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A History of Modern Iran Paperback – July 28, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-0521528917 ISBN-10: 0521528917

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (July 28, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521528917
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521528917
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #117,309 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Ervand Abrahamian has done for Iran what de Tocqueville did for France, showing how the revolution continued the work of the ancien regime, through the ever increasing power of the state." - Edward Mortimer, Senior Vice-President, Salzburg Global Seminar, and author of Faith and Power: the Politics of Islam

"Ervand Abrahamian's authoritative overview of twentieth-century Iran fills a large gap in the literature of Iranian studies. His predilection for social analysis and class studies provides an original prism through which the reader gains fresh insights into the drama of the drawn-out conflict between traditional vested interests and growing state power. Drawing on a lifetime of research and writing, Abrahamian has produced a book that successfully combines erudition and original scholarship with accessibility. Specialists and general readers alike will benefit greatly from its reading." - Andrew Whitley, Director, UNRWA Representative Office

"Ervand Abrahamian's A History of Modern Iran is a splendidly well-researched and well-written, interpretive overview of 19th and 20th century Iran. The main developments under the Qajar and Pahlavi dynasties and under the Islamic Republic, the important role of Shiism in Iran's history, the origins of modernization, the quest for democratic reform at various junctures, popular participation in the revolutions of 1906 and 1978--Abrahamian covers all this and much, much more. This book, by a first rate historian, is a must read for students and those interested in modern Iranian history." - Haleh Esfandiari, Director, Middle East Program, Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars

"Abrahamian lucidly and objectively presents Iranian history, particularly the turbulant 20th century. The information contained in the book is truly incredible. Indespensible for anyone who genuinely desires to understand the roots of the theocracy that has taken over the country. Essential." - Choice

"There are great riches to be found in this brief account of Iran's turbulent modern history. It provides a valuable and dramatic account of a century of Iranian turmoil, violence, and intrigue. The story also includes a cast of strong-willed and colorful individuals." - Middle East Journal

"...Abrahamian expertly navigates through the many transformations and twists and turns of twentieth-century Iran and presents a well-researched and well-written account that provides valuable insight into twentieth-century Iranian state and Society" - History: Review of New Books

"Abrahamian... does an impressive job of recounting the story of the White Revolution, this last shah's botched attempt at modernization via a series of broad-ranging economic and social reforms in 1963.... Reading Abrahamian, one gains an acute sense of the potent cocktail of factors that finally led to the regime's collapse." - The Nation

Book Description

In a radical reappraisal of Iran's modern history, Ervand Abrahamian traces its traumatic journey across the twentieth century. While he negotiates the twists and turns of the country's politics, at the heart of hisbook are the people of Iran who survived the impact of war and revolution.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C P Slayton on August 10, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It might surprise many to know that Iran had a working parliament (majles) as early as 1906. As far as Iranian history goes, this has to be one of the best overviews of Iran's last 100 years.

The book begins with the Qajar dynasty in its dying days. Iran's political borders is not what one might expect at the turn of the century. Protests that led to the 1906 revolution came from modern day Iraq, Karbala, Najaf as well as Iranian highlands around modern Tehran. When we think Iran, we think of the modern state and its boundaries, the supposed 'Persian' domination and Shi'a religiosity, Muslim extremism under Khomeini's ideas in Valayat e-Faqih (Jurist's Guardianship) an idea written about in the book called Hukumat Islami (Islamic government).

Before today's Iran there was an ebb and flow of intellectualism either suppressed or in full force guiding the will of the Iranian people. Abrahamian as an author is not pointing fingers but doesn't leave out the coups of 1941 and 1953 and the obvious self-interests of the United States, the UK and Russia. At times Iran was a pawn in the 'great game', too often to the detriment of a working parliament.

There has been a democratic flavor in Iran for over a century, the people have long-demanded regardless of whatever Shah or Ayatollah attempted to rule otherwise. The 1979 revolution sprang from intense oppression. Mohammad Shah, receiving large amounts of western aid, built up his country in the White Revolution. The reforms had the potential of enriching the entire nation yet sadly, the rich were heavily advantaged and the poor suppressed.

Abrahamian attempts to describe also the tension and utility that Islam has played for different governments in power.
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23 of 31 people found the following review helpful By Z. Ahari on September 10, 2008
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Edward Abrahamian is a man who knows his Iran. This is an addition to his previous book "Iran Between two Revolutions". The present book is well-researched and well-written book on this difficult subject. Historically speaking the grievances between the US and Iran are relatively new, just over 50 years old. It started with the deposing of Mosaddegh in a CIA coup and culminated in the Hostage Crisis. Politicians of both countries have used the incidents as a tool for justifying their own agenda. Introduction of Israel to this explosive mixture has further complicated the issue. This book is a recommended reading for those who want to familiarize themselves with the issues and would not take politicians ' word on their face value. It is a good beginning for understanding the issues before we get into an unnecessary and potentially disastrous conflict.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Fariborz D. Rouchi on February 6, 2013
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An excellent book which explains in great detail the levels of society in Iran in the past 100 years. It also explains the effects of foreign interest and their manipulations of the political system which caused the destruction of the entire social and economic infrastructure.
This is an easy to read book which unfortunately does not explain in detail how the foreign powers caused the present middle east problems and puts majority of the blames on politicians and monarchs of this period.
Overall, despite its shortfalls, an excellent book to read with wealth of information.
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If one has read "Iran between two Revolutions", by same author, needs to read this too, since it covers the period until early 2000s.
Very good and informative, not as detailed as "Iran between two Revolutions".
But very good introduction to modern Iran for somebody who does not know much about it.
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The books gives a very good overview of the modern Iran. It shows statistics and data to back up the claims made in the book and the author in my view could keep his opinions to himself and narrate the facts as they were. I would definitely recommend reading this book.
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By Skender on October 29, 2013
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An excellent introduction to modern Iran. The author manages to summarize the complicated Iranian political history into a book that is easily digestible, without falling into the trap of over simplification and vilification or adulation of certain people or movements.
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By Jennette Gottlieb on September 7, 2013
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A great deal of straightforward, factual information about the intricate and confusing history of those years, presented with simplicity and clarity.
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By eman3477 on February 11, 2013
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I had to get this book for a class and read it without any expectations, but ended up enjoying it lot more than I had anticipated.
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