The axiom of recovery, while capturing a central intuition regarding belief change, has been the source of much controversy. We argue briefly against putative counterexamples to the axiom—while agreeing that some of their insight deserves to be preserved—and present additional recovery-like axioms in a framework that uses epistemic states, which encode preferences, as the object of revisions. This makes iterated revision possible and renders explicit the connection between iterated belief change and the axiom of recovery. We provide a representation theorem that connects the semantic conditions we impose on iterated revision and our additional syntactical properties. We show interesting similarities between our framework and that of Darwiche–Pearl (Artificial Intelligence 89:1–29 1997). In particular, we show that intuitions underlying the controversial (C2) postulate are captured by the recovery axiom and our recovery-like postulates (the latter can be seen as weakenings of (C2)). We present postulates for contraction, in the same spirit as the Darwiche–Pearl postulates for revision, and provide a theorem that connects our syntactic postulates with a set of semantic conditions. Lastly, we show a connection between the contraction postulates and a generalisation of the recovery axiom.