.سیدی، مهدی. تاریخ شهر مشهد: از آغاز تا مشروطه. تهران: شهردارى مشهد با همکارى انتشارات جامى، ۱۳۷۸، ۴۷۳ص
Seyedi, Mehdi. Tarikh-i Shahr-i Mashhad: az Aghaz ta Mashrutah. Tehran: Shahrdari-yi Mashhad ba Hamkari-yi Intisharat-i Jami, 1999, 473pp.
The History of the City of Mashhad: From the Beginning to the Constitutional Revolution
تاریخ شهر مشهد: از آغاز تا مشروطه
The author cites the lack of comprehensive research about the city of Mashhad as the most important reason why this book was prepared and written. According to Seyedi, all previous historians have repeated material from the book, Matla‘ al-Shams (The Early Sun), by Mohammad Hossein Khan Sanialdoleh. Matla‘ al-Shams is the first book about the history of Mashhad and constitutes the most important source of Tarikh-i Shahr-i Mashhad. Out of the great number of historical texts investigated, only 129 directly reference Matla‘ al-Shams. The other works do not even refer to primary sources.
The book does not go beyond the Constitutional Revolution and more or less ends with a summary of the census completed in 1878. The author gives political considerations as one of the reasons for not examining contemporary history, and he attempts to remain objective throughout the book. Perhaps it is the obsession with writing a purely historical text that has resulted in the book not supporting any general theory and mostly describing historical disputes over power.
Given that the founding and even the name of the city of Mashhad is related to the tomb of the eighth Imam of Shia, the shrine plays a central role in the events covered; the damage incurred, repairs, and expansions are addressed throughout. The persistent attacks by Turkmens and Uzbeks as well as tensions between Sunni and Shia are among the other issues that are repeated throughout the work. The main bulk of the book, however, is devoted to covering political and military incidents in Khurasan. Since Mashhad has always been populated due to the presence of the shrine, its history has continuity. Thus to read Tarikh-i Shahr-i Mashhad is to read the history of power conflicts throughout Khurasan.
The book has been written with a focus on history and as such rarely discusses the culture of the people of Mashhad. At the same time, it constantly introduces its readers to sources that have significant information about Mashhad and Khurasan. For this reason the book is recommended to all researchers in the fields of the history and culture of Khurasan.
Iradj Esmailpour Ghouchani
Translated by Niki Akhavan