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Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic Hardcover – Sep 2013


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Product details

  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA (Sept. 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199322260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199322268
  • Product Dimensions: 23.6 x 4.6 x 16.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,409,691 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Revolutionary Iran Ayatollah Khomeini's return to Tehran in February 1979 was a key moment in post-War international politics. This book offers an account of Iran's unique history and makes sense of events often misunderstood by outsiders. It is an exploration of Iran's development since 1979 into an unpredictable pseudo-democracy. Full description

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Susman VINE VOICE on 15 April 2015
Format: Hardcover
.
Following a coup d'état instigated by the UK and the US in the early 1950s, Iran gradually became despotic. Growing conflict against foreign influence and political repression culminated in the Iranian Revolution, which led to the establishment of an Islamic republic on 1 April 1979. Under the Shah there had been arbitrary arrests and torture by his secret police - SAVAK, and were used to crush all forms of political antagonism. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became an active critic of the Shah's government and publicly denounced it. Khomeini was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months. After his release in 1964, Khomeini publicly critiqued the United States government role in the country. Eventually Ruhollah Khomeini and his supporters drove the shah into exile and all but in the process demolished the royal army. Then, under the blanket of the war with Iraq, they wiped out their allies and rivals - leftist, liberal and other groups perceived as a threat. This authoritative work by Michael Axworthy, a former British diplomat who headed the Iran Office from 1998 - 2000, does much to give a good readable history of that time, and then up to the relative present

It should be noted that Iranian oil reserves in, according to its government, rank third major reserve in the world at roughly 150 billion barrels as of 2007, although it ranks second if Canadian reserves of unconventional oil are omitted. It has foreign policy that is affecting the civil war in Syria and its active support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and its policy towards Israel - makes this a regional player that should not be ignored.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 10 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
A compassionate, realistic and convincing look at Iranian history, 1970-2012 30 July 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I loved this book.

Knowing next to nothing about Iran, my curiosity was piqued with the outstanding academy award winning Iranian film A Separation that depicted a complex, vibrant and tragic nation unlike what I'd imagined from my limited reading of alarming news about Iran. The news depicts a theocratic, threatening, paranoid, murderous government. All this is sadly and tragically true, but Iran`s government is not Iran and, as the book makes clear, Iranians themselves have very different views and aspirations.

Though Iran`s deep history as Persia is covered, the book is effectively about the period 1970-2012, from the lead up to the 1979 revolution to the book`s publication. Unlike other modern revolutions and contrary to the expectations of most, a clerical elite ended up on top after Iran`s revolution. However, to get on top this elite had to make extensive use of ruthless and cynical violence. Thus Iran`s politician-clerics represent an extreme wing of overall clerical opinion in Iran. The need for constant violence and intimidation tends to select for clerics who can justify the maintenance of power over the tenets of their religion. Large segments of the Iranian population have lost faith in their governing religious leaders, even as they remain committed to their version of Islam. This suggests parallels to Cromwell`s 1650s England, or Martin Luther`s pre-reformation Germany. Indeed, the book describes several points where modern Iran came tantalizingly close to developing in a different direction.

The author's excellent grasp of Farsi allows him to impart an authentic and empathetic sense of hopes, opinion and debate in contemporary Iran. His status as a foreigner lets him see Iran more clearly than many Iranians and his calibre as a writer/historian let him explain it all in compelling fashion.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
revolutionary iran 15 Aug. 2013
By Edward J. Deisley - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
i read axworthy's book on iran empire but liked this one more; he did a great job of describing a very volitle, confusing time very well; i especially liked the way he handled the three plus decades of interactions between the USA & iran; he was very objective & pointed out the times both sides blew potential opportunities to improve realtions between the countries in that time period; if they had, the world would be a better places today than it is; i have read several books covering this time period and this is the best from my perspective; i have visited iran & his insights agree with my take aways very well; an interesting country despite its being ruled by such a ruthless bunch of thugs; the iranian people will succeed in getting rid of the current regime i am sure not sure when
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Thoroughly researched and Objectively Written 30 Jan. 2014
By Shahrad - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Really enjoyed this book which begins before the 1979 Revolution and ends in 2012. The majority of the book is dedicated to the 1979 Revolution and then the Iran-Iraq War. The latter part of the book discusses the demonstrations of 2009.

Thoroughly researched and objectively written. Provided a fair and balanced assessment of Iran. I highly recommend this book.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Iran is a regional player that should not be ignored 15 April 2015
By Susman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover
.
Following a coup d'état instigated by the UK and the US in the early 1950s, Iran gradually became despotic. Growing conflict against foreign influence and political repression culminated in the Iranian Revolution, which led to the establishment of an Islamic republic on 1 April 1979. Under the Shah there had been arbitrary arrests and torture by his secret police - SAVAK, and were used to crush all forms of political antagonism. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became an active critic of the Shah's government and publicly denounced it. Khomeini was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months. After his release in 1964, Khomeini publicly critiqued the United States government role in the country. Eventually Ruhollah Khomeini and his supporters drove the shah into exile and all but in the process demolished the royal army. Then, under the blanket of the war with Iraq, they wiped out their allies and rivals - leftist, liberal and other groups perceived as a threat. This authoritative work by Michael Axworthy, a former British diplomat who headed the Iran Office from 1998 - 2000, does much to give a good readable history of that time, and then up to the relative present

It should be noted that Iranian oil reserves in, according to its government, rank third major reserve in the world at roughly 150 billion barrels as of 2007, although it ranks second if Canadian reserves of unconventional oil are omitted. It has foreign policy that is affecting the civil war in Syria and its active support for Hezbollah in Lebanon and its policy towards Israel - makes this a regional player that should not be ignored. There is the unsuccessful and controversial leadership of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Iran's' fore ray into nuclear research, which has been seen as veiled attempt to obtain its own domestic nuclear weapons programme. Yet, it seems, that a lot of people seem to know so very little about the country. This is an insightful tome brimming with information, as well as policy advice on how best to deal with Iran.
.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
EXTREMELY ENGAGING AND INTERESTING 14 Jan. 2015
By Zebra BZ - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Even as a long time Iranian-American, I've usually been skeptical of histrory of Iran written by non-Iranians. It's not out of any cultural concern, but due to doubts about scholastic depth and motives. However, this work by Axworthy not only has made me rethink that presupposition, but also made m think that it is sometimes possible that a non-Iranian can research, compile, and present Iran's history in a more competent and intersting way than a native. The book is very readable, engaging, factually informative, fairly presented (though as the author acknowledges no one is without bias), and quite interesting. I had a hard time putting it down despite its 500 pages. A sincere kudos and appreciation to the author for his interest in the history of modern Iran, and his dedicated and careful study of its complexities summarized and presented as well as anyone might have been able to.
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