Gerard Russell

View on Amazon

In this interview Gerard Russell talks about his vivid and timely new book Heirs to Forgotten Kingdoms: Journeys Into the Disappearing Religions of the Middle East (Basic Books, 2014). Russell's experience as a British diplomat in a rapidly changing region gives the book remarkable breadth, providing a valuable insight into the lives of minority communities from the Afghanistan-Pakistan border to Egypt: Mandaeans, Yazidis, Zoroastrians, Druze, Samaritans, Copts and Kalasha. Russell's account pays particular attention to the circulation of stories, symbols and practices between these groups and reveals a history or extraordinary diversity and interdependence. His journey through this symbolic ecosystem, struggling to survive in its lands of origin, leads him eventually to diaspora communities in America and Europe. Is this the final domain of these forgotten kingdoms?

Gerard Russell's account of these colourful pasts, precarious presents and unknown futures will be of interest to scholars of religion, culture, the Middle East, and a wider non-specialist readership.

Previous post:

Next post: