Review of two published books from the memoirs of Haj Sadegh Ahangaran

One Narrator, Two Texts

Hamid Qazvini
Translated by: Fazel Shirzad


Note: Oral history and, in most cases, oral memoirs, that have engaged many publishers and cultural and research institutions these days, is as much a matter of concern as it is an important cultural and research work.

To clarify the subject without a long introduction, I refer to two works that have recently been published by two different publishers based on the memoirs of one person.

The first book "With the Song of the Caravan", narrated by Mohammad Sadegh Ahangaran, is from the collection of oral history of the sacred defense, which was published in 2020 by the efforts of "Mohammad Mehdi Behdarvand" in 439 pages by the Sacred Defense Documentation and Research Center.

The second book of "Ahangaran", the memoirs of Haj Sadegh Ahangaran, was published in 2020 by the efforts of "Ali Akbari Mazdabadi" by Yazhara Publications in two volumes (the first 719 pages and the second 497 pages).

The name of Sadegh Ahangaran is fascinating and exciting for anyone interested in the history of sacred defense and creates a lot of motivation to know how this cultural and propaganda figure of the war looks at those years and what new data he has for the readers to understand more about sacred defense because it has always been stated that oral history is a way to increase historical understanding of the past.

Referring to the introduction of the book, it is expected that the readers will become familiar with the method and process of shaping the work and read the text of the book with the information obtained from it.

Unfortunately, the two introductions of the publisher and the author in the book "With the Song of the Caravan", by Mr. Behdarvand, do not provide much information about how to do the work. Also, the information in the text of the book does not provides many details. Oral history, on the other hand, deals with details, and Haj Sadegh Ahangaran has a wealth of important and unspoken memories, which had to be recorded inaccurate interviews.

The footnotes are unknown and it is not clear which ones belong to the narrator and which ones to the author. Besides, many names of people and places have not been clarified. The photos in the attached section also lack descriptions and identity cards and do not help much to increase the readers' information.

In general, while respecting the author and publisher of the book "With the Song of the Caravan", it should be considered a hasty and methodically confused work.


On the other hand, Mr. Akbari's book "Ahangaran" should be considered a methodical work with professional discipline. The author's detailed introduction informs the readers about the details of the work and the process of shaping the work. In the same introduction, the dates of the interviews and their times and places are mentioned in a professional and documentary manner.

The questions are accurate and purposeful and based on serious research by the author and his team. The main text of the book is the narration of Sadegh Ahangaran, in some parts of which, according to the subject, the narration of others has been used that the size and type of font are different.

The status of all footnotes is clear and, it is also clear which ones belong to the author and which ones to the narrator.

Most of the poems and laments sung by the Ahangaran have been collected in a suitable division into seven chapters and published with the identification card in the second volume. There are also three CDs with the book, which include 65 video performances and 555 audio performances of Ahangaran.

It seems that the book of Ahangaran should be considered as an encyclopedia on the subject considered by the researcher and he specified that later those who study about the sacred defense and its cultural and artistic aspect, as well as its epic aspect, will have to read this book.

Undoubtedly, the supervision and consultation of the esteemed professor and talented researcher and expert in the field of oral history, Mr. Alireza Kamri has enriched the work, which the author has also acknowledged. This way shows how effective the use of expert and capable consultants is in improving the work.

The editor of the work, Mr. Mohammad Ali Samadi, one of the prominent writers and researchers of the sacred defense, participated in the interview and editing process and had a close interaction with the author. For this reason, this book should be considered the product of successful teamwork.

Another interesting feature of the book is the moral and professional tactics of the author concerning borrowing a black bar on parts of the text of the book which, he had to delete them in the opinion of the author or narrator or editor, and specified exactly that according to which of these people he had to delete them.

This shows in which parts the narrator's memoirs have been deleted, and if any of these people change their minds at another time, those parts can be deciphered.

The important point about Mr. Akbari's work is that he previously published another volume of Ahangaran's memoirs in 2012, which is acceptable and noteworthy work. That work was welcomed by the audience at the same time, which persuades the narrator and the writer to complete their memoirs and compile a new work. According to the author, Professor Kamary had already predicted that the book would meet with such success. This prediction result from the familiarity of Mr. Kamari with the psychology of the text, narrator, and audience.

The last words

There are various points about the two works with one narrator and a common period of his life that require another opportunity. From comparing the content of both texts and in some cases spelling mistakes to extensions, etc.; But at the end of this note, the same question suffices as to whether or not the friends of the Sacred Defense Documentation and Research Center have seen and read Mr. Akbari's first book? If they read, they had to explain, what serious need and defect in Mr. Akbari's first book made them publish a new work? What advantage does the book " With the Song of the Caravan" have more than the first book of Mr. Akbari?

A look at the formation of oral history in the contemporary period shows that its emergence and expansion was the product of the historical needs of each period and in accordance with the desires, aspirations, necessities, and of course based on planning. This has led to the oral history has always been used by researchers as an up-to-date tool for collecting, organizing, and processing information data. (Oral History Bi-Quarterly, Year 4, Number 2, Fall and Winter 2018, p. 26)

Accordingly, the friends of the Sacred Defense Documentation and Research Center, according to what they have said in the introduction to the book, should explain to what extent this work, compared to other works, has led them to their desired goals?


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