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The Ayatollahs' Democracy: An Iranian Challenge Hardcover – September 20, 2010
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“The first fifty pages of this book would make a Sundance-winning film, but the meat of the book explores, in vividly readable style, the evolving concept of Islamic democracy, the widespread support for nuclear power, and the historical pride and resistance to western intervention. A well-connected insider with the eye of a master psychologist, Majd gives us a nuanced, in-depth portrait of a country both far more sophisticated and far less rigid than western policymakers have yet appreciated.” (Lesley Hazleton, author of After the Prophet: The Epic Story of the Shia-Sunni Split)
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Is there anything to worry about with regard to Iran. I would say yes. Mr. Ahmadinejad certainly does not like the west and he does not seem to have anyone's interest in mind, other than his own. He does not seem to have the best relationship with the Ayatollah. Fair elections appear to be a joke. I do not have the fear that I had before I read the book. I can see the Iranian people as real live individuals who I sincerely wish the best for, as well as the rest of us.
One of the greatest misconceptions about the Iranian population is the implication of their discontent with the ruling mullahs. While this discontent is real, Iranians are a resoundingly religious shia population with religious beliefs undeterred by the daily intrusion of the clergy's edicts in their lives. Iranians are also fiercely nationalistic and angry over centuries of weakness and foreign intervention in their political affairs, and much of their belligerent stance is a manifestation of of this sentiment.
And "the truth about the summer of 2009 [mass protests in reaction to massive election fraud] is that there never really was a revolution, or even the beginnings of a revolution - green, Twitter, velvet, or otherwise." (pg. 53). While this may be a bitter pill to swallow, evidence of this proclamation can be found in a complete lack of subsequent effort to overthrow the regime despite similar outcomes in numerous countries in North Africa and the Middle East - The Arab spring. Rather, the uprising in 2009 was a reaction to corruption and dictatorship of the supreme leader, much like the 2011 Russian election outcry and protest against Putin's seemingly endless grip on political power. Therefore, Mr. Majd argues, this is more an uprising similar to America's civil rights movement of the 1960s than anything else. The most likely outcome of the uprising, in Mr. Maj'd view is the acceleration of governmental reforms.Read more ›
One of the first things I noticed is that the author is a man of strong opinions, often making off-the-cuff, often snide little comments on all sorts of things. It gave me the impression that the author forms his opinions quickly, and does not like to change them.
The effects of this being a book based on conversations is that I felt as though the book gave me a very smoky and dim picture of the inside of Iran, but nonetheless one much more informative that the picture given by most mainstream publications of any political stripe.
It is the author's contention (and I think he makes a very good case) that though the Iranian people are unhappy with the present state of their Islamic democracy, they are in fact quite committed to the government, and will support it. He paints a picture of an Iranian people who are very easily slighted, and yet cannot imagine why anyone would be offended by their chanting "death" to them. A people who are deeply committed to their Shia faith and their imams, and who want their imams to set limits on their democracy - their imams, not necessarily the other imams.
Overall, I found this to be a very informative book, giving me an understanding of the Iranian people that no other book has.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
expected a more straight forward description of the Iranian political system and less about personalities and politics. however the info about their system is therePublished 13 months ago by Clark Arrington
I found this book very interesting, although I don't agree with all the viewpoints. First off is the view that the Iranians only want nuclear to fulfill a energy issue, and not as... Read morePublished 23 months ago by Kevin M Quigg
Lost of interesting anecdotes relative to the Iranian political elite and accurate, I think, analysis that the basic political structure
has widespread support along with a... Read more
American/Iranian Hooman Majd is a busy traveler between East and West, apparently highly treasured in both realms. Read morePublished on July 24, 2013 by Hans-Peter Muller
An informative read although Majd's bias towards Khatami's importance due to his relationship with the man can make the reader skeptical of some of his analysis.Published on July 21, 2013 by Christopher Kekicheff
While this book moves through time according to, perhaps, the author's whim, there is a lot here that the lay reader would not have access to in any other way. Read morePublished on May 25, 2011 by Loves the View
This book is based on interviews that the author conducted on his trips to Iran and his own thoughts on Iranian politics. Read morePublished on March 18, 2011 by Houman Tamaddon