Book of Queens: The True Story of the Middle Eastern Horsewomen Who Fought the War on Terror

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The untold story of generations of Middle Eastern freedom fighters--horsewomen who safeguarded an ancient breed of Caspian horse--and their efforts to defend their homelands from the Taliban and others seeking to destroy them.

"A breathtaking book that revisits nearly one hundred years of Iranian history, highlighting the power and beauty of women who refuse to be subdued." ―Alison Hawthorne Deming, author of A Woven World

Book of Queens reaches back centuries to the Persian Empire and a woman disguised as a man, facing an invading army, protected only by light armor and the stallion she sat astride. Mahdavi draws a thread from past to present: from her fearless Iranian grandmother, who guided survivors of domestic violence to independent mountain colonies in Afghanistan where the women, led by a general named Mina, became their country's first line of defense from marauding warlords. To the female warriors who helped train and breed the horses used by US Green Berets when they touched down in October 2001, with a mission but insufficient intelligence on the ground--women whose contributions were then forgotten.

Pardis Mahdavi chases the legacy of Caspian horses and the women whose lives are saved by them, drawing on decades of research, newly-discovered diaries, and exclusive military sources. Among those intersecting stories is that of American Louise Firouz, who helped bring the breed back from the brink of extinction, connecting Virginia traders to British royals to the son of the Shah. Firouz's life is forever changed when she meets Mahdavi's own family, who run an unusual smuggling operation in addition to raising horses in a wild bid for freedom.

Book of Queens is an epic tale of hidden women whose communal knowledge was instrumental in saving an animal as ancient as civilization, and who were the genesis of their own liberation.

Author: Pardis Mahdavi
Binding Type: Hardcover
Publisher: Hachette Books
Published: 08/22/2023
Pages: 304
Weight: 1.05lbs
Size: 9.00h x 6.20w x 1.20d
ISBN: 9780306832130

Review Citation(s):
Library Journal Prepub Alert 03/01/2023 pg. 24
Kirkus Reviews 06/01/2023
Library Journal 07/21/2023 pg. 1
Booklist 07/28/2023
Shelf Awareness 08/25/2023
Publishers Weekly 09/18/2023

About the Author
Pardis Mahdavi, PhD is Provost and Executive Vice President of the University of Montana and a former Professor and Dean of Social Sciences at Arizona State University. She is a lifetime member of the Council on Foreign Relations and has been a fellow at the Social Sciences Research Council, the American Council on Learned Societies, Google Ideas, and the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Dr. Mahdavi's career began as a journalist, writing for the Los Angeles Times Magazine. She continues to write for Foreign Affairs, Huffington Post, The Conversation, as well as Ms. Magazine. Her work has been featured in her academic books as well as numerous public opinion and policy pieces.

Dr. Mahdavi has published four single authored books and one edited volume in addition to numerous journal and news articles. She is the author of Passionate Uprisings: Iran's Sexual Revolution, as well as multiple essays on the significance of sexual politics in the Arab Spring and Green Movement across the Middle East. More recently, her work on sexual politics has been featured in The Washington Post, Foreign Affairs, Zocalo, the Denver Post, as well as Facebook Watch.