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.
"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)
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
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.
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.
'May you never go to hell but always be on the way.' - Yiddish proverb
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you ever wondered why "those people dislike us" and also wanted to understand the roots of modern day terrorism, you will want to read this book. It was an interesting and informative book.
Aside from the fact that the author is known from writing on a far left political slant, I had to read (I chose to listen) to this book and was glad that I did simply for the confirmation of some basic falsehoods in his premise that this one coup supported by both US and British governments singly led to modern terrorism.
That aside, I can hear the narrator suck in a breath in nearly every other sentence...........He has a nice cultured voice otherwise, but omg this is so distracting I'm almost forgetting how uneven-handed this author is.
This book takes the listener through Iranian history, proposing that the roots of problems between the US and Iran started with the overthrow of the popular leader, Mossadegh. Mossadegh was the first democratically elected leader of Iran. He was both idealistic and unyielding. Mossadegh nationalized the oil fields run by the Anglo-Iranian corporation, a forerunner of BP. Although many in the West could not understand his unyielding stance on this issue, the author presents facts to show that Iran benefited little from the oil that was taken from it, making it at least partially rational to withhold oil until when and if Iranians could run the oil fields.
Mossadegh was taken down by a coup led by the CIA, and initiated by the CIA agent, Roosevelt, grandson of President Theodore Roosevelt.
The author is a writer for the NY Times. He investigates, as fairly as possible, the historical events for the events surrounding the coup and its aftermath. After listening to this book, I felt that I had a deeper, though still incomplete, understanding of Iran.
Kinzer does a masterful job of researching a difficult subject, presenting it fairly and keeping the account interesting through personal details.
This is an important listen, given the circumstances in the middle east today.
Top 5 for sure
Great book and an important read. This is a great book to learn more about the situation in the mid-east. They don't like the west for a reason. Prior to 1900, they loved the west. What changed?
For me, audible books are the best. I cannot imagine flipping pages on this, even digital pages.
I had no idea that we, the Americans, turned out to be stooges for the Brits. Real life lies and spies.
Kermit Roosevelt by far. He practically did it by himself.
Yes. I had trouble taking breaks.
This book really opened my eyes to why the Iranians dislike - hate - us so much. It is also something we will have to live with for a very long time.
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