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Customer Review

on March 6, 2004
I read a white cover / draft copy of Farah Pahlavi's book which I bought [...] around two months ago.
I actually ended up reading this book three times and whilst doing so, compared it with similar accounts of the pre and post-revolutionary events which I had read about from other Iranian and non-Iranian sources. I also put side by side with what I could recall myself from the events of that era.
My overall conclusions and those of my father who is also an avid reader of Iranian history were to the effect that this book was one of the most authentic and significant accounts of the contemporary Iranian history.
Reading through Farah Pahlavi's book, I could not help to observe an earnest effort on her part to be objective even when the account given were almost definitely in conflict with her own family's interests and historical track records.
In short, it tallies, at least 90% of it.
Also, because this book has been written by a woman and because I am a Iranian woman myself, I cannot complete this review without drawing a comparative reference between the status of the Iranian women during the Qajar times, during the Pahlavi Era and where we are today some 25 years after the departure of the Pahlavi dynasty.
Women were essentially no more than common slaves or baby factories during the Qajar period. The Qajar Kings, apart from being grossly incompetent in terms of running the country, never demonstrated any tendency towards progressing the women's rights or status within their kingdom. On the contrary, they all had their vast Harems where much like today's Saudi Arabia, they had literally hundreds of wives, concubines and several hundred children (some of which were their own and others were the courtesy of their kind, supportive and thoughtful court employees). In those days, nepotism was rife of course and every one of these Qajar children (whether rightful or mostly of the courtesy variety) use to be given government posts which anywhere else in the world would have been reserved for experienced and highly qualified civil servants. Mohamed Mossadegh was one of these children who much like his other siblings was give put in charge of the finances of the Khorassan province (15% of Iranian land mass) at the age of 8 (Eight).
Against this background, one of the first acts of Reza Pahlavi, the hungry army Soldier who saw no option but to wrap up the Qajar's crooked show was women's emancipation. He started with the women in his own family and then immediately extended this right to every other Iranian woman. He also began the process of changing the country's laws allowing women to have a greater say in the society. This process was continued by his son who also secured voting rights for Iranian women and actively encouraged their education. All of this progress simply came to a halt and was then dramatically reversed after the 1979 revolution.

Without a doubt mistakes were made during the Pahlavi era and one of their greatest was the unequal opportunity that the Shah in particular gave to the rotten leftovers of the Qajar dynasty (the by now middle aged courtesy children). Resentful about their loss of status, as incompetent and manipulative as their forefathers and traitorous to the bone, the likes of Mohamad Mossadegh, Ali Amini and Amir Abbas Hoveida lost no time in subverting the otherwise progressive Pahlavi dynasty by generating and in many instances stage-managing shows of popular dissents which eventually cleared the path for the mullah's hijacking of Iran in 1979. This is indeed the one big criticism that I have of this book, it does not really deal with the role of the Qajar dynasty in our current predicament.
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