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Bitter Friends, Bosom Enemies: Iran, the U.S., and the Twisted Path to Confrontation Paperback – January 6, 2009
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Top Customer Reviews
Our newspapers, television, radio and online sources are busy quoting outrageous statements from the Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and America's fear about their nuclear program. Jingoistic sound-bites on both sides have dwarfed sensible, thoughtful and fact based commentary.
Thankfully, Barbara Slavin has written a book that presents a holistic view we Americans are typically not exposed too. Using her remarkable access to people such as Madeline Albright, Condelezza Rice, Iranian reformers like former President Mohammad Khatami, longtime establishment figures such as Ali Rafsanjani, as well as dissidents like Akbar Ganji and everyday citizens, allows Slavin to shed sunlight on a nation most Americans know very little about. She was the first newspaper journalist to interview Iranian President Ahmadinejad.
We also learn about the tantalizing opportunities for reconciliation not seized by three successive American administrations.
Overall, Slavin's prose is anecdotal but fact based. Her book makes truth accessible and truth about Iran has been in short supply. Hopefully, her book will also make truth fashionable again.
For more information about Slavin's book and insights into Iran, listen to a podcast interview I had with her at the weblog, Intrepid Liberal Journal.
The author made a series of visits to Iran starting in 1996, and has structured this book principally on the basis of her observations, interviews with Iranian and American officials, and talks with ordinary Iranians. What we get here is a picture of a country that has a very tangled government - the author compares it to an American square dance - in which the ultimate arbiter is the supreme religious leader, the Ayatollah Khamenei. Though some change has occurred (notably during Khatami's presidency and as a result of globalization) and there are some democratic elements, Iran is still a very long way from having any clear separation between the state and an authoritarian religion. The Shiite form of Islam dominates and tries to extend its influence to other parts of the Middle East such as Iraq and Lebanon. The Iranian city of Qom, the "mullah factory", is along with Najaf in Iraq the center of Shiite Islam; and is described as something like a medieval enclave where religious law is rigorously taught and applied.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
ALTHOUGH HAVE READ ONLY A LITTLE OF IT, I'M PLEASED AND EXPECTING TO LEARN A LOT.Published 14 months ago by Julia C. Ford
Mrs. Slavin clearly has done her research with dozens of interviews with high profile Iranian government officials to shed light on the complex interplay among the dizzying array... Read morePublished on September 1, 2008 by Brian Kodi
Barbara Slavin's book is disappointing in that the author's excellent prose begins to be bogged down by too much propaganda in the third chapter, about Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the... Read morePublished on August 20, 2008 by James D. Cook
For the person who knows nothing about the socio-political relationship with Iran Bitter Friends Bosom Enemies is useful. Read morePublished on June 23, 2008 by Joseph R. Sullivan
I first learned about this book during one of the author's fairly frequent C-Span interviews. The book is as well written and presented as her C-Span interviews are thoughtful and... Read morePublished on April 20, 2008 by Jon Thomas
The fine line between reporting and analysis has blurred in the age of the 24-hour news cycle. As reporters seek celebrity and write books, they not only describe but also judge... Read morePublished on January 17, 2008 by Michael Rubin
Bosom Enemies, Bitter Friends is an excellent book not only for people who have spent a lifetime studying Iran, but also for the educated person who may understand foreign... Read morePublished on January 9, 2008 by A. Ganten