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All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror | [Stephen Kinzer]

All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror

In a cloak-and-dagger story of spies, saboteurs, and secret agents, Kinzer reveals the involvement of Eisenhower, Churchill, Kermit Roosevelt, and the CIA in Operation Ajax, which restored Mohammad Reza Shah to power. Reza imposed a tyranny that ultimately sparked the Islamic Revolution of 1979 which, in turn, inspired fundamentalists throughout the Muslim world, including the Taliban and terrorists who thrived under its protection.
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Audible Editor Reviews

With his fast-paced narrative and deep ferreting out of the facts, Kinzer reassembles the CIA's 1953 coup of Mohammad Mossadegh, the democratically elected leader of Iran in favor of the bloodthirsty dictatorship of Mohammad Reza Shah, who is believed to have been a puppet for the US government.

If you like Robert Ludlum or John Le Carre, you'll delight in Kinzer's account of the return of the Shah to Iran. It's written and performed like a spy novel, with code names, secret meetings, and last-minute plot twists. Kinzer's a long-time, highly experienced New York Times foreign correspondent, so he's deft at crafting hard facts into compelling narrative.

Michael Prichard, a veteran narrator of everything from walking tours to military nonfiction, maintains a deliberate and steady pace. No shocking detail is overemphasized, and this contributes to the overall impact of the book.

What's most frightening is that in the middle of this listen you begin to see connections between the installation of the Shah in Iran and the events of 9/11. "Past is prologue" has rarely been as accurate as it is here.

Publisher's Summary

Half a century ago, the United States overthrew the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, whose "crime" was nationalizing the country's oil industry.

In a cloak-and-dagger story of spies, saboteurs, and secret agents, Kinzer reveals the involvement of Eisenhower, Churchill, Kermit Roosevelt, and the CIA in Operation Ajax, which restored Mohammad Reza Shah to power. Reza imposed a tyranny that ultimately sparked the Islamic Revolution of 1979 which, in turn, inspired fundamentalists throughout the Muslim world, including the Taliban and terrorists who thrived under its protection.

"It is not far-fetched," Kinzer asserts, "to draw a line from Operation Ajax through the Shah's repressive regime and the Islamic Revolution to the fireballs that engulfed the World Trade Center in New York."

©2003 Stephen Kinzer; (P)2003 Tantor Media, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"Breezy storytelling and diligent research....This stands as a textbook lesson in how not to conduct foreign policy." (Publisher's Weekly)
"With a keen journalistic eye, and with a novelist's pen....a very gripping read." (The New York Times)
"Kinzer's brilliant reconstruction of the Iranian coup is made even more fascinating by the fact that it is true. It is as gripping as a thriller, and also tells much about why the United States is involved today in places like Afgahanistan and Iraq." (Gore Vidal)

What Members Say

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  •  
    Shoaib A. Naseem Eau Claire, WI USA 10-31-06
    Shoaib A. Naseem Eau Claire, WI USA 10-31-06 Listener Since 2003

    History mania

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "An eye opener"

    Having seen the influence of Colonial British in Pakistan (then India), this book brought sickening naustalgia. It is very ineresting to see how we as humans with power, make things that are none of our business, our business. And then when things go wrong, we blame everyone else but ourselves. A must read for everyone interested in longterm ramifications of un welcome intrusions into sovereignty of other countries.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Robert Worcester, MA, USA 05-08-06
    Robert Worcester, MA, USA 05-08-06 Member Since 2006
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "great book"

    excellent listen, chapter 2 provides an excellent history of the shia faith. the first few chapters of the book provide an excellent history of Iran, and the author does a fantastic job of weaving the history of iran with the formation of the anglo-persian oil company, the rise and fall of mohammed mossadegh, and the islamic revolution of 1979.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mr. M Metwally 10-22-04 Listener Since 2003
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Great insight into US/Iran relationship"

    Great documentary, and a must hear/read for all those interested in understanding the US/Iran relationship. The US hostage crisis was always a puzzle for me until I read this book. It also gives an great insight into the history of Iran. Excellent narration.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Kayvon Seattle, WA, United States 09-08-04
    Kayvon Seattle, WA, United States 09-08-04 Member Since 2004
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    "Excellent"

    This book was incredibly researched and detailed, yet engaging and accessable. While the book is sympathetic towards the plight of the Iranian people and the nationalist/Anit-colonial movement, the views of the multiple factions involved are reported fairly. If this book has a "hero," it is MohammAd Mossadegh. Yet, for all his passion and vision, he is portrayed as a real human being with flaws, not a near-mythical giant-slaying figure. A MUST for anyone concerned with current events.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    A Mellor Las Vegas, NV, United States 07-20-05
    A Mellor Las Vegas, NV, United States 07-20-05 Member Since 2005
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    "The beginning of the end"

    THis was an absolutely great book on Iran/American history. After reading this book it is clear why IRAN dislikes us. It is not hard to understand why we bacame the target of extremeists by other middle east countries given our involvement in Iran int he 1950's. I never thought that just 50 years ago the American govt would lead a covert operation to overthrow a democracy and instal a represive monarchy. But that is exactly what happened. Now I am going to go read Charlie Wilson's War to find out how we armed these people we pissed off.

    6 of 7 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Sherri Clinton, CT, United States 09-27-11
    Sherri Clinton, CT, United States 09-27-11 Member Since 2011
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    "Blew me away."

    I had no idea. I thought I did, but I was wrong. Very well written. Well read. I will be listening again.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ron New York, NY, United States 11-13-09
    Ron New York, NY, United States 11-13-09 Member Since 2004
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    "A revelation"

    "All the Shah's Men" shines a bright light on one of the darker epochs of world history. Here is a story of greed, botched colonial adventurism, a misguided coup, and a neo-colonial puppet show that arguably ushered in the age of terrorism that we're living in today. Well-researched and well-written, the book actually made me rather embarrassed by my ignorance of the region, period, and characters. I'm very glad to have had the opportunity to listen to this first-rate book.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig Campbell austin, TX United States 08-18-09
    Craig Campbell austin, TX United States 08-18-09 Member Since 2007
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "Paying for the short-term perspective"

    Kinzer does a very good job describing the overthrow of the Shah in the 1950s. The actions that are described make one want to scream do the right thing for the long haul, not some immediate battle victory with long-term negative consequences. Doing the right thing does not have to be juxtaposed to a "reality" and a focus on consequences that are perceived on a short-term vision paradigm.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Fahd Moodus, CT, USA 09-22-08
    Fahd Moodus, CT, USA 09-22-08
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    "Excellent work!"

    Excellent work performed with complete integrity and thorough investigation of all the relevant facts surrounding the beloved Iranian nationalist M. Musadiq's rise and fall, much to the detriment of the United States foreign policy in the Middle East.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Gurmander Irvine, CA, USA 08-08-08
    Gurmander Irvine, CA, USA 08-08-08
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    "All the Shah's Men"

    I was 5 to 7 years old, a British Citizen of Indian origin and living in Meshed, a city in North Eastern Iran, at the time of the Coup and I remember witnessing the street scenes while hiding behind partially open front door of our house. The descriptions by Mr. Kinzer of the riots and the rioters and how the same rioters changed there slogans from one day to the third or the fourth day are so accurate. Reading this book brought back bitter-sweet memories of my childhood days in the Iran of the Mosadeq-Shah Era. The Shah was a pragmatist progressive and overall stood for a better IRAN. It is sad how both luminary lives ended. I feel so sad for Queen Farah Diba the surviving wife of the Shah Mohamed Reza Shah Pahlavi. He was a great friend of the world.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
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