in the face of ignorance set against the larger tragedy of U.S.-Iran relations. Esfandiari’s story—timely, suspenseful and artfully told—will fascinate experts and general readers alike.” —Madeleine K. Albright, U.S. Secretary of State, 1997–2001

“Haleh Esfandiari’s personal narrative begins with a horrific event, one that transformed her beloved country of birth into a prison, but it is also an account of that country’s rich and complex history and culture, revealing not just the repressive and inflexible nature of the Islamic regime, but its failure to subdue the Iranian people’s spirit of resistance, or their belief in their democratic aspirations. Esfandiari’s account of her incarceration in Tehran, her perseverance and finally freedom has wider universal implications: the importance as well as the fragility of the basic freedoms we so often take for granted, and the need for international support and defense of these freedoms not just in Iran but the world over. We need to return time and again to the question she so poignantly poses at the end of her account.: “I owe my freedom to those who took up my cause. What of others?” —Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran

“I have long admired and respected Haleh Esfandiari, but never so much as after reading her memoir. The story of Iran’s complex relationship with the United States mirrors the extraordinary and compelling events of her own life. She has beautifully interwoven autobiography and history in a testament to her fortitude and spirit.” —Lee Hamilton, president and director of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

“History is full of unlikely heroes and heroines: ordinary people who show phenomenal courage when their lives take unexpected turns. Haleh Esfandiari is one of them. An Iranian-American scholar whose love for both her native and adopted countries led to her arrest and incarceration in Tehran’s dreaded Evin prison, Haleh writes movingly of her ordeal with a lack of bitterness that is astonishing. Caught, as she notes, in the crossfire of a decades-long undeclared war between Washington and Tehran, she faces her accusers with dignity and emerges as an even more eloquent advocate for mutual understanding.” —Barbara Slavin, author of Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S. and the Twisted Path to Confrontation

“In this engaging memoir, Esfandiari weaves together strands of her family and professional life, the problematic and complex history of American-Iranian relations, along with a reasoned eyewitness account of being held as a political prisoner." Publishers Weekly



Haleh Esfandiari portrait

[in the news]

Haleh Esfandiari's story, "For women of the Arab Spring, Iranian women provide a warning and a model," is published in the Hurriyet Daily News.

Haleh is quoted in a piece at newyorker.com about women in metal bands in the Middle East.

She participated in a panel on women in Pakistan with China Radio International English. Listen here.

Guest post by Haleh Esfandiari in the Chronicle of Higher Education about Iran curtailing female education. Read here. She was also interviewed by Fronline. Read here.

Haleh Esfandiari in Canada's Le Presse on the risks of daily life in Iran. (French)

Comments in a CNN report about Iran's Ahmadinijad.

Haleh appears on the Wilson Center Dialogue program.

Haleh was interviewed by NPR station KUFM on April 12 before giving a talk for the World Affairs Council in Missoula, Montana as part of their Distinguished Speaker Lecture series. Click here.

An interview with Ms Esfandiari. Click here.

Read a story about Ms Esfandiari in El Pais. Click here.

Watch Haleh Esfandiari on Aljazeera. Click here.

An interview in the Brazilian newspaper Correio Braziliense. Read it here.

Interview on NPR with Michele Keleman. Click here.

Interview on PBS NewsHour. Watch here.

Interview in Correio Braziliaense. Read here.

Wilson Center experts Haleh Esfandiari, Robert Litwak and Michael Adler answer questions about the foiled Iran terror plot. Watch here.

Haleh on Connect with Mark Kelley. Watch here.

Haleh reviewed Arash Hejazi's book, The Gaze of the Gazelle: The Story of a Generation, in the New Republic. Read it here.

Haleh says the "tireless advocacy of their families over these two years has won my admiration," in a Philiadelphia Inquirer story about Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer's release from Iranian prison. Read the story

Haleh is interviewed about the jailed hikers in Potomac Almanac. Read here.

Haleh appeared on "Charlie Rose" on June 16 to discuss the state of Iranian opposition and Iranian politics. Watch here.

Middle East Program Director Haleh Esfandiari was interviewed for this story featured on CNN.com about the power struggle between Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. Read the article here

MEP Director Haleh Esfandiari was interviewed as a part of a BBC Outlook program about the moon and moonlight and the different ways it touches lives around the world. She discussed her experience while in Evin Prison in 2007. She also spoke at the World Affairs Council of Hilton Head, SC, a talk that was featured in a local paper, The Island Packet.

Haleh was on NPR's All Things Considered on April 29th to discuss Iran's reaction to protests spreading into Syria.

Haleh contributed to a discussion in Moment magazine about Israel's next move in a changing Middle East. She also gave the Bellwood Memorial Lecture at the University of Idaho College of Law.

Haleh discussed the US-led intervention into Libya as the featured gues on a weekly podcast called "Eye on the Middle East" on Neon Tommy, a news source sponsored by USC Annenberg's School for Communications and Journllism.

Haleh was on the PBS NewsHour.

Haleh and Carla Koppell wrote about women protesting in the Middle East.

Haleh wrote about Iran and the case of the alleged adulteress at the U.S. Institute of Peace's Iran Primer blog.

Haleh discussed her book at the Shenandoah County Library. Read about the event here.

Haleh was interviewed on 1350 KSRO News and Talk of Sonoma County about the recent release of Sarah Shourd from Tehran's Evin Prison.

Haleh wrote about "Interrupted Lives: Portraits of Student Repression in Iran," in The New York Review of Books.

Haleh wrote an opinion editorial for the Los Angeles Times.

Haleh appeared on Charlie Rose on 9/24 to discuss the current situation in Iran.

Haleh was on Fox News Special Report discussing the jailed American hikers.

Haleh was interviewed by PRI's The World and the PBS News Hour about the release of American hiker Sarah Shourd from Iran.

Haleh was interviewed on Alhurra TV. Watch here.

Haleh was interviewed in the Philadelphia Inquirer for a story about the one year anniversary of the arrest and detention in Iran of the three American hikers. Read the article here

Haleh was interviewed for the Chautauquan Daily leading up to her lecture at the Chautauqua Institution as a part of their Interfaith Lecture Series. Read the article here.

Haleh was interviewed on "One on One" with Maria Hinojosa on Boston's WGBH-TV (PBS). Watch the interview here.

Haleh interviewed on ORF/01 in Vienna Austria. (mp3 2.7 mb)

An article by Middle East Program Director Haleh Esfandiari in Foreign Policy about the June 2009 elections in Iran.

Haleh was featured in a panel discussion at the Council on Foreign Relations for the screening of the HBO documentary For Neda. Watch the video of the event here.

Haleh was interviewed on Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane to discuss the case of the 3 American hikers imprisoned in Iran's Evin Prison. Listen here.

Haleh spoke at the University of Virginia's Miller Center of Public Affairs on April 30. Watch the video here.

Read the review of My Prison, My Home in the Southland Times (NZ).

Haleh Esfandiari interviewed on Chicago Public Radio.

Haleh interviewed on Salt Lake City's KUER.

Interviewed on NPR's On Point about the Iranian poet Simin Behbahani and he problems facing Iranian academics, writers, and artists.

Iinterview in the Middle East Bulletin about the current situation in Iran.

Appeared on "Purple State of Mind" to discuss her incarceration in Iran and her memoir My Prison, My Home. Read the interview here.

Interview with Haleh on CBC radio.

Haleh in Foreign Affairs.

iIason Athanasiadis writes about Haleh Esfandiari's story on the Kipp Report.

The Gazeta do Povo (Brazil) interview with Haleh Esfandiari. (Poruguese)

Read the review in the National Post (Canada)

Haleh Esfandiari's book, My Prison, My Home was reviewed in the Irish Times and chosen as their book of the day. Read the article here.

Haleh interviewed on WNKU-FM in Greater Cincinnati about her book, My Prison, My Home, and her detainment in Iran in 2007.

Article in Cincinnati's The News Record about visit to Xavier University.

Haleh on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's The World Today

Read an interview with Haleh in the Sunday Times of London.

Read Haleh's article for the New York Review of Books about Kian Tajbakhsh, a scholar imprisoned in Iran.

Haleh interviewed about the recent events (end of 2009) in Iran on Bloomberg TV, the Australian Broadcasting Company, and the Italian daily newspapers, Il Giornale and La Repubblica (in Italian).

Haleh on WHYY's "Radio Times with Marty Moss-Coane"

See Haleh interviewed on Fox News.

Read Haleh's interview with Foreign Policy.

Read Haleh's interview with Vogue.

See Haleh on the Charlie Rose Show.

Read the Inside HigherEd interview wih Haleh Esfandiari.

My Prison, My Home is DoubleX magazine's Book of the Week! Read the DoubleX interview with Haleh Esfandiari.

The Daily Beast Recommends My Prison, My Home.

"Tehran's Self-Fulfilling Paranoia," Washington Post, August 21, 2009, by Haleh Esfandiari

"Why Iran Freed Roxana Saberi," The Daily Beast, May 17, 2009, by Haleh Esfandiari

"Held in My Homeland," Washington Post, September 16, 2007, by Haleh Esfandiari


Thank you to the hosts of these past events:

Aug. 31
NPR/Diane Rehm (click to listen)

Sept. 8
PRI-WNYC/The Takeaway (click to listen)

Sirius XM Radio/Michaelangelo Signorile, 3:30 p.m.

Worldfocus (click to watch)

Sept. 9
Brookings Institute / Women's Leadership Workshop
Washington DC

BBC News America with Matt Frei, 7:00-8:00 p.m.

Sept. 10 at  7:00 p.m. 
World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana
Galt House - East Tower, Carroll Ford Room
140 N. 4th Street
Louisville, KY 40202

Indiana University Southeast 2:45 - 4:00 p.m.

NPR State of Affairs, 1:00-2:00 p.m. (Click to listen)

Sept. 14
News Channel 8 TV (Arlington VA) / "Let's Talk Live," 12:00-1:00 p.m. (click link to watch)

Sept. 15
WEAA (Baltimore NPR) / Marc Steiner Show, 5:00-6:00 p.m.

Sept. 16 at 6:30 p.m.
World Affairs Council of Washington, D.C.
UCDC Washington Center
1608 Rhode Island Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20036

Sept. 17
Premiere Radio Network

Sept. 20
CSPAN BookTV (click to watch)

Sept. 22 at 3:00 p.m. 
Fall for the Book Festival
George Mason University
4400 University Drive
Fairfax, VA 22030

Sept. 24 at 12 noon
World Affairs Council of Charlotte
Westin Charlotte
601 S. College St.
Charlotte NC

University of North Carolina
3:30-4:30 p.m.

Davidson College
North Carolina
5:30-6:30 p.m.

WFAE Radio (Charlotte NPR) / Charlotte Talks, 9:00-10:00 a.m.

Sept. 30 at 5:30 p.m.
World Affairs Council of  Boston
Hampshire House
84 Beacon Street
Boston, MA 02108
617-542-8995, ext. 101

Boston College
3:00-4:00 p.m.

October 7 at 6:00 p.m. Women's Foreign Policy Group,
Bohemian National Hall
Consulate General of the Czech Republic
321 E. 73rd St.
New York, NY

Oct. 8 at 6:00 p.m.
Johns Hopkins University
School of Advanced International Studies
Kenney Auditorium, Nitze Building
Washington, DC

October 14, 5:30 to 7:30 p.m.
Women's Foreign Policy Group
Home of Board Chair Residences at the Ritz Carlton
3150 South Street
Washington, D.C.

Oct. 15
Council on Foreign Relations
New York NY

Oct. 19
World Affairs Council of Wilmington
Wilmington, DE
12:00-2:00 p.m.

Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m.  
Free Library of Philadelphia
Montgomery Auditorium
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103

WHYY (Philadelphia NPR) / Radio Times (listen to the interview)

Oct. 21
American University
Washington, DC
6:00-8:00 p.m.

NPR/All Things Considered

Oct. 24
Politics and Prose Bookstore
5015 Connecticut Ave., NW
Washington, DC 20008

Oct. 26
Tavis Smiley Show/PBS

University of California (UCLA)
Lost Angeles CA
4:00-5:00 p.m.

World Affairs Council
Los Angeles CA
7:30 p.m.

Oct. 27 at 6:30 p.m.
Commonwealth Club of Silicon Valley
Menlo School, Martin Hall
50 Valparaiso Avenue
Atherton, CA 94027

Oct. 28 at 1130 a.m.
Commonwealth Club of San Francisco
The Commonwealth Club, Gold Rm.
595 Market Street, 2nd Fl.
San Francisco, CA 94105

KGO Radio (SF) / Gil Gross

World Affairs Council of San Francisco
312 Sutter St.
San Francisco CA
6:00 p.m.

Oct. 29
Book Passage Bookstore
51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Corte Madre CA
7:00 p.m.

Nov. 2
World Affairs Council of San Antonio
San Antonio TX

Nov. 3
Texas Christian University
Fort Worth TX

Nov. 5
Northwestern University
Buffett Center for International and Comparative Studies
633 Clark Street
Chicago IL
4:00 p.m.

Nov. 7
Washington Friend of ISIS
Georgetown University
Washington DC
3:00-6:00 p.m.

Nov. 8
Community Leadership Network
Warrenton VA

Nov. 11
Santa Fe Radio Cafe
10:30 a.m. EST

Nov. 12
University of Arizona

Nov. 13 at 5:30 to 7:00 p.m
Council on International Relations
Unitarian Universalist Church
107 W. Barcelona St.
Santa Fe NM

Nov. 17
Library of Congress
African Middle Eastern Reading Room
12:00 p.m.

Nov. 18
Aspen Institute
Washington DC
12:00-2:00 p.m.

Book Signing
COOP bookstore
Harvard Square
Cambridge MA
7:00 p.m

Nov. 23
Georgetown Senior Center
2512 Q St. NW
Washington DC
1:00-2:00 p.m.

Dec. 3
Princeton University
Panel Discussion "Women Leaders in International Relations and Peace Building"
Dodds Auditorium, Robertston Hall
4:30 p.m.
Details here

Dec. 8
Northern Virginia Community College
Class Talk
7:30 p.m.

Dec. 15
WAC - Monterey
Rancho Canada
Carmel, CA
6:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Jan. 13, 2010
The South Franklin Circle
16575 S. Franklin St.
Bainbridge Township
Cleveland, OH
Dialogue Series. To RSVP call (216) 791-2168
7:30 p.m.

Jan. 15
University of Toronto
4:00 p.m.

Jan. 19
James and Caroline Duff Banquet Center at Cintas Center
Xavier University
7:30 p.m
book available for purchase by Joseph Beth Book Sellers

Feb. 4
World Affairs Council of Oregon
Portland OR

Feb. 17
American Islam Congress
George Washington University's Elliott School of International Affairs
1957 E St.
Washington D.C.
6-8:00 p.m.

Feb. 25
Village Community School
New York NY

Feb. 23
Diplomatic and Consular Officers, Retire (DACOR)
1801 F St. NW
Washington DC

April 27
Charleston Foreign Affairs Forum
Riverview Room
The Citadel
Charleston, SC
Reception at 5:15 p.m.
Program at 6:00 p.m.

April 30
University of Virginia
Miller Center Forum
11:00 a.m.

June 21
Bruno Kreisky Forum for International Dialogue (Vienna, Austria)
Karl Kahane Lecture Series
7 pm

July 14
Chautauqua Institution (Chautauqua, NY) 2PM
Interfaith Lecture Series - "Women of the Middle East"

August 4
Dartmouth College
(Hanover, NH)
ILEAD Summer Lecture Series
Read an article about the event

September 15
WAC Greater Reading, PA 12:00-1:30PM

October 1
Middle Eastern Legal Association of Washington
Annual Banquet (Seattle WA)
Keynote Address TBA

October 6
Borders Books (1801 K St. NW, 18th and L Streets, Washington DC)
Book talk and signing
6:30 pm
click for more info

October 7
Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) at George Mason University 11:45AM-1:15PM

October 16
Boston Book Festival

November 12-13
Wellesley College Business Leadership Council Conference
Keynote Address TBA

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