A very engaging read about the author’s travels to Persia, in which he connects what he sees with episodes of the past, for example, of the exploits of Xerxes and Alexander the Great, as well as more recent events such as the Anglo-Persian War. In addition to the usual tourist stops, e.g, Isfahan, Tehran, Persepolis, the author also visits the tombs of the poets Sadi and Hafiz, and the tomb of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Archaemenid Empire.
From the beginning of Chapter 1:
Surely nowhere in the world is there an arm of the sea so fraught with historic memories as that which guards the approach to Persia on the south. Quitting India at Karachi, one sails straight out into another world, a world of Oriental despotism and old romance. In the land that is left behind, even over its greatest treasures and most historic memories, there has fallen something of the desecrating atmosphere of the West. The hurried footstep of the tourist breaks in upon the majestic silence even of the Taj and robs the Residency ad the Ridge of half their aw and inspiration. But this land towards which one has set one’s face, still lies deep buried in a world of its own. At its gates the nations of the West have long since beaten, but none has gained admittance…..Here is the last great stronghold of the East across which the invading and compelling forces of the West have not yet swept.
About the author (from Wikipedia):
Francis Bradley Bradley-Birt, ICS, FRGS (25 June 1874 – 11 June 1963) was a British diplomat and writer.
He began his career as an English member of the Indian Civil Service. His duty in India began in 1896, and he started as an assistant magistrate and collector. He was originally assigned to Khulna, Midnapore, Hooghly and Calcutta. At some point he was re-assigned to the commander-in-chief in India, and later served in the British legation in Tehran. Bradley-Birt wrote both fiction and non-fiction about his travels in India, Persia and the Middle East. In India he was attached to the Archaeological service, and this formed the basis for some of his non-fiction work. He wrote under his own name and under the pseudonym “Shelland Bradley.”