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All the Shah's Men Audiobook

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

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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

Average Customer Rating

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Performance
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  •  
    MikePhelps5 07-29-16
    MikePhelps5 07-29-16 Member Since 2015
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    "Brings current Iranian/Islamic attitudes about the US into focus"

    Great history of how the British and CIA led to the 1979 Revolution and ongoing friction with the US/Iran into clear focus. It somewhat downplays Ike's fears that if we didn't solidify the Shah's power the Soviets may invade Iran, which may have had cataclysmic consequences. This book is 95%about the deposing of Mosaddegh and 5% about the Shaw's atrocities. I thought, going in, it would be 50/50. Still, a great historical record of Mosaddegh's downfall.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    J. Pinewood Carmen, San Diego 07-08-16
    J. Pinewood Carmen, San Diego 07-08-16 Member Since 2016

    Johnny

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    "Very approachable presentation and good story."

    This was a very good audiobook. Fascinating to hear how foreign intervention for oil has had impact 60 years later.

    Narrator was quite good. Only star lost was sometimes I could hear whistling breaths between sentences. Annoying at first but quickly absorbed by the content.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    mrieke 06-10-16
    mrieke 06-10-16
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    "Every American should read this"

    This well-researched, well-written tells how the British convinced the American government to overthrow Iran's democratically elected government in 1953 to reclaim access to Iranian oil.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 05-30-16
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    "A Must Read For Everyone!"
    Where does All the Shah's Men rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    One of the absolute BEST!


    What was one of the most memorable moments of All the Shah's Men?

    The absolute corruption that permeates every government, every country, no matter if they are the 'good guys' or the 'bad guys'.

    It was exciting and a bit depressing all at once.


    Any additional comments?

    So much great information. Some was surprising, some was new to me but I wasn't surprised (like how corrupt governments are).

    This book is ESSENTIAL if you want to begin to understand the conflicts in the Middle East and the whole 'Islam vs. Christianity' thing. Without taking any sides, this book provides so much insight into the entire situation, it at least allows you to begin to understand that both 'sides' of the fight have valid points.

    Not a solution to the world's problems, but definitely more information, intrigue and corruption than you even knew existed!

    If you think you know about terrorism in the 21st Century, stop sounding like an idiot when you chat with your friends and coworkers, and listen to this book. I guarantee you had no idea there was such a long history in this part of the world that directly affects what is going on today!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jennifer Hafen 03-19-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great storytelling"

    Good background and detailed narrative. This is consistent with Kinzer's other books and reflects his ability as journalist.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Paul 03-12-16
    Paul 03-12-16 Member Since 2013
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    "Great review of history"
    Any additional comments?

    For anyone wanting to understand the current conflict in the middle east, you need to listen to this book. The facts are presented without bias. Make your own decision.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    engineeringstudent 03-08-16
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    "Everyone should read this"

    Most memorable moment:

    Mosaddegh: Are you Roman Catholic?
    British Rep: No
    Mosaddegh: Then you are not qualified for this job. Roman Catholics don't believe in divorce and we are in the process of divorcing the Anglo Persian Oil Company

    Amazing

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Moe 02-25-16
    Moe 02-25-16 Member Since 2016
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    "Great read"

    I highly recommend this to anyone interested in a brief history of Iran along with details of the events in 1953 in Iran and what lead to it.

    It's even better for us Iranians whom can relate closely to this part of history.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    M. Fry SLC, UT USA 01-17-16
    M. Fry SLC, UT USA 01-17-16 Member Since 2006

    gunslinger

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    "A required reading for an understanding of Iran"

    Very good information but the structure of the book is not conducive to an audio experience. Most notably, rather than a chronological narrative it is broken into chronologies of particular aspects. This led to some confusion of the context around which events were happening. This would almost certainly not be a problem in the print edition.

    The reader was easy to listen to and I appreciated the change of tone applied to quotations.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Cory Brickner 02-23-15

    'May you never go to hell but always be on the way.' - Yiddish proverb

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    "Remember the past or be condemned to repeat it."
    What did you love best about All the Shah's Men?

    The historical context that surrounds Iran and its people. The author did a phenomenal job framing the story. I think it shows the problems with "American Exceptionalism" and the unintended consequences our interference in sovereign nations causes.


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    This book is one of history and politics, not one of fiction, so I don't have a "favorite character." Anyone interested in the Middle East, what happens there and why, needs to purchase this book.


    What does Michael Prichard bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

    In some ways I didn't like the narrator. His voice was like an AM radio announcer from the past and his breathy gasps between words at times grated on my nerves. I wanted to offer him an asthma inhaler. This was my own quirk and it may not impact you, so I didn't want to be too harsh on the rating.


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    I did actually have a large empathetic reaction to the Iranian people. I think if the people of our country could understand the historical contexts of other countries, we'd be less likely to condone the use of force on them and expect that we could interject our cultural experiences and values on other people. It also prevents the political establishment and the military industrial complex from making an overly simplistic argument of "us vs. them." It's not. Iranians, Iraqis, Russians, Ukrainians, Syrians, Lybians, etc., are human beings also irrespective of their leadership. Do you deserve to be held accountable for President Obama's actions, or former President Bush? What if the shoe was on the other foot? Dropping bombs on them doesn't solve the problem, it only creates blowback. We need to get back to Jefferson's "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations-entangling alliances with none." Killing people, destroying lives, and imposing our will on others for 70+ years and counting, I think the people need to reflect on what our country's foreign policy has wrought and change its direction back towards the scope of Jefferson's wise inaugural pledge.


    Any additional comments?

    Eisenhower condoned the overthrow of the Mosaddegh government when he took office even though the Truman presidency resisted it. I think it is fitting that just 8 years later he said, "we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex." He foresaw the consequences of his actions that brought the CIA to power and foreshadowed the out-of-control shadow agencies that our country now contends with.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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