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Assassins of the Turquoise Palace + Journey from the Land of No: A Girlhood Caught in Revolutionary Iran
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Press; First Edition edition (September 6, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802119115
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802119117
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.9 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #709,906 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Carefully researched and vividly written... This account of political violence underscores the fraught, intricate relations between Iran and the West. A lively account of an extraordinary trial ... an unsettling reminder of the dangers of excessive zeal." - The New York Times

Named a New York Times Notable Book of 2011 and Best Nonfiction of 2011 by Kirkus Reviews

"[Assassins of the Turquoise Palace] is a painstaking and riveting account—a true story that reads like an international thriller."—The Daily Beast, (“Ten Books That You Might Have Missed But Shouldn’t”)

“[A] riveting account of a multiple murder and trial that led to a paradigm shift in Europe’s relations with post-revolutionary Iran…. Hakakian… deploys all of her talents as a former producer at 60 Minutes and a poet in her native Farsi to tell the human and political story behind the news… A nonfiction political thriller of the highest order.” —Kirkus Reviews, (starred review)

“Even as they continue to breach every known international law, all the while protesting at interventions in their 'internal affairs,' the theocrats in Tehran stand convicted of mounting murderous interventions in the affairs of others. Roya Hakakian's beautiful book mercilessly exposes just one of these crimes, and stands as tribute to the courageous dissidents and lawyers who managed one of that rarest of human achievements; an authentic victory for truth and justice.” —Christopher Hitchens

“Assassins of the Turquoise Palace throws light on the rivalries and fears within Iran’s cast exile community… carefully researched and vividly written…In addition to being a lively account of an extraordinary trial, [it] can be read as an unsettling reminder of the dangers of excessive zeal.” —New York Times Book Review

[An] admirable… look at the September 17, 1992, terror killing of four Kurdish exiles who were holding a meeting in a small restaurant in Berlin… [Hakakian] does a worthy job of presenting the facts through the eyes of the men who survived the shooting and the German authorities who prosecuted the case… the focus on Middle East politics should give this broad appeal.” —Publishers Weekly

"'I feel myself as a translator,' she said, adding that as a Jew in Iran and now as an Iranian in America, she has always hovered on the periphery. 'My job is to tell what gets lost in the narrative about Iran—which is not the nuclear story, not the wiping-Israel-off-the-map story, not the ones that are in the headlines, but the stories that are sort of insider accounts, the stories that have deeply shaped us,' she said. 'There are these overlapping spaces that I do inhabit, and I stand there, trying to pass information from one sphere to the other.'" —from Roya Hakakian's Washington Post profile

“This is a brilliant, riveting book, with all the elements of a great thriller—a horrific crime, sociopathic villains, international intrigue, personal betrayals, a noble prosecutor and an honorable judge. And it is all too real: with remarkably comprehensive reporting and brisk, smart writing, Roya Hakakian has told a great story but, more important, she has made plain the lethal immorality at the heart of Iran's regime” —Joe Klein, Time Magazine

“[A] political thriller… thoroughly researched, dramatically told account…Reader’s will find everything they could ask for… -and more…discussed in riveting detail… [a] fine book.” —Washington Independent Book Review

“Insightful and detailed… [The Assassins of the Turquoise Palace] is not limited to a historical account… It is a rumination on the Islamic Republic’s culture of terror, and as such it delves into the personal lives of the victims [and] their broken families… [A] captivating narrative.” —PBS

“Roya Hakakian is something rare: a poet turned investigative reporter. The outcome of this unusual fusion is a work of journalistic revelation, written so fluidly and gorgeously, it is a masterpiece.”—Lesley Stahl, 60 Minutes

“As the world contemplates the pressing predicament of Iran, Roya Hakakian offers one possible solution through a riveting tale that is most timely and profoundly urgent. This superb true story is much more than an international In Cold Blood— it is a stunning parable of the central struggle of our times between totalitarianism and the rule of law.”—R. James Woolsey, CIA Director 1992-1994

“Gripping…” —New Haven Register

About the Author

Roya Hakakian is a former associate producer at CBS's 60 Minutes and a recipient of Guggenheim Fellowship in nonfiction. She's the author of two books of poetry in Persian and the acclaimed memoir Journey from the Land of No. Her opinions and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including National Public Radio's All Things Considered. She lives in Connecticut. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Roya Hakakian (Persian: رویا حکاکیان) (born 1966 in Iran) is an Iranian-American poet, journalist and writer living in the United States. A lauded Persian poet turned television producer with programs like 60 Minutes, Roya became well known for her memoir, Journey from the Land of No in 2004 and essays on Iranian issues in the New York Times, The Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal and on NPR. Awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2008, Roya published Assassins of the Turquoise Palace in 2011, a non-fiction account of the Mykonos restaurant assassinations of Iranian opposition leaders in Berlin.

Roya was a founding member of the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center, and serves on the board of Refugees International. Harry Kreisler's Political Awakenings: Conversations with History, highlighted Roya among '20 of the most important activists, academics, and journalists of our generation.'

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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Brilliantly written and well researched.
Shohreh Amin
One cannot but congratulate her for the revenge we all take seeing the reigning thuggery in Iran so powerfully exposed.
sam gejdenson
I found myself getting things done quickly just so I could reward myself by reading this book.
SP

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 22 people found the following review helpful By B. Leave on September 1, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Assassins is a compelling thriller that also wrestles with important issues facing the West and Iran. It showed me both the human side of both assassin and victim; political activist and party line enforcer; real-politique politicians and truth seeking men of the law. Instead of a dry history book -- its unique narrative non-fiction style reminded me of Copote's In Cold Blood. It drew me in and wouldn't let me go -- a rare feat for a book about a historical event.

With the reading of the final verdict that shocked Europe and Iran, it adds to the debate on a core issue the West always faces. Should they stand up for human rights or side with stability? Does stability mean lapsing into unnecessary deference? This book better than most showed me the actual human faces and lives caught in the balance. I really recommend it for anyone looking to get behind the headlines in Iran and even the wider Middle East or simply looking for a thrilling read.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Aramin on September 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover
This is a great read. A breathtaking thriller full of twists and turns. I highly recommend it even if you have no interest in Iran. This is an international terrorism story and a courtroom drama that takes you inside one of the most exciting political trials of our time. I got really attached to the victims and their families and found their quest for justice inspirational.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By MARTIN SMITH on September 13, 2011
Format: Hardcover
A great read indeed. Like a novel... and shines light on a slice of history not well known. Roya, it's a great book.. You put me there, at the restaurant and in the courtroom and most of all in the minds and hearts of those who lived it. Congratulations. Martin Smith
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Scott Moshen on November 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I went to Iraq in 2006. One of the first questions I asked my minder was, "Why does everyone say Iran is behind the violence here?" He pinched his thumbs together like a gamer handling an X-Box remote, "When Iran sees things going in a direction it doesn't like: a tribunal, sanctions, democratic protests in Beirut, it presses it's operatives buttons, effectively instructing,. "Kidnap here, detonate there." I believed him. He was a good man I knew knew more than I and I could tell he had nothing at stake to lie. It was not however until I read Roya Hakaian's Assassins From The Turquoise Palace that I saw laid out with evidence supported by no less a credible an insider than Iran's former president how the Ayatollah issues a decree with the names of 500+ dissidents on it to be targeted for termination. You may say, "The US uses drones to kill promulgators like al-Alwaki and death squads to dispose of bin Ladens." The Iranians target minorities championing democracy and equal rights for the oppressed and it targets it's own. Like the Soprano mob (I now finally understand why pundits' use of pejoratives like 'thugs' and 'gangsters' isn't cheap muckraking but rather calling a thing by its right name) the regime forgets who in its apparatus can be trusted and metes out the most barbaric treatment (solitary confinement, beatings, whipping, and "truckicide" the not so accidental collision with cement trucks) for operatives who've for no reason save bureaucratic paranoia provoked the Ayatollah's ire). In 1997 at the end of the trial documented in her revelatory tome, Ms. Hakakian points out that the international assassinations of Iran's opponents halted when the Ayatollah and his Special Operations Groups were unprecedentedly indicted in the assassination in Germany of 5 Kurdish Iranian exiles.Read more ›
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By H. Yavari on November 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
The book seems to be about terrorism, and it is. But, in a deeper lier, it is also about our world, where the victims have always been in the silent side. Rarely they might be heard, and Mykonos murder was one of those rare occasions that the victims voice was so loud, so clear that could not be ignored.
Just after a brilliant opening you will find yourself in a landscape which looks like Kafka's world. But it is not. It is our world, exactly the same streets we walk in every day, in Berlin, New York, or Tehran. This is the naked reality of our own world.
With a remarkable narrative rhythm, page after page, the writer takes the reader through the journey which started on 17 September 1992, in a Greek restaurant in Berlin, last 5 years, and came to the end in courthouse, where the order was issued.
"Assassins of the Turquoise Palace" is an important book, to read and to remember.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A. Cohen on October 18, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Roya Hakakian is a brilliant writer with a profound ear for the human condition and a keen eye for justice. The book is a must read for anyone concerned with the state of those who fight oppression.

It's a quick and gratifying read, but one that produced in me a range of emotions: First among them was a feeling of rage. That the same ilk of killers and thugs have comprised the Iranian regime since the 90s, and that they actually have become more entrenched, ever escalating the scope of their crimes, astounds and infuriates. Reading this work, feelings about the post-election clamor for justice in Iran, so horribly crushed, broke open again. How unimaginable, how devastating, that the decent people of Iran are so perpetually chained--and chased.

Another feeling was dread. Hakakian's guided tour of the landscape of the exile, the refugee, the deserter, even of the operative, sprouted an empathy that could not have arisen without her deft planting of the seed. I have visited refugee neighborhoods in Berlin and Paris (and Chicago), and have seen the cityscape of shops and restaurants, and subpar housing. The book showed the inner landscape of the people themselves, filled with struggle.

Another feeling was a kind of helplessness, like a witness to something inexplicable, something impossible to render (and which the book's protagonists were desperate to render in the German courtroom). Hakakian brings the reader into a circle of discordant yearning, and shows something that runs through it that is very deep, very painful, yet very rich--the river of exile that cannot be brooked.
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