Pub. Date:
University of Akron Press, The
Behing the Veil: An American Woman's Memoir of the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis / Edition 1

Behing the Veil: An American Woman's Memoir of the 1979 Iran Hostage Crisis / Edition 1

by Debra JohanyakDebra Johanyak
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Married to an Iranian, and mother of two young children, Debra Johanyak was a teaching assistant at Iran’s Shiraz University when the American Embassy in Tehran was taken over by militants on November 4, 1979.

Behind the Veil tells the story of a woman with dual citizenship who loves both the United States and Iran but must choose between them when the embassy takeover triggers an international and personal crisis. Johanyak recounts the events of her life in Iran, drawing on her own journal and family letters, as well as public news sources. Against a background of increasing political and religious tensions, she gives the reader vivid pictures of the world she experienced there; in good times and bad, tribal customs in a village wedding, sandstorms, the warmth of the large Iranian family she married into, the threatening pressure of Islamic fundamentalists. Coming face to face with dramatic changes in Iran’s government and society, Johanyak must also confront her own identity.

For anyone who has ever wanted to look behind the veil of media imagery and see life in Iran before and after the 1979 revolution, Debra Johanyak’s book offers a clear, intimate, and unflinching view of a culture in conflict, as she comes to terms with her religious faith, political views, and feminist values. Behind the Veil chronicles a dangerous time in Iran and America’s shared history, and brings us along on the spiritual and intellectual pilgrimage of one Midwestern woman finding her way in a volatile world.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781931968409
Publisher: University of Akron Press, The
Publication date: 11/30/2006
Series: International, Political, and Economic History Series
Edition description: New Edition
Pages: 250
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.75(d)

About the Author

Dr. Debra Johanyak was raised in Akron, Ohio. Her graduate studies included a year in Shiraz, Iran, where she held a teaching assistantship and witnessed the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. Debra began her professional career as an English instructor, and later, as an assistant professor at Kent State University before coming to the University of Akron Wayne College, where she currently is a professor of English. In addition to having her book Shakespeare’s World published by Prentice Hall in 2004, several of her short stories and dozens of her articles have appeared in various literary magazines and journals.

Table of Contents

Preface ix

Acknowledgments xi

Introduction 1

one Meeting in America 7

two The First Journey 27

three East and West 54

four The Return Adventure 72

five November 4, 1979 93

six The Ordeal of Uncertainty 120

seven The Crescent and the Cross 139

eight Hope and Holidays 155

nine Merriment and Memories 171

ten A Wedding and a Warning 189

eleven Dark Days 204

twelve The Beginning of the End 218

Epilogue 235

Notes 241

Bibliography 245

Index 247

What People are Saying About This

Nahid Rachlin

"In Behind the Veil, Debra Johanyak weaves the personal with the historical in fascinating detail. Through her own story, a Midwestern woman married to an Iranian man and living in Iran during the hostage crisis, Johanyak provides the reader with sharp insights into similarities as well as differences between the two cultures. The memoir offers a thoughtful perspective on cultural chasms and the bridges we could build to conquer them."--(Nahid Rachlin, author of Persian Girls, a memoir, and Jumping Over Fire, a novel)

Guity Nashat

"Debra Johanyak, a young American wife with an Iranian husband, gives a moving account of her experiences in the early days of the Iranian revolution in 1979. She not only vividly recounts the fears that the hostage crisis ignited in her, but also fondly recalls the deep bonds she formed with her Iranian in-laws. Elegiac and informative, the work is essential reading for anyone interested in gaining a better understanding about Iran and its people."--(Guity Nashat, professor of Middle Eastern history, University of Illinois at Chicago)

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