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The Iranian Labyrinth: Journeys Through Theocratic Iran and Its Furies Paperback – June 1, 2005


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Nation Books (June 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1560257164
  • ISBN-13: 978-1560257165
  • Product Dimensions: 1.3 x 5.7 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,505,333 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Lee D. Carlson HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on September 10, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
It can now be taken as an axiom that the Western press cannot be trusted to report honestly the events of the Middle East as they are occurring and how they have occurred in the past. Journalism has been morphed into a game of politics and self-aggrandizement on the part of journalists. The study of history has been exposed as a game of promoting a particular worldview, and historians have exhibited an extreme bias that is sometimes admitted but frequently is not. For these reasons the study of historical events has taken on particular importance at the present time. Those who sincerely desire an accounting of history in most cases must undertake the study themselves. In addition, the prevailing political climate dictates that an accurate picture of history be available, in order to not be subjected to the mental tyranny of propaganda. Every citizen must now become a historian, and must practice extreme skepticism towards any assertions that are put into print that claim to be accurate appraisals of past events. Documents and sources must be checked meticulously, and no apologies must be given if research indicates that historical events do not conform to prevailing ideologies.

This book, written by one of those who have been "on the ground" in the Middle East, attempts to give an overview of the history of Iran in the twentieth century. The accounting that he gives sounds plausible, and as a whole the book seems to be free of any extreme bias or hidden political agendas. However, it should be remembered that the author has viewed the Middle East through finite time windows, and therefore his appraisal of the events he has observed may not reflect the true situation.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Stephen A. Haines HALL OF FAME on December 12, 2005
Format: Paperback
Politics in any nation can appear confused, especially to outsiders. In an nation where religion is an influence, the complications grow intense. When religion dominates and theocracy threatens in a secular world, the twists and turns can only be described as Byzantine. Dilip Hiro makes a valiant attempt to impart what he's learned of Iranian politics and society in this book. It wasn't an easy task and Hiro has spent much time in Iran to understand it. He explains his revelations in a readable account. The reader is warned, however, that following his account isn't done easily. He's a journalist, but this isn't something to be consumed like the Sunday supplement in your local newspaper.

Hiro reminds us of Iran's special position in the world. It's not just another "Middle East" nation. Its history stretches back many millennia, even before it was the heart of the Persian Empire. That Empire's strength came largely from the area being a crossroads for trade and cultural exchange. Although the Persian Empire faded, the region was a factor in later imperial ventures, with the Ottomans in the 17th Century. Parcelled out by the European Allies during World War I, "Iran" was literally the creation of the British Foreign Office. The discovery of oil ensured Iran was rarely free of foreign influence thereafter. Whenever Iran attempted to shake off the oil-thirsty West, first the British, then the Americans, took steps to quell nationalism and restore "stability" and the free flow of petroleum. The most glaring of these intrusions was the overthrow of the Mossadegh government by the CIA, replacing a democratically elected government with a royal figure, the Shah.

The central theme of the book is Iran's Revolution of 1979.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Brian Griffith on May 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
This book achieves admirable balance in recounting Iran's controversies through recent history. Starting with the merchants of Tehran's Grand Bazaar, Hiro walks us through the labyrinth to the Majlis legislature, the popular movements and dictatorships of the past, the Islamic revolution, the oil economy, foreign relations, youth, women, and the future. Seldom do we find the perspectives of Iran and the West compared with such objectivity. Even less often do we find the shifting tensions between Iran's five major centers of power explored with such in-depth knowledge. I will offer just one typical quote:

"When it comes to interpreting the Sharia - that is practicing ijtihad (interpretive reasoning) [concerning what is morally required, allowed, indifferent, undesirable, or forbidden] - there is often no difference between jurisprudents on the obligatory and prohibited subjects. Differences usually arise in the gray area of "allowed, unspecified, and undesirable". Whether a woman is entitled to become President of Iran or a member of the Assembly of Experts falls into this category. As stated earlier, at least one senior theologian, Grand Ayatollah Yusuf Saanei said "Yes" to both. In general, though, older jurisprudents are conservative, sticking to traditional interpretations, whereas younger ones are flexible and progressive." (p. 355)

--author of Correcting Jesus: 2000 Years of Changing the Story
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Prof. B on September 11, 2008
Format: Paperback
Dilip Hiro's book shed a lot of light on Iranian culture and politics, and was very informative. It is worth reading about the middle eastern country who controls vast oil reserves and influences powerful international terror groups. The book will help you understand the dynamics of that country, and how it operates. Good book for the dedicated warrior.
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