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The Mantle of the Prophet Paperback – October 1, 2008

ISBN-13: 978-1851686162 ISBN-10: 1851686169 Edition: Second Edition

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 424 pages
  • Publisher: Oneworld Publications; Second Edition edition (October 1, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1851686169
  • ISBN-13: 978-1851686162
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.3 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (21 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #380,580 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Even with news breaking daily in Iran, the first book I send myself and other readers back to has to be Roy Mottahedeh's "The Mantle of the Prophet: Religion and Politics in Iran," which was first published in 1985. A professor at Harvard, Mottahedeh has written an intellectual history as stirring and graceful as any novel. He sets the intimate biography of a young cleric against the vast epic of Iranian thought from Zoroaster to Avicenna, Kasravi to Khomeini. "The Mantle of the Prophet" is literary, learned, and deeply felt; the writing is splendid, and the story is an education for the Western reader unaware of the powerful tides of Shi'ite and Persian thought over a period of centuries. -- The New Yorker, June 26, 2009

From the Publisher

"A masterpiece....[Mottahedeh exposes], with dazzling erudition, the subterranean Sufi and poetic heritage lying just below the surface of Khomeini's seemingly granitelike orthodoxy."--The New York Review of Books --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

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See all 21 customer reviews
It is very nicely written, easy to read entertaining and informative.
Muzaffer Muctehitzade
If you want to learn, I mean really learn, something from a book or a class, you have to enjoy what you are reading/studying.
Matthew M. Frick
His books helps the reader to understand where the revolution came from.
Karel Vosskühler

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

35 of 37 people found the following review helpful By Alessandro Bruno on January 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
I read The Mantle of the Prophet many years ago. OSmehow the Amazaon computer knew me well enough to reccomend it, and it brought back the impression that this book left me. It is wonderfully written and relates the mix of socio-economic events and the Shi'a culture that coalesced to foment the Islamic Revolution in 1979. However, the sense the reder gets while rapidly going through it, is that the book presents this very thoughtful and clear historical and sociological argument in the manner of a novel, you can't put the book down. This no ordinary academic text and Mottahedeh combines the skills and art of the poet and novelist with the clarity and facts of an academic. I have never read such an interesting and clear - devoid of controversy or criticism - description of what's it like to study in a Shiá Madrasa, to undertand the curriculum and the stages that a student must follow to become an Ayatoallah. Mottahedeh also offers a simple and brilliant, powerful description of the cultural contrast that existed between the supericially modern and wealthy cosmopolitan Teheran and the countryside, which supplied so many of the clerics that influenced the masses living on the fringe. This book is as invaluable to the specialist, and is an excellent complement to the socio-hiostorical classic text by Ervand Abrahamian "Iran Bewteen two Revolutions", yet it can also be read and enjoyed by the non-specialist just the same. This was, however I look at it, one of the finest books I've ever read in my life
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Muzaffer Muctehitzade on July 20, 2003
Format: Paperback
Very comprehensive information about the shia, shia philosophy, development of learned in shia hierarchy and finally Islamic revolution in Iran. The story is written about a certain person as he grow up in Iran, got his education in religious centers and involved in the actions. The history and information are given as the situation requires background about it. It is very nicely written, easy to read entertaining and informative.
Sometimes I found names mixed, to many names with too different philosophies to keep up, so it is a fast book to read, time to time you may have to come back and repeat.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful By shedd@fas.harvard.edu on December 9, 1997
Format: Paperback
Anyone with an interest in history,philosophy, religion, the Middle East, Iran, or human nature, would find this erudite, beautifully written, very readable and sensitive story of one man's life as a religious scholar in Iran, a thoroughly satisfying read. Iran's history from ancient times to the Revolution of 1979 is interwoven with the biography of a Shiah Islamic cleric. The book's strength comes from the author's clarity of expression and his deep and broad understanding of his subject.A wonderful book!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Dai-keag-ity on August 18, 2005
Format: Paperback
Though deliberate in its pace and what I might call dry in tone, I believe this book, which I read over the summer, masterfully reveals the real Iran as it was in the last two decades of the twentieth-century, and gives the best insights I've yet found into that nation today: a country founded on the principles of a blood-soaked revolution. Forget what you hear on the evening news, read this book and approach Iranian culture with an open mind. I think you'll be startled, as I was, at much of what you learn. If the culture of Iran at the time of the Islamic uprising of 1979 was justifiably viewed by Americans as shocking, then it was also certainly fascinating in all its depth. This book takes us inside Iran from the point of view of a number of its citizens, as the pro-western nation in which they'd grown up retreats 1300 years in an effort to save itself from what it views as destruction from the outside. It is too easy to characterize Islamic fundamentalists as unintelligent and backward, but let us make no mistake, many who take that stance are shrewd, brilliant, and above all proudly commited to their way of life. In The Mantle of the Prophet, the reader will meet many of these.

This book gives descriptions of all areas of life under the Ayatollahs, from the law courts, to the marketplaces, the army, to the mosques themselves, and introduces us to real people who lived through those frightening times. This book is as important today in the age of nuclear proliferation as it was when first published in 1985. Anyone who wants to learn about life inside fundamentalist Iran would do no better than to add The Mantle of the Prophet to her reading list.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Erik Monti on September 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
Roy Mottahedeh skillfully weaves together the lives of several people from Iran to present a personal point of view of modern history with a vantage point rarely presented in other modern history texts. He also does not fail to address all the necessary points in history that set the stage for actions in Iran's recent history and give the reader an adequate foundation for understanding Iran's revolution.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 14, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book alternates between historical and analytical background and culturally rooted biography. The focus is on the personal development of Shia clergy in modern Iran. Mottahedeh displays impressive historical learning and insight into a culture much maligned and misunderstood in the West. A good and informative read on an important subject.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ali on November 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
The Mantle of Prophet is an interesting novel written in the context of Iranian history, religion, and politics. I would say pretty balanced description of the Iran today, I enjoyed that alot, except in the discussion of last fifty years, the author focused more on Jalal Ahmed, who undoubtly did good contribution, and other 'liberal' intelligentsia and neglected to give proper place to Khomeini, Mutahhari, and Shariati's ideas and role, in all, the role of the religious intelligentsia. I also wanted to see the the context of neo-colonial politics and the emerging (as a reaction) international Islamic movements that had influences on the shape of Iranian Revolution. The author traces Khomeini's involvement in politics after Bourojerdi death (1960s), which is not historically accurate. Khomeini wrote his book Kasful Asrar (or some other very controversial book, in which he not only criticized Shah but the lethargic Ulema class as well) around 1942. But all in all a good read.
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