The Persians is a succinct narrative of Iranian history from the time of Cyrus the Great in 558 BC to the present day. The book traces events from the rise of the Persian empire, through competition with Rome and conquest by the Arabs, through to the re-establishment of a Persian state in the sixteenth century, and finally the Islamic Revolution of 1979 and the establishment of the current Islamic Republic.
For each period, the author utilizes the most recent scholarship in order to examine Iranís political, social, and cultural history. He presents this history within an analytical framework which focuses on rulership as the central theme of identity for Iranians. He also considers the part played in Iranian identity by land, political culture, religion, and the arts.