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All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror Paperback – 25 Jan 2008


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Product details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: John Wiley & Sons; 2nd Edition edition (25 Jan. 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 047018549X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0470185490
  • Product Dimensions: 15.7 x 1.9 x 23.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (28 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 113,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From the Back Cover

"A very gripping read . . . a cautionary tale for our current leaders." — The New York Times As zealots in Washington intensify their preparations for an American attack on Iran, the story of the CIA′s 1953 coup—with its many cautionary lessons—is more urgently relevant than ever. All the Shah′s Men brings to life the cloak–and–dagger operation that deposed the only democratic regime Iran ever had. The coup ushered in a quarter–century of repressive rule under the Shah, stimulated the rise of Muslim fundamentalism and anti–Americanism throughout the Middle East, and exposed the folly of using violence to try to reshape Iran. Selected as one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and the Economist, it′s essential reading if you want to place the American attack of Iraq in context—and prepare for what comes next. "An entirely engrossing, often riveting, nearly Homeric tale. . . . For anyone with more than a passing interest in how the United States got into such a pickle in the Middle East, All the Shah′s Men is as good as Grisham." — The Washington Post Book World "An exciting narrative. [Kinzer] questions whether Americans are well served by interventions for regime change abroad, and he reminds us of the long history of Iranian resistance to great power interventions, as well as the unanticipated consequences of intervention." — The Los Angeles Times "A swashbuckling yarn [and] helpful reminder of an oft–neglected piece of Middle Eastern history." — The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Stephen Kinzer is an award–winning foreign correspondent who has worked in more than fifty countries. He has been New York Times bureau chief in Istanbul, Berlin, and Managua, Nicaragua. His books include Overthrow: America′s Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq and Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds .

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Smyth VINE VOICE on 5 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very well written and attractive book that is clearly based on the kind of research missing in most work by journalists, and shows the world there are still intelligent Americans who can think for themselves.
At first I was sceptical of the author's claim that the CIA-organised coup against Iran's elected premier in 1953 was the "root" of today's political Islam. But the more I thought about it, the more convincing his thesis is.
The US and the British did set out in the 1950s to crush movements for self-determination in the "developing world", and the overthrow of Mohammad Mossadegh did set a precedent for coups elsewhere, especially in Latin America.
It's also sobering that the 1953 coup came before the undermining of Nasser, before Castro, before Fanon. Taken together, such efforts played an important part in undermining nationalist leaders who wanted good if "equal" relations with the West, and so helped produce the hardliners who came later, including political Islam (which of course the west for so long encouraged).
All the Shah's Men has a very telling quote from Ali Khamenei, now Iran's supreme leader - "We are not liberals like Mossadegh and Allende who can easily be overthrown".
Highly recommended .
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Kivanc Emiroglu on 27 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
This book does not talk about only Iranian history in 20th century but also the dramatic change in American foreign policy during 1950s. It takes Iran as a case study to explain American inverventionist foreign policy and this policy's negative impacts on the democratisation process of the developing nations. The story of Iran's legendary politician, Mohammad Mossadegh, who put a big fight for democracy in his country, is portrayed righteously in a very dramatic way by the author. It is a landmark book to understand the current shortcomings of Iran as a non-secular state. It also gives hints about the roots of terror coming from the Middle East. The author claims that the roots of today's terorism (including Al-Qaeda) lie partly with the American coup at Iran. I think it is a forced conclusion because Al-Qaeda, as well as many other terorist groups, are linked to Saudi finances. He does not explain this contradiction.

Afterwards, I read a biography of Mossadegh from an Iranian author and the stories match perfectly. Kinzer basically used Mossadegh's life as an input to portray the negative impacts of American interventionist foreign policy. A "must read" material about the 20th century Middle East history. This book grew in me after reading it and now I keep it as a reference book in my library.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Gareth Smyth VINE VOICE on 7 Oct. 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
What this book may lack in depth it more than makes up for in being so readable and accessible. America and the UK conspired in 1953 to overthrow a democratic government in Iran - the Americans, under Eisenhower, becuase they were fixated with a supposed threat from Soviet Russia, and the British because they didn't want to lose the massive profits they and the Anglo-Iranian oil company were making from an industry that Iran's prime minister Mohammed Moassadeq had convinced the Iranian parliament to nationalise.
Kinzer argues that it could have been different - Truman after all was having none of it - and he recalls Morgan Shuster, the American who helped the administration of Iran's fledgling constitutional revolution earlier in the century.
But the 1953 coup set a precedent - as Kinzer draws out well - for US-sponsored coups elsewhere, set up the Shah as Iran's dictator and, well, the rest is history. As Ali Khamenei, now Iran's supreme leader, said: "We are not liberals like Mossadeq and Allende whom they can easily push aside".
Good tale, well told, but with a deeply serious subject matter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Siriam TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Jan. 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The law of unexpected consequences is an exercise that retropsective history studies allows us to savour and see what lessons can be learnt for the future. This book is an exceptional example of that approach since while focussing on an event in the early 1950s, it allows an overview of the major outcomes some 50 years later.

Since the case involves Iran the more recent evolution into an Islamic Republic and its strong anti-US stance is well known. What this book covers in a very well written and structured overview benefitting from recent US government documents and increased academic research on the subject,is how the post WWII US (anti-communist) and UK (retention of control of oil production and supplies) national interests became embroiled in overthrowing another country's democratic government which had challenged the basis on which their national resources were being exploited and the re-installation of the more friendly Shah as supreme ruler. The ramifications of that policy 50 years later in terms of Iran's depiction of the USA as "the great satan" and the rise of Islamic fundementalism in the void of democratic regimes in the Middle East have many of their roots in this story.
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