Top positive review
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An excellent, balanced account
on October 12, 2004
Shawcross is an excellent observer and journalist of international politics. His account of the Shah's final days is balanced, interesting, and clearly written. While it does provide considerable background on the recent (as of the book's publication) and longer-term history of Iran, that truly is background. Issues like the Ayatollah Khomeini's consolidation of power, and the hostage crisis, are treated only peripherally to the extent they are relevant to the strange odyssey on which the Shah embarked. There is, for example, for more information about the "political" bickering among the many physcians retained to treat the Shah's cancer than about American and international efforts to obtain the release of the hostages.
If you are looking for a book that provides a detailed analysis of the rise of the Iranian theocracy or the hostage crisis, I'm sure there are better-suited books out there. Taken on its terms, however, Shawcross' book is excellent.