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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful Perspective of the Revolution
The scholar, Said Amir Arjoumand, attempts to elaborate on the inherent ideological causes of the Iranian Revolution. Various other authors I have come across refer to his work and upon reading his book I find his arguments and theories very well written and supported with extensive research and data. It is an illuminating look at what no doubt at the time must have...
Published on October 10, 2001

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3.0 out of 5 stars A solid analysis of the Iranian Revolution.
As the author states in his book, revolutions don't always have to be progressive in nature, they can also be regressive and in some of the revolutions, there are both progressive and regressive trends. As we learn in the Iranian Revolution, the trend was regressive. A second center of power toppled the first center of power because they became worried about their power...
Published on July 21, 2008 by Kevin M Quigg


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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Insightful Perspective of the Revolution, October 10, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: The Turban for the Crown: The Islamic Revolution in Iran (Studies in Middle Eastern History) (Paperback)
The scholar, Said Amir Arjoumand, attempts to elaborate on the inherent ideological causes of the Iranian Revolution. Various other authors I have come across refer to his work and upon reading his book I find his arguments and theories very well written and supported with extensive research and data. It is an illuminating look at what no doubt at the time must have been perceived as a highly unlikely event... the creation of a modern state subservient to Khomeini's unique vision of Islamic law as embodied in his Velayat-e faqih that ultimately destroyed all borders between politics and religion. It is no doubt a work which will prove challenging and perhaps even distasteful to those who come to it with strongly cemented notions of their own, but the scholarship and prose make it a worthwhile read regardless.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good look into the Iranian revolution, February 4, 2010
This review is from: The Turban for the Crown: The Islamic Revolution in Iran (Studies in Middle Eastern History) (Paperback)
The book is a very important look into the Iranian revolution. The author does a good job providing the reader enough background into the history of Iran to provide the context for the revolution without bogging the work down with too much detail. The only problem with this is that those already familiar with this history may feel as if much of the information is rehash, but the author here has put that history within the context of the eventual revolution so that the reader can undrestand the currents that took this nation onto a radical new path for both the state and the Shiite religion.

The author provides a very detailed account of the relationship between the state and the clerical establishment. What is very interesting is the complex and ever changing nature between the clerics and the state whether they be the Pahlavi's or the constitutional government. There was no hard policy but a give and take depending on where each side saw their interests at any given time. The Shah would sometimes court the religious establishment to help bolster their regime only to turn on them once they were firmly entrenched in power.

One of the main things I took away from this book was just how vibrant and fluid Iranian society was. There was so many people pulling in so many different directions that in the end it was this diffusion of power and influence that made it possible for the theocratic revolution to occur.

My main criticism of this book is that when the author hones in on the revolutionary period I feel he sacrifices the macro for the micro. He seems to look at the revolution solely from the perspective of something that happened so it was a foregone conlcusion that it would happen. This causes a loss of perspective that ends up minimizing the very real contributions by a plethora of other groups in the overthrow of the Shah, instead his account makes it seem as if this revolution was simply a clerical affair which it very much was not. In some ways this much more narrow focus can be a good thing as long as the reader already has a pretty in depth understanding of the events because it can provide a better perspective as far as the clerical establishment goes, but without that understanding comng into this book the reader can get a distorted picture.

The other thing this narrow focus does is ignore some real political realities. One of the things the author does is blame the participants for letting Khomeini take over the revolution. The problem I have is that this doesn't take into account two very real factors at play. One of these is Khomeini's very real political acumen, and the second, which plays into the first, is the eupohoria and the momentum of the events. This momentum allowed Khomeini to become a symbol rather than a flesh and blood man with an agenda, and Khomeini the symbol was amorphous and abstract allowing him to be all things to all people. This is why you would see feminists marching in support of the man. By the time the symbol became a hard reality it was already too late. What the auther does do really well, though, is to explain the very real limitations that faced other potential centers of power like the middle class or the Tudeh party. Even had they realized Khomeini's vision early on their potential power was still very new and diffused.

For me the tenth chapter A Comparative Perspective fell flat. It seemed a bit strained and out of place with the rest of the work. I felt it was dense and unnecessary.

With all that said, for me, chapter nine was worth the price of the book alone. I was very pleased to see the author tackle the theory of velayat-e faqih in a serious way. I would have loved to see the author spend more time on this topic, but the author did a wonderful job detailing in a consumer friendly way the huge split that Khomeini caused within the Shiite religion with his implementaion of this theory. He shows where it came from and how this interpretation is so revolutionary. I was thrilled and enthralled reading this section, and it was this section that contributed more to my understanding of all the revolutionary currents that underpinned this historical moment.

There are some real problems with this work, but overall it will go a long way in contributing to the readers overall understanding Iran of today and the past. Also the author's discussion of the religious ramifications is essential reading. This book is definitely recommended despite some real problems, but in the end there is too much value to ignore this important book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars A solid analysis of the Iranian Revolution., July 21, 2008
By 
Kevin M Quigg (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: The Turban for the Crown: The Islamic Revolution in Iran (Studies in Middle Eastern History) (Paperback)
As the author states in his book, revolutions don't always have to be progressive in nature, they can also be regressive and in some of the revolutions, there are both progressive and regressive trends. As we learn in the Iranian Revolution, the trend was regressive. A second center of power toppled the first center of power because they became worried about their power and resources. The first center of power was the royal dynasty (Pahlavi) where a weak willed dictator did not want to risk the loss of life to save his throne. The American government (under another weak willed leader Carter) chastised the Shah for any loss of life. Meanwhile, a faction of the clergy turned the tables on the Shah and their other competitors and seized power. The result was a more totalitarian government than the Shah ever was. This government encouraged morals police and eliminated any polical opponent (including other clerics). The result was a dictatorial theocracy that exceeded the Shiite traditions on religious control of the government.

The one and only thing I don't like about this book is the sociological precise terminlogy that is used throughout the writings. This is a very difficult book to understand. However, the author does a solid analysis of why the Shah fell and Khomeni rose to the top of the Iranian leadership.
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5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent analysis of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, August 26, 1998
By A Customer
Said Arjomand does an excellent job of showing how it was possible at the end of what is thought of as enlightened 20th century for a group of people dedicated to religious dogma thousand years old to overthrow a modern, centralized state. Arjomand is also right in noting that the Islamic revolution is a prototype for other fundamentalist revolutions that are sure to come in parts of the world and in showing the similarities between secular totalitarian systems, such as Fascism (nationalism+socialism), Communism (classism+socialism) and the Islamic totalitarian system presently in Iran (Islam+socialism). All in all, a must for anyone who wants to understand modern Iran and the Middle East
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4.0 out of 5 stars Informative, November 12, 2014
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This review is from: The Turban for the Crown: The Islamic Revolution in Iran (Studies in Middle Eastern History) (Paperback)
Very helpful in understanding Islam, differences, history of the region.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Increases overall understanding, February 24, 2009
By 
G. A. Rees (West Lafayette, IN) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Turban for the Crown: The Islamic Revolution in Iran (Studies in Middle Eastern History) (Paperback)
Arjomand's book, Turban for the Crown, is packed full of information on the Islamic Revolution, and the history leading up to the creation of the modern theocracy in Iran. However, Turban for the Crown doesn't present this information in a why that can be penetrated readily.

Arjomand's deep understanding of the intricacy of Islamic society is incredible and his breadth of knowledge into Iran's political environment in relation to the clerical hierarchy give the reader a window into the complex religio-political structure in Iran. Understanding this complexity is not easy for the reader by any means, and it could take multiple readings of certain chapters to discern their meaning and importance.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars God isn't Allah, but this book is very good, December 22, 2010
By 
Dalton C. Rocha (Fortaleza, CE, Brazil.) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Turban for the Crown: The Islamic Revolution in Iran (Studies in Middle Eastern History) (Paperback)
I read this very good book, here in Brazil. The author really knows the subject; he did dozens of interviews and read hundreds of books about the subjects, in this book. And this book was even better than I thought, because:
1-This book is unbiased. It tells what happened. Please, don't expect to read flattery about the last Shah of Iran or even more, about Khomeini. If you like the Shah or Islam, please, don't read this book.
2-This book shows that the American role in Iranian Revolutions was small. The pages 128 to 133 are only about American role in Iran. And Then American President Carter couldn't stop Iranian Revolution.
3-This book shows that Islamic Iran is here to stay. Remember that it was writen, in 1988. See pages 163 and 182.
4-This book shows that Iran is ever was a patrimonialist and corrupt state. See pages 24, 25, 26, etc. Well, I'm a Brazilian and know what means corruption and patrimonialism.
5-This book shows what the last Iranian Shah really was: a corrupt, weak, incompetent and he hated his own generals. See pages 111, 112, 114, 118, 124, 128, 191, etc. Never this book writes or claims that Khomeini and his followers were better than the Shah, except in their will to stay in power.
6-This book shows what really Islam is: a global totalitarism. Such as communism, fascism and nazism Islam is a total way of life, with any will to support any organized opposition.
7-The last chapter of this book, the chapter ten, is the best thing that I ever read about revolutions. On page 209, there's some few sentences about Brazilian integralism.
Even mainly about Iran, this book is to almost anyone. I have just one critic, when this book uses the word "God" instead of "Allah". even so, this is the best work that I ever read about Islamic Revolution and about revolutions in general.
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4 of 20 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars unless you like solid analysis and accurate facts, read., January 23, 2000
By A Customer
this book represents the lack of the author's understanding of the social and political realities of a postmodern world. it presents no anylysis, of any depth, of any political thought; nor does it evaluate history, other than in a narrow and utterly uncomprehensive way. this book is a manifestation of the unanalytical and ill-informed name-calling nature of the anti-islamic republic trend. the author attempts to use western vocabulary to "describe" the islamic republic, but fails even on western terms. for instance, the author lacks understanding of the very term 'facist.' or look at how the terms 'western' and 'modern' are confused.
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The Turban for the Crown: The Islamic Revolution in Iran (Studies in Middle Eastern History)
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