I wanted to like this book, because I liked the topic, but the reader was actually painful to listen to. The way she read the male characters was a kind of painful burlesque. I think I did finish the book, and actually liked quite a bit of it in the end, but the audible reader was such a mismatch for the book for me that I gave it a very low ranking.
This book was a joy to listen to, not only for Sarah Vowell's wonderfuly, quirky, and satisfyingly dissatisfied-with-our-current-administration perspective, but for the great introduction to our lesser known presidential assassins (and even those well known presidents' lesser known stories) And I say "introduction" even though I did go to high school, because once you've listened to them in this way, you actually feel like you've been introduced to them, and developed an interest in them, for the first time. And then of course there is Vowell's completely fabulous delivery. Having her talking in my ear while I weeded the garden, cleaned the house, and walked my dog was a total joy. I actually PROLONGUED any task I was doing, I was having so much fun. Thank you, Sarah, and thank you, Audible. MORE Sarah Vowell please!
For anyone who wants to understand why we are currently in Iraq, this book on Iran is essential reading. Tracing the history of British and US interventions in Iran in the twentieth century, it provides a set of historical parallels worth some serious thought. It shows how a joint action by the USA and Great Britain against Mohammad Mossadeh, in 1953, offers an uncanny anticipation of the Bush administration's current doctrine of preemptive war. Importantly, tragically, that preemptive coup in 1953 helped to foster in the Arab world (Iran, Iraq, Afganistan) the very fundamentalist and terrorist forces that the Bush administration now invokes to justify that new doctrine of preemptive war. In short, there are some appalling precedents to the Bush doctrine: the United States today is acting in the tradition first established by Kermit Roosevelt in 1953, when with the backing of Eisenhower's White House as well as Churchill, he engineered the ouster of a man who could have brought a moderate nationalism to Iran. In removing from power the charismatic leader who nationalized the oil fields, Roosevelt's central concern was not the well-being of Iran, but the protection and extension of British and US interests in Iranian oil. The author acknowledges that such an action may have brought 25 years of stability in Iran, but he (and we as readers) are only too aware that the long-term costs for such stability are only beginning to be known. Gripping to listen to, cogently and carefully argued, this book narrates the crucial historical backdrop in Iran against which we should understand our current involvement in Iraq.
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