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Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam
Mark Bowden
0871139251
April 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. SignatureReviewed by Philip CaputoWith Iran fingered in the latest National Security Assessment as America's number one enemy, Mark Bowden's new book is particularly timely. Guests of the Ayatollah chronicles the takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran by student militants, who held 66 American staffers hostage from November 1979 till January 1981, seizing this nation's attention in the process.In the aftermath of 9/11, with wars raging in Iraq and Afghanistan, that event seems to belong to the remote past, but as Bowden points out, it was "America's first confrontation with Islamo-fascism," while the hostages (who were released alive) were "the first victims of the inaptly named War on Terror."Although some may dispute those points, his portrayal of the hostage takers and their fanatical...


All the Shah's Men
Stephen Kinzer
0471678783
Aug 2004
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
With breezy storytelling and diligent research, Kinzer has reconstructed the CIA's 1953 overthrow of the elected leader of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, who was wildly popular at home for having nationalized his country's oil industry. The coup ushered in the long and brutal dictatorship of Mohammad Reza Shah, widely seen as a U.S. puppet and himself overthrown by the Islamic revolution of 1979. At its best this work reads like a spy novel, with code names and informants, midnight meetings with the monarch and a last-minute plot twist when the CIA's plan, called Operation Ajax, nearly goes awry. A veteran New York Times foreign correspondent and the author of books on Nicaragua (Blood of Brothers) and Turkey (Crescent and Star), Kinzer has combed memoirs, academic works, government documents and news stories to...


A Concise History of Iran

1413767982


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Book Description
Never before has a book of this caliber (brief but thorough) been printed in English regarding the entire history of Iran. Although the writer does not claim to be a historian, he realized the need for just such a timely book. A Concise History of Iran sheds light on the heretofore unfamiliar and often unrecognized relationship between Persia and the world; it is filled with information in a historical sequence with accurate and multiple references that may be used academically. Unlike the United States, where separation of church and state is a mandated fact of the Constitution, in Iran, wise Clerics-religious Magi-have had and still have enormous political influence. These learned theologians and magistrates were respected for their religious wisdom and, therefore wisely and/or unwisely, trusted to be politically...


Persian Mirrors
Elaine Sciolino
0743217799
Oct 2001
Paperback
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Book Review
In 1979, a clerical revolution in Iran swept aside the inarguably corrupt government of Shah Reza Pahlavi and set in motion events that would make that nation a world pariah. In the place of one dictatorship came another, one led "by an old bearded cleric in a turban and cloak whose answer to the king's injustice was to wrap the country in a populist message of promise and smother it with an intolerant version of Islam."

So writes Elaine Sciolino, a reporter for The New York Times who entered Iran with the Ayatollah Khomeini and who remained there for more than 20 years, providing American readers with memorable accounts that were less, it seemed, about politics and religion than about human nature. For Iran is a mass of contradictions, she writes, a country many of whose leaders press for forward-looking change while...



Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq
Stephen Kinzer
0805078614
April 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
The recent ouster of Saddam Hussein may have turned "regime change" into a contemporary buzzword, but it's been a tactic of American foreign policy for more than 110 years. Beginning with the ouster of Hawaii's monarchy in 1893, Kinzer runs through the foreign governments the U.S. has had a hand in toppling, some of which he has written about at length before (in All the Shah's Men, etc.). Recent invasions of countries such as Grenada and Panama may be more familiar to readers than earlier interventions in Iran and Nicaragua, but Kinzer, a foreign correspondent for the New York Times, brings a rich narrative immediacy to all of his stories. Although some of his assertions overreach themselves—as when he proposes that better conduct by the American government in the Spanish-American War might have prevented...


Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Marjane Satrapi
037571457X
June 2004
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Satrapi's autobiography is a timely and timeless story of a young girl's life under the Islamic Revolution. Descended from the last Emperor of Iran, Satrapi is nine when fundamentalist rebels overthrow the Shah. While Satrapi's radical parents and their community initially welcome the ouster, they soon learn a new brand of totalitarianism is taking over. Satrapi's art is minimal and stark yet often charming and humorous as it depicts the madness around her. She idolizes those who were imprisoned by the Shah, fascinated by their tales of torture, and bonds with her Uncle Anoosh, only to see the new regime imprison and eventually kill him. Thanks to the Iran-Iraq war, neighbors' homes are bombed, playmates are killed and parties are forbidden. Satrapi's parents, who once lived in luxury despite their politics,...


Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran
Roya Hakakian
0609810308
June 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
Political upheavals like the fall of the Shah of Iran and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism may be analyzed endlessly by scholars, but eyewitness accounts like Hakakian's help us understand what it was like to experience such a revolution firsthand. The documentary filmmaker and poet was born to a prominent Tehran Jewish family in 1966, two years after the Shah had exiled Islamic fundamentalist leader Ayatollah Khomeini. As Jews in a largely Muslim world, the family knew how to live respectfully with their neighbors. With powerful illustrations, Hakakian relates how, in 1979, when the Shah fled and Khomeini returned triumphant, she joined the cheering crowds. Khomeini's revolution seemed liberating, but before long, the grip of the Islamic extremists tightened. Women were put under strict surveillance; books and...


Delta Force : The Army's Elite Counterterrorist Unit
Charlie A. Beckwith, Donald Knox
0380809397
June 1, 2000
Mass Market Paperback
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--The Wall Street Journal
"Absolutely compelling...nations without men like this simply don't survive."

Book Description
The only insider's account ever written on America's most powerful weapon in the war against terrorism

See all Editorial Reviews


Spying on the Bomb: American Nuclear Intelligence from Nazi Germany to Iran and North Korea
Jeffrey T. Richelson
0393053830
March 13, 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Starred Review. Richelson, a senior fellow at the National Security Archive and author of several books on American intelligence including The Wizards of Langley, has written an authoritative and definitive account of U.S. nuclear espionage from the earliest days of atomic research in WWII to the present. Drawing on prodigious research—including newly declassified material—Richelson details the efforts of the U.S. intelligence community to track the nuclear activities of other states. The results of all this spy craft were at best uneven. With abundant technology—aerial reconnaissance, signals intercepts, seismic detection—but few human intelligence resources (HUMINT), the U.S. was consistently surprised by nuclear events in the Soviet Union, China, India and elsewhere. And we're still...


Persepolis: The Story of a Childhood
Marjane Satrapi
0375422307
April 2003
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Satrapi's autobiography is a timely and timeless story of a young girl's life under the Islamic Revolution. Descended from the last Emperor of Iran, Satrapi is nine when fundamentalist rebels overthrow the Shah. While Satrapi's radical parents and their community initially welcome the ouster, they soon learn a new brand of totalitarianism is taking over. Satrapi's art is minimal and stark yet often charming and humorous as it depicts the madness around her. She idolizes those who were imprisoned by the Shah, fascinated by their tales of torture, and bonds with her Uncle Anoosh, only to see the new regime imprison and eventually kill him. Thanks to the Iran-Iraq war, neighbors' homes are bombed, playmates are killed and parties are forbidden. Satrapi's parents, who once lived in luxury despite their politics,...


Tehran Rising
Ilan Berman
0742549046
Sept 2005
Hardcover
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Book Description
Today, Iran constitutes the single greatest challenge to the United States and the War on Terror. In the Persian Gulf and Central Asia, Iranian policymakers are busy cobbling together alliances intended to marginalize the United States and its Coalition allies. Iran remains the world's most active sponsor of terrorism, fueling the activities of Hezbollah, al-Qaeda, and insurgents in Iraq. And, through its nuclear advances, Iran is gaining the capability to catastrophically alter the geopolitical balance of power far beyond its immediate neighborhood.

About the Author
Ilan Berman is one of the rising stars of American foreign policy. As Vice President for Policy of the Washington-based American Foreign Policy Council, he is a frequent guest on radio and television. An expert on...


Searching for Hassan
Terence Ward
1400032237
Mar 2003
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
A U.S. State Department warning is usually enough to deter most Americans from traveling to countries in turmoil. But when the mission of the trip was to find a long-lost Iranian named Hassan, not even the inability to obtain visas in the U.S. could stop the Ward family. In 1998, Ward, his parents and three brothers returned to Iran to track down Hassan, a warm, thick-mustached chef and dispenser of folk wisdom who had looked after their family when they lived in Tehran during the 1960s. Ward skillfully draws readers into his family's state of heightened anticipation, especially since their only tip was the vaguely remembered name of Hassan's hometown. "Toodesht," Ward's mother remembered. "Well, just a minute.... Maybe it was... Tadoosht. Or... Qashtood." Aided by a 30-year-old photograph, the Wards traveled to...


Eternal Iran: Continuity and Chaos
Patrick L. Clawson
1403962766
November 2005
Paperback
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Review
"An essential guide to a country, and a foreign policy problem, that we ignore at our peril"


Where God Was Born : A Journey by Land to the Roots of Religion
Bruce Feiler
0060574879
September 1, 2005
Hardcover
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Book Review
Bruce Feiler's latest book combines now familiar elements into his own peculiar, delightful alchemy. Any particular page may be found effortlessly weaving together strands of theology, biblical exegesis, physical exploration, history and personal reflection as Feiler continues his journey of discovery, looking at the common roots of Christianity, Islam and Judaism. The Middle East has become a more dangerous place since the writing of his first book in this vein, Walking the Bible. But Feiler is impelled to answer his continued call, even when a flak jacket is necessary. He explores tunnels under Jerusalem. Goes to where David may have slain Goliath. Even looks for the Garden of Eden in Iraq while acknowledging that "the garden would never be found." It is this externalization of searches typically only made in...


Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran
Kenneth R. Timmerman
1400053684
June 2005
Hardcover
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From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com
Another day, another outpost of tyranny. With Saddam Hussein gone and Iraq locked in a tragic pattern of violence and disorder, the insta-book authors have set their sights on new targets. Even a cursory appraisal of the new offerings at local bookstores reveals a spate of books with alarmist titles and tantalizing claims regarding the remaining members of what President Bush famously called "the axis of evil." Kenneth R. Timmerman's profoundly deficient new book, Countdown to Crisis, falls squarely into this hyperventilating genre, making claims it can neither substantiate nor justify. On the surface, Iran offers plenty of grist for sensationalist ideologues: a hard-line president-elect, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, pledging to turn back the clock to the days of fervor that followed...


Persian Fire : The First World Empire and the Battle for the West
Tom Holland
0385513119
May 2, 2006
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
After chronicling the fall of the Roman Republic in Rubicon, historian Holland turns his attention further back in time to 480 B.C., when the Greeks defended their city-states against the invading Persian empire, led by Xerxes. Classicists will recall such battles as Marathon, Thermopylae and Salamis, which raises the question: why do we need another account of this war, when we already have Herodotus? But just as Victor David Hanson and Donald Kagan have reframed our understanding of the Peloponnesian War by finding contemporary parallels, Holland recasts the Greek-Persian conflict as the first clash in a long-standing tension between East and West, echoing now in Osama bin Laden's pretensions to a Muslim caliphate. Holland doesn't impose a modern sensibility on the ancient civilizations he describes, and he...


The Soul of Iran
Afshin Molavi
0393325970
Sept 2005
Paperback
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Patrick Clawson, Middle East Quarterly
No book compares with [this one] to give a feel for contemporary Iran….Simultaneously engaging and profoundly depressing.

Chris King, Washington Post Book World
Culturally fluent messengers like Molavi are invaluable, now more than ever.

See all Editorial Reviews


An Enduring Love
Farah Pahlavi
1401359612
Apr 2005
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
The memoir of Farah (Diba) Pahlavi, widow of the Shah of Iran, seems, at first glance, like a clone of Noor's bestselling Leap of Faith. Both queens were intelligent young women when they met and married their older kings; both remain discreet about their intimate lives with their husbands (who both loved piloting planes and playing with their children); both immersed themselves, as new queens, in cultural programs and social betterment work for their people; and both end their memoirs shortly after the deaths of their husbands. The parallels are almost uncanny - at least until midway through Pahlavi's story, when the real differences emerge. In 1963, the Shah began his "white revolution" to modernize Iran by instituting land reform, women's rights and workers' rights; Communists and fundamentalist clerics...


On Wings of Eagles
Ken Follett
0451163532
September 1984
Mass Market Paperback
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From AudioFile
Set against the backdrop of the Islamic revolution, Follett presents the factual account of Ross Perot's daring plot to rescue two of his corporate employees from an Iranian prison. Morse's dramatization demonstrates an impressive range--no scripted voice goes uncharacterized (whether it's Perot's or some anonymous Iranian captor's). Morse enacts many of the novel's unvoiced narrative passages with broad emotional strokes colored by the fear, excitement or dread of the particular situation. Despite these energetic attempts, the reading ultimately fails to captivate, due in no small part to the abridgment itself; while long on names and places, it falls far short in elucidating cause and motivation. R.W.B. (c)AudioFile, Portland, Maine

USA Today
A superb edge-of-the-seat...


Cambridge History of Iran (The Cambridge History of Iran)
Harold Bailey
0521451485
September 1993
Hardcover
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Book Description
The Cambridge History of Iran is a multivolume survey of Iranian history and culture, and its contribution to the civilization of the world. All aspects of the religious, philosophical, political, economic, scientific and artistic elements in Iranian civilization are studied, with some emphasis on the geographical and ecological factors that have contributed to that civilization's special character. The aim is to provide a collection of readable essays rather than a catalogue of information. The volumes offer scope for the publication of new ideas as well as providing summaries of established facts. It is hoped that the volumes will act as a stimulus to specialists, but they are primarily concerned with answering the sort of questions about the past and present of Iran that are asked by the nonspecialist.


Countdown to Crisis: The Coming Nuclear Showdown with Iran
Kenneth R. Timmerman
1400053692
February 2006
Paperback
·
 
From The Washington Post's Book World/washingtonpost.com
Another day, another outpost of tyranny. With Saddam Hussein gone and Iraq locked in a tragic pattern of violence and disorder, the insta-book authors have set their sights on new targets. Even a cursory appraisal of the new offerings at local bookstores reveals a spate of books with alarmist titles and tantalizing claims regarding the remaining members of what President Bush famously called "the axis of evil." Kenneth R. Timmerman's profoundly deficient new book, Countdown to Crisis, falls squarely into this hyperventilating genre, making claims it can neither substantiate nor justify. On the surface, Iran offers plenty of grist for sensationalist ideologues: a hard-line president-elect, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, pledging to turn back the clock to the days of fervor that followed...


Modern Iran Since 1921
Ali M. Ansari
0582356857
Apr 2003
Hardcover
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Book Description
Straddled between the world's two major energy basins, the Persian Gulf and the Caspian Sea, and possessing a rich reservoir of hydrocarbon resources as well as diverse minerals, Iran has always been economically significant. The Islamic Revolution thrust the country back onto the political centre-stage, and dramatically altered relations between Iran and the West.This book looks at these developments within an historical context. It charts how Iran sought to respond to the challenge of the West through reform and revolution, and to reverse the deline of the previous century with an ambitious programme of development. Combining detailed historical narrative with comprehensive analysis and explanation, Ali Ansari presents a new interpretation of the complex cultural polity that is modern Iran.


The Cambridge History of Iran: From the Arab Invasion to the Saljuqs, Vol. 4
Richard Nelson Frye (Editor)
0521200938
June 26, 1975
Hardcover
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Book Description
Volume 4 is a survey of every aspect of the civilisations which flourished in the Iranian region from the Arab conquests to the Saljuq expansion: in particular, it studies the gradual transition of Iran from Zoroastrianism to Islam, the uniting of all Iranians under one rule, the flowering into full magnificence of the Persian language, and the establishment of those other acts which were to flourish so brilliantly after the Mongol conquest. The volume as a whole provides a comprehensive record of the formative centuries of Islam in Iran.


In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs
Christopher de Bellaigue
0060935367
Jan 2006
Paperback
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From Publishers Weekly
This portrait of the Islamist revolution's heartland is far from the "axis of evil" caricature so often associated with the regime that held Americans hostage in 1979–1980 and is actively pursuing nuclear arms today. Rather, Ballaigue, who covers Iran for the Economist, presents a textured view of a complex society, struggling with an ancient culture, a radical ideology and a Westernized elite. Drawing inspiration from George Orwell, who chronicled the Catalonian revolution of the 1930s and its betrayal by Stalinists, Ballaiguecharts the Islamist revolution from its origins in the repressive regime of the Shah and the fiery sermons of the Ayatollah Khomeini, through its triumph and the taking of the hostages of the "Great Satan," the war with Saddam Hussein's Iraq, the Iran-Contra scandal and the waning of...


Lipstick Jihad: A Memoir of Growing Up Iranian in America and American in Iran
Azadeh Moaveni
1586481932
February 2005
Hardcover
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From Publishers Weekly
Time reporter Moaveni, the American-born child of Iranian exiles, spent two years (2000–2001) working in Tehran. Although she reports on the overall tumult and repression felt by Iranians between the 1999 pro-democracy student demonstrations and the 2002 "Axis of Evil" declaration, the book's dominant story is more intimate. Moaveni was on a personal search "to figure out my relationship" to Iran. Neither her adolescent ethnic identity conundrums nor her idyllic memories of a childhood visit prepared her for the realities she confronted as she navigated Iran, learning its rules, restrictions and taboos—and how to evade and even exploit them like a local. Because she was a journalist, the shadowy, unnerving presence of an Iranian intelligence agent/interrogator hovered continually ("it would be useful...

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