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Khans and Shahs: A History of the Bakhtiyari Tribe in Iran

Khans and Shahs: A History of the Bakhtiyari Tribe in Iran
Gene R. Garthwaite

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The Bakhtiyari are one of the most important nomadic societies in the Middle East but although this tribe has many powerful romantic associations it has also been the subject of much misunderstanding, even today. This penetrating examination of the Bakhtiyari in Iran explores their powerful political and economic role in Iranian society in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries and provides a key to understanding how political power is created, maintained and lost in a tribal society. Based on an extraordinary archive of documents now lost as a result of the upheavals of the Iranian Revolution, "Khans and Shahs" offers a complete picture of the tribe, placing it in the context of its full history from the 14th century to the present day. Among much else Gene Garthwaite examines the role of the Bakhtiyari in the exploration and development of Iranian oil, which was first discovered on their tribal lands by the British entrepreneur William Knox D'Arcy.

This ground-breaking study explores the Bakhtiyari's interaction with the State and the effects of the wider world on their social and political structure and offers unique insights into a complex but important aspect of Iran's history.

Author Info

Gene Garthwaite is Professor of History and Jane and Raphael Bernstein Professor of Asian Studies at Dartmouth College, New Hampshire. He is the author and editor of numerous publications, including The Persians.


"A remarkable piece of work which should be of great interest both to scholars and to the general educated public. It is an inherently interesting and topical book"Ernest Gellner.

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.

ISBN: 9781848850965
Publication Date: 30 Nov 2009
Number of Pages: 240
Height: 234
Width: 156
Illustrations: 9 integrated bw illustrations, 1 map

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