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Days of God Hardcover – November 8, 2012

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'James Buchan trains a more scientific eye on how Iran's wealth-creator king was replaced with a Shia divine uninterested in modern government. He mines the literature in Persian and English to better effect than any historian so far ... Why did the shah's subjects not accept his notion of history racing to a conclusion in prosperity's glow? In this fine, elegantly written book, Mr Buchan lays out the answer in detail' The Economist 'Marvellous book. It is hard to imagine anyone else possessing the combination of qualities Buchan brings. He has the journalist's analytical eye and the novelist's imagination ... He can segue between the theology of Qom and the gossip of the Shah's improvised, petrodollar-funded Versailles, swooping all the while onto details either grim or hilarious or both at once that leave the reader scratching his head and wondering how the author can know so much ... It is written with the ancient historian's ambition - the ambition that Gibbon, Macaulay and Marx would recognise - that the record of humanity's blunders and bloodbaths and half-understandings should itself be an object of elegance and ironic beauty' Francis Spufford, Evening Standard 'Buchan's prose is excellent, with the vocabulary, range and atmosphere of a literary master, the clout of the sharp historian, and the ability to leaven history with fascinating snippets of intimate information, delightful, droll or horrifying. His research is thorough ... This is a compelling, beautifully written history of a country which has produced great literature, art and a warm people whose lives have been manipulated by other countries with ulterior motives and by their own autocratic and theocratic dictators' Independent 'This book comes alive with a wonderfully detailed and authoritative account of the Shah's final days and the murder and mayhem that followed' The Spectator 'Sharply written and persuasive ... Days of God offers a number of valuable, if frightening insights' Scotsman 'Buchan enlists all his narrative skill, learning and panache in this story of modern Iran' i Praise for James Buchan: 'James Buchan writes like a dream' The Times 'A succinct elegant book, written in an easy, conversational tone which never makes its big ideas or profound implications seem intimidating' Sunday Telegraph 'James Buchan's elegant prose sparkles on the page' New Statesman 'Combines deft broad strokes with intricate details, shading in apparent dry subjects with innumerable and delightful anecdotes' The Economist 'A soundly argued account of the causes, course and consequences of the revolution ... Buchan, a Persian scholar and former Financial Times foreign correspondent, puts his first-hand experience of Iran to perceptive use' Financial Times 'A superb and original history of the Iranian Revolution. It's essential reading' Simon Sebag Montefiore, Mail on Sunday Books of the Year 2012 'Buchan is capable of delivering assessment of stark precision' Sunday Telegraph 'An elegant and textured analysis' The Economist 'Buchan has a sure touch with narrative. Days of God is skilfully constructed, deftly weaving a path through the thickets of complex events while displaying the wider historical background against which this political earthquake was staged' Literary Review Rejecting theory, Buchan relies on old-fashioned virtues: a careful reading of the Persian and foreign sources, his immersion in the country's culture (he was a star Persionist at Oxford) and an instinct for the events and personalities that turned Iran from Middle East poster boy to society in upheaval. Buchan brings a keen, satirical eye to the story of a corrupt, intrigue-ridden court and a modernising Shah who cut through traditional Iran as if "the conflicts of centuries were being squeezed into half a dozen years" Prospect Elegant and pugnacious Daily Telegraph His story of the revolution is the best book on Iran I have ever read. He has the pen of the travel writer Robert Byron, and a trove of Persian poetry and lore shines from every page. Shafts of insight alternate with piercing wit, and his ironic dissection of both the shah and the ayatollah would do credit to Gibbon Sunday Times An outstanding analysis of the legacy of Iran's revolution Sunday Times Buchan's story of the Iranian revolution is the best book on Iran I have ever read Sunday Times

About the Author

James Buchan first visited Iran nearly forty years ago. A student of Persian and Arabic, he was for many years a correspondent of the Financial Times in the Middle East, and later in central Europe and the US. He has written more than a dozen works of fiction and history, including a portrait of Edinburgh in the eighteenth century (CAPITAL OF THE MIND), a biography of the Scottish philosopher Adam Smith (Adam Smith and the Pursuit of Perfect Liberty) and a philosophy of money (Frozen Desire). He works a small farm in Norfolk.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover
  • Publisher: John Murray Publishers Ltd (November 8, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1848540663
  • ISBN-13: 978-1848540668
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.7 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,331,552 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Michele Roohani Harper on December 26, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Very interesting book for all Iranians. I wished Buchan wouldn't rush through the last 30 years with the speed of light...
There are some minor mistakes but the book is historically correct and very entertaining.
I think this book is excellent if read in tandem with Abbas Milani's "The Shah".
They complement each other.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Dalton C. Rocha on January 14, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Here in Brazil, I read this great (in both paths) book. Great in size and details.
This book has these main qualities:
1- This book is well organized and made by someone that really knows its subject. The author even lived in Iran, some years, before the Islamic Revolution.
2- This book has chapters, about Iran decades before the Islamic Revolution. You can't understand Islamic Revolution without to know these decades.
3- Every chapter has the correct size, about its subject.
4- The introduction is well done.
Even so, I have to give four stars, instead of five, because of these problems:
1- Beginning in its the title, this book uses the word "God", instead of the word "Allah".
2- About the Shah, this book is mainly correct, but it makes a short mistake when tells that the Shah's main defect, was distrut. In fact, before its fall, the Shah trusted too much his "friends". Above all, he trusted American president Carter, for too much time. I think that with any American president, the Shah would had fell, but this book forgets the hysteric American and European press' campaingn against the Shah. This book also forgets the massive flow of money from United States (CIA,etc.) to the Khomeini's political movement. About the mission of the American General Robert Ernest Huyser (1924 – 1997) this book forgets how Carter used Huyser, as a tool to decieve Iranian generals and then Khomieni could ordered their extermination easily. See the book "Jimmy Carter: The Liberal Left and World Chaos: A Carter/Obama Plan That Will Not Work" writen by Mike Evans. The fact that Soviet Newspapers wrote the 100% lie, that Huyser was in Iran to produce a military coup is showed, in this book. The terrible behavior of American Ambassador in Iran(between 1977 and 1979) William Healy Sullivan (1922 – 2013), has no space in this book.
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1 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Inca Ruler on December 19, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Mr. Buchan clearly performed enormous research in preparing for this book. Indeed, it may be too detailed in portions of the book, unless a reader has a very personal reason for reading it, such as one of the tens of thousand who fled Iran before and after the Revolution. Still, it provides a reader some real insights into why Iran is what it is today.
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