In the 1980s Michael Axworthy studied history at Peterhouse, Cambridge before joining the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) in 1986. After a variety of work in London and overseas, he served as the Head of Iran Section in the FCO from 1998-2000, coinciding with the improvement in UK/Iran relations at the beginning of the Presidency of Mohammad Khatami. Since 2000 he has been working in Cornwall as a writer and editor, and wrote his first book THE SWORD OF PERSIA about the great Iranian conqueror Nader Shah (published in 2006).
Michael has also written a series of pieces on contemporary Iran and other subjects for Prospect magazine, and has made TV and radio appearances discussing Iranian subjects (BBC World, Sky News, CNN, and BBC Radio 4's Start the Week, with Andrew Marr).
Michael’s second book appeared in November 2007 as EMPIRE OF THE MIND: A HISTORY OF IRAN (Hurst Books); it was published by Basic Books in the US and by Penguin in paperback in November 2008 as IRAN: EMPIRE OF THE MIND.
Since October 2005 he has taught Middle East History at the Institute of Arab and Islamic Studies at the University of Exeter, where he was made lecturer in October 2007. He was appointed Director of Exeter University's new Centre for Persian and Iranian Studies (CPIS) in the autumn of 2008. He is also a Fellow of the Royal Asiatic Society.
REVOLUTIONARY IRAN, Michael’s latest book, tells the story of Iran since the revolution of the ayatollahs, including a full account of the terrible Iran-Iraq War, one of the most bloody since the Second World War and a conflict which has had a profound impact on Iranian society. It will be published in March 2013 by Penguin Books.
The New Statesman described EMPIRE OF THE MIND as ‘the best single-volume introduction to Iranian history’.
Robert Irwin wrote in Prospect magazine: ‘More gripping than a novel ... EMPIRE OF THE MIND’S account of Iran today and the challenges it faces is worth a thousand documentaries and briefing articles’.
David Gardner wrote in The Financial Times 'A beautifully distilled retelling of Iranian history that flashes with insight on every page'.
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