The book recounts in detail the heroic struggles of the Bábis in 1850 and 1853 against the overwhelming forces of the Persian Empire and the horrific treatment of the survivors. It includes an in-depth of study of Vahíd as a spiritual and military leader and bringer of a new way of life to the people of Nayriz. It also provides an account of the less-known but dramatic upheaval of 1909.
Aside from the battles, skirmishes and executions, Awakening brings to light the daily trials and occasional triumphs of the Nayriz Bahá'ís and their families as they endured the hostility of their Muslim neighbors.
One of Dr. Ahdieh's goals in writing Awakening has been to ensure that the early generations of Bábis and Bahá'ís and their sacrifices are not forgotten. It is a story of everyday people transformed into heroes and heroines by personal dedication and the power of the Word brought by the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh.
Dr. Hussein Ahdieh was born and raised in Nayriz, Iran, He is a sixth generation Bahá'í, his ancestors figuring among the first in Nayriz to accept the Bábi and later Bahá'í Faith. Hussein immigrated to the United States as a young man of 17. Like many immigrants seeking a better life in America, he worked and attended college in the New York area. Hussein eventually completed a Masters Degree in European Intellectual History and a Doctorate in Education from the University of Massachusetts.
Ahdieh has had a distinguished career in education in New York. His proudest achievement is to have been one of the founders and Assistant Headmaster of the Harlem Preparatory School--a world renowned charter high school for disadvantaged students. The school is credited with helping numerous people to rise from poverty to a better life. Dr. Ahdieh also served as Director of Educational Programs at Fordham University.
Ahdieh has been a resident of New York City for all of his adult life. He served as Treasurer of the Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the City of New York for many years and several times has represented his area at the U.S. Bahá'í National Convention.
In addition to Awakening, Dr. Ahdieh has co-authored 'Abdu'l-Bahá in New York, a concise, informative history of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's activities during his visits to the area.
Mr. Hillary Chapman is a fourth generation American Bahá’í. He earned a Bachelors Degree in History and a Masters Degree in Education. He was an English and History teacher at the highly ranked Chapin School in New York City. He served as the secretary of the Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the City of New York, and of Nashville, Tennessee for many years and as a long-time delegate to the Bahá’í National Convention of the United States. He currently works as a writer in Nashville and has had many songs and poems published.