Roots of the Islamic Revolution in Iran (Four Lectures) Paperback – January 1, 2001
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Lectures are concise summaries and opinion regarding each topic: "Iran and Shi'ism", "Imam Khomeini: the Embodiment of a Tradition", "Islam as Ideology" (on Shariati);and "The Year of Revolution".
Perhaps because the viewpoint is so different from the media and most staid academic treatments, and enthused by the spirit of the moment, the reader is engaged and interested. (Despite minor changes with republication, this book remains a work from 1979.)
Algar makes Iranian Islam and Khomeini central to the dramatic and important revolution that haunts us still. U.S. and Israeli interests were upset, and Muslim countries at the time neither understood nor supported the revolution. Western, and especially American media traumatized by the Embassy takeover and the `loss' of the Shah as anti Communist and supplier of oil, never came close to accuracy or understanding. Labels and stereotypes from them still dominate most works on the subject.
Since the revolution most academic explanations have been at a loss about how to treat the "religious" factor and the improbable success of the revolution. Neither political pundits nor academics can help but be embarrassed by the bias and shallowness of most of their work. Yet if Directors today are still having immense problems trying to do a full length movie on Ataturk - highly emotional after 60 years - they could not even dream of a time when one could be done on Khomeini.(The short biography by the History channel is tolerable for the time being as an introduction but still shallow.)
This book is a great place to start wrestling with the significance of the immediate revolution, the role of Shi'ism and Khomeini, the sociology of human spirit that created the people's revolution that is not to be explained by conspiracy or military takeover but rather success of a largely unarmed revolution against the 2nd greatest and most modern army in the Middle East of its time. Like it or not, this is a book that is a "must read" on many levels.