This is an extremely well written book that sheds a lot of light on the inner thoughts of those that have been influencing the Iranian nuclear problem from both within the regime and outside of it. Given that I am no expert on the situation I found this book very informative without being condescending. The writing style of the author is impressive as it gives the facts and then explains the importance of it succinctly.
I would highly recommend this book to anyone with even a passing interest in the world politics as it shows that the nuclear programme is not as simple a situation as a belligerent country wanting a means to defend itself.
Can be quite superficial in parts and is frankly over dependent on certain personalities, while not questioning their perspective in a serious fashion. Also source material is very limited. The book is also uneven in quality and coverage. While the Pahlavi era is primarily dependent on a few oral testimonies and possesses greater detail, the latter section on the Islamic Republic is quite weak all being said with little real historical grunt work being done by the author who relies on cliches at numerous junctures. There are also a number of historical errors.
Part of the problem with reading about the Iranian nuclear progamme is that for many, the quality of a what is read is purely dependent on whether or not they agree with the conclusion. Patrikarakos's detailed study on the Iranian nuclear programme goes beyond such polemics. His book is the culmination of six years of research in which h travelled across several continents to speak to key players in Iran, the USA, Europe, the Arab world and Israel, and to make copious use of primary archival sources. The fruits of this research enabled Patrikarakos to piece together a complete history of the Iranian nuclear programme since its beginnings in the 1950s right up until the present day.
In his conclusion, Patrikarikos dismisses the idea as fanciful that Iran's nuclear programme is purely for civilian purposes, but that doesn't mean to say he thinks that they will build a bomb. His opinion is in line with many experts in the field: that Iran wishes to achieve a nuclear weapons capability. He explains: "by which the state has surmounted all the technological obstacles to a bomb without actually proceeding to the final stages of weaponization (which could be achieved quickly if the need arose.)"
Whether someone is new to the subject or already an expert, the book should contain information of use and as such I recommend it being read. This is not least due to the fact that if Iran obtains the bomb, or gets very close to it, it could lead to foreign policy by the USA, the EU, Israel, and the Gulf Arab states being dominated by how to respond.