Historical dictionary of Iran

Publication Year



John H. Lorentz, Ph.D. 1974.

Iran is a country with a deep and complex history. Over several thousand years, Iran has been the source of numerous creative contributions to the spiritual and literary world, and the site of many remarkable manifestations of material culture. The special place that Iran has come to hold in contemporary historical events, most recently as a center stage actor in the unfolding and interconnected drama of worldwide nuclear arms proliferation and terrorism, is all the more reason to explore the characters and personality of Iran and Iranians.

This second edition of Historical Dictionary of Iran is designed to give the reader a quick and understandable overview of specific events, movements, people, political and social groups, places, and trends. Through its extensive chronology, introduction, bibliography, appendixes, and more than double the number of cross-referenced dictionary entries as in the previous edition, the work allows for considerable exploration of a number of historical and contemporary topics and issues. In particular, the modern period, defined as 1800—present, is covered extensively. 

Table of Contents

Part 1 List of Figures and Tables
Part 2 Editor's Foreword
Part 3 Preface
Part 4 Acknowledgments
Part 5 Reader's Notes
Part 6 Acronyms and Abbreviations
Part 7 Chronology
Part 8 Introduction
Part 9 Map
Part 11 Appendix A: Basic Facts
Part 12 Appendix B: Provinces: Area and Populations
Part 13 Appendix C: Principal Towns and Populations
Part 14 Appendix D: Text of UN Security Council Resolution 598
Part 15 Appendix E: Iranian Statesmen: 1787-2005
Part 16 Appendix F: Iranian Government Structure
Part 17 Appendix G: Institutional Relationships of Government
Part 18 Bibliography
Part 19 Index
Part 20 About the Author


...students of the Middle East and of the US's Middle East policy will find this dictionary an indispensable supplement to their studies....Highly recommended.— Choice, June 2007
...highly recommended for all types and levels of libraries.— American Reference Books Annual, vol. 38 (2007)

...provides a chronology, A-Z entries, and a lengthy bibliography....The new edition has almost twice as many entries as the first...— Booklist, 4/1/2007

A top reference for any in-depth collection where students study Middle Eastern countries and issues.— Library Bookwatch, April 2007

Lorentz (history, Shawnee State U., Ohio) first visited Iran as a Peace Corps volunteer in the early 1960s and has returned a number of times since then, including a visit as a Senior Fulbright-Hays Fellow. He offers an overview of specific events, movements, people, political and social groups, places, and trends in the history of Iran. Revised and updated throughout, the second edition reflects significant events since publication of the first edition a decade ago, particularly in the areas of culture and politics. The text features 146 new entries, including new material on Iranian cinema, on some 20 key political and intellectual figures such as President Muhammad Khatami and President Mahmud Amadinejad, new entries on economic topics, more expansive coverage of individual cities, material on Iranian tribes, and more coverage of women.— Reference and Research Book News

This dictionary is an important and useful tool, giving detailed information on the political events leading to the establishment of the Islamic Republic and its (largely negative) interaction with the USA....Academic libraries catering for courses in politics, international relations, etc, and major public reference libraries in Britain and, most especially, America, should seriously consider this for acquisition.— V. 21, No. 8, 2007; Reference Reviews

Series Title
Historical dictionaries of Asia, Oceania, and the Middle East
Series Volume
Scarecrow Press
Lanham, MD
ISSN Number