By John Malcolm
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print Publication Year:2011
Online Publication Date:October 2011
Original Publication Year:1815
Subjects: Middle East history
The product of a lifetime spent in India and the Middle East, for over a century this two-volume work by Sir John Malcolm (1769-1833), first published in 1815, remained the most trusted chronicle of Persia. Translated into French, German and Persian, the detailed and diverse contents earned its diplomat author an honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Oxford. Although learned, Malcolm's narrative is informed by personal experiences acquired while serving as an envoy and secretary to the governor general, a position which clearly shaped his views on the country's political character. Volume 2 begins with an account of the rulers of the early eighteenth century and goes on to provide a detailed history of modern Persia, incorporating descriptions of its religions, government, climate and social conventions. Malcolm's concluding remarks are both critical and portentous as he observes the needs for a 'complete alteration' in the political condition of Persia.