Twenty articles by area specialists which do indeed indicate the crisscrossing of traditional and modern social patterns in the background of the 1978-79 Revolution--without, however, explaining the Revolution. . . largely because so little light is cast on the new regime. Some deal with newly-familiar themes, like the history of Shi'ism: one argues that Shi'ite doctrine has always had strains of political activism and quietism, another thinks Khomeini has broken with Shi'a tradition. Others take up the changing social structure, and focus separately on the new middle classes, the bazaar merchants, women, and the nomadic peoples. Anyone who has read extensively on Iran already knows, however, about the dislocation of the bazaar classes, the problems introduced by legislation concerning women, etc. More novel is the article assigning the Iranian working class a crucial role--even, questionably, the crucial role--in the overthrow of the Shah. Other pieces are simply interesting for their own sakes--especially those on the Jews of Shiraz (who, however, are unlike the Jews of Teheran), on transformations in the Persian language, on shifting patterns of medical care. No coherent historical explanation emerges, but those who wish to read selectively--and have not already plumbed the works of Amin Saikal and others--will find many of the pieces worthwhile, if limited.