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Khomeinism: Essays on the Islamic Republic Paperback – 4 Nov 1993

4.0 out of 5 stars 1 customer review

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Product details

  • Paperback: 200 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (4 Nov. 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520085035
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520085039
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 855,718 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Ervand Abrahamian is Professor of History at Baruch College at the City University of New York. He is the author of Iran Between Two Revolutions (1982) and The Iranian Mojahedin (1989).

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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fascinating and concise set of essays that focus on the political opportunism (realism?) of Khomeini and his movement. Looks at their switches over the 'guardianship of the jurist' (Khomeini never argued the clerics should rule while Ayatollah Borujerdi was alive), its manipulation of May Day to switch emphasis from the rights of the oppressed to the sanctity of private property, and the political redefinition that saw Ali Khamenei become the chosen successor to Khomeini even though he was far from the most senior jurist.
Abrhamian argues that rather than seeing Khomeini as a unique, 'fundamentalist' Shia Muslim leader, we should understand the simillarities shared with othter third-world 'populists' like Peron.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.7 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Khomein's Populist, religious and cultural authenticity 28 Mar. 2005
By L. F Sherman - Published on
Format: Paperback
Abrahamian's essays from 1993 argue that Khomeini was an astute religious Populist who did not micro manage the revolution but helped motivate, encourage, and lead a revolt that was against irreligious Royalty, foreign interests, cultural debasement of Islamic Iran and provided authenticity for Iranians.

The "Paranoid Style" in Iranian politics played a significant role in the revolution and also in the difficulty of interpretation since. Another chapter traces May Day celebrations (and what reminds one of "socialistic realist" art posters and stamps) to show evolution from elements of a worker's revolution to a nationalist bourgeois realism. The evolving perceptions of property and state (another essay) puts perspective on rhetoric of people's rights that never threatened private property but came to more strongly support a national economy so long as Iranian culture and religion were secure and foreign interests well controlled - pragmatism did not replace principle.

The most important essay argues convincingly that the "Fundamentalist" label explains little about the character or the success of the revolution. (This should be a strong reminder to the labelers of our own time who feel they explain and understand by name calling.)

Essays, perhaps necessarily, sometimes overlap and are uneven. At times they could have been briefer and tighter. A reader would do well to have some basic picture of Iranian history at least back into the 19th century. Yet the book has considerable value and the first and last essays on the "Populism" of the revolution and the "Paranoid Style" of Iranian politics are of special value.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very good little book 1 Oct. 2013
By Matthew Smith - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is a very good look into Khomeini, his evolution and his role as cleric and a politician. What is very interesting is how Abrahamian shows the development of Khomeini and how over the years his philosophies on his religion changed with the times. This was not a dogmatic man who stuck with one philosophy or interpretation and then followed that course, instead he was always changing as the circumstances around him changed. The man in his twenties and thirties would not have recognized the person who came to lead a revolution, and not only that but probably would not have agreed with him.

The book discusses his transformation from more conservative interpretations of Shia Islam to his embrace of vilayet i faqih which is probably the most significant shift in Islamic interpretation since Abd al-Wahhab. It would have been nice for the author to discuss this very important shift in more detail but with short length of the book it can be understood why it was a more integral part.

What is nice to see is that the author is willing to treat his subject openly. Usually in works like this the author is either attempting to discredit his subject or trying to put them on a pedestal depending on their own their own leanings, but with this book I found a very objective rendering that at times shows the inconsistencies in Khomeini's political and religious thinking. It really illustrates how the populist leader had to mollify his religious leanings in order to be the face of a revolution that really had little taste for his more conservative religiosity. This was a true revolution from the grassroots by the people, and they were looking for a leader in a nation with few people that had the ability to unite such disparate groups with vastly different political visions. Khomeini's ability to be the face of this movement shows how good of a populist politician he really was.

This book is a quick and easy read. Anyone interest in this man or his country will do well by giving this book a read.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best books about Iran's Revolution 21 Nov. 2007
By trustTreview - Published on
Format: Paperback
I wish everyone who talks about iran would first read this book. it is very balanaced, and thoughtful. It has original ideas formulated by Abrahamian. these ideas came from reading khomieni in farsi. not from prejudice, or from heresay. the author did his research, and presented the revolution and the transformation of khomeini's ideas pre and post revolution the best way i have yet to read.
I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in gaining insight into iran from someone who actually has spent much of his life objectively and with wisdom studing it, and did research by reading the most important sources in farsi!
2 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful collection of essays 20 Nov. 2005
By Luiza Vartavarian - Published on
Format: Paperback
those of us in the west would like to think that what the media says about iran is true. i am sorry to say thats not the case, the book gives us a far better idea of what actually went on in iran. We get to see what kind of a person Khomeini really was a vicious, shrewd, angry old man.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars This book tells us the radical belief of Khomeini and ... 6 Oct. 2014
By Mr. Bubles - Published on
Format: Hardcover
This book tells us the radical belief of Khomeini and his followers, this fascist belief is spreading throughout the Arab world and it is a threat to Western civilization.
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