Customer Review

11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Don't believe the diatribe reviews: it's actually pretty good, September 21, 2009
This review is from: Khomeini's Ghost: The Iranian Revolution and the Rise of Militant Islam (Hardcover)
First, I am giving this book 5 stars because in part I want to refute and counterbalance the highly disparaging and borderline-offensive review shown here on Amazon giving this book two stars. That critic perhaps has an axe to grind, and has ground it very loudly indeed. Coughlin is a London-based journalist, and his book is consistent with his profession. It's not an academic treatise, but there's merit in that. Nor does he get bogged down in the minutiae of theological disputes, as many authors on Iran do. He takes a difficult and controversial subject, a man who was himself an extremely difficult personality, around whom all manner of myths and mystique have grown up or been created, and deals with him fairly dispassionately, or at least as dispassionately as it it reasonable to be when confronted by the single-minded zealotry and cruelty of the subject. As a concise review of Khomeini's life and his political activity and significance I found the book helpful. The real lesson of the book is contained in its title: how the influence of Ayatollah Khomeini continues to resonate through Iran and the Middle East today, 20 years after the old man's death. One only has to read of the many and varied appeals to the "Imam's" legacy on the part of the various factions contending the presidential elections earlier this summer to see how significant, how central, Khomeini (and his ghost) remain in Iranian political life.

I found, however, that it was sometimes difficult to work out what year Coughlin was talking about: he says that a certain event took place in "April" but I then had to search for some contextual reference to determine in April of what year it happened.
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