This delightful journey in writing would not have been possible without support from my loving family in St. Louis, Ahmet, Ali, and Ayla. Not only did they put up with my long work hours but they shared—literally—the tears and laughter that came with my jasmine and stars. My husband is the first reader par excellence of all that I write. This time my son, Ali, read too to give me a new generational perspective. I also wish to thank my sister, Fereshteh Keshavarz, whose reading of the manuscript was of great personal value.
My dear friend Safoura Nourbakhsh (University of Maryland) and her fountain of critical energy got me moving on the project and stood by me with loving support. Then entered all the wise, caring, and engaged souls we are blessed to have as our community of friends in St. Louis and elsewhere. I barely got the manuscript to the house of Sharon Stahl (Washington University) on the eve of a trip so she could take it with her. Marianne Heath (Women's League, Beirut, Lebanon) delighted me by starting to read the manuscript before even leaving my house with it. My dear Iranian American friends Mohammad Companieh and Ladan Foroughi in St. Louis both read the first draft and gave me invaluable advice on aspects of religion and culture presented in the book. My esteemed friend and colleague Jack Renard (St. Louis University) provided most beneficial stylistic and conceptual suggestions as usual. Alice Bloch (Lindenwood College) brought sensitive issues related to tone and structure to my attention. My good friends Minoo RiahySharifan (Orange County) and Nargis Virani (New School) also read the first draft of the manuscript. As I carried out my final editorial revisions, my friend Joyce Mushaben (University of Missouri, St. Louis) read the manuscript with zero tolerance for textual rough edges and loose ends. I cannot thank her enough for her amazing thoroughness.
I would also like to thank all four readers who reviewed the manuscript for the University of North Carolina Press for their most constructive suggestions. In particular, I want to express my gratitude to Michael Sells