• America and Iran

  • A History, 1720 to the Present
  • By: John Ghazvinian
  • Narrated by: Fred Sanders
  • Length: 27 hrs and 11 mins
  • 4.8 out of 5 stars (189 ratings)

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America and Iran  By  cover art

America and Iran

By: John Ghazvinian
Narrated by: Fred Sanders
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Publisher's summary

A New York Times Notable Book of the Year

A hugely ambitious, “delightfully readable, genuinely informative” portrait (The New York Times) of the two-centuries-long entwined histories of Iran and America - two powers who were once allies and now adversaries - by an admired historian and former journalist.

In this rich, fascinating history, John Ghazvinian traces the complex story of the relations between these two nations back to the Persian Empire of the 18th century - the subject of great admiration by Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams - and an America seen by Iranians as an ideal to emulate for their own government.

Drawing on years of archival research both in the United States and Iran - including access to Iranian government archives rarely available to Western scholars - the Iranian-born, Oxford-educated historian leads us through the four seasons of US-Iran relations: the spring of mutual fascination; the summer of early interactions; the autumn of close strategic ties; and the long, dark winter of mutual hatred. Ghazvinian makes clear where, how, and when it all went wrong. America and Iran shows why two countries that once had such heartfelt admiration for each other became such committed enemies - and why it didn’t have to turn out this way.

©2020 John Ghazvinian (P)2020 Random House Audio
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

Critic reviews

"An expert on Iran delineates the massive rift between the erstwhile 'closest of allies' ... relevant, highly elucidating ... an evenhanded, revelatory narrative in which the author avoids muddying the waters with an overtly political agenda. An excellent single-volume history of a fraught international relationship." (Kirkus starred review)

"Ghazvinian describes in exquisite detail the relationship between Iran and the United States - from its inception in the years before the American Revolution to the present day. Beautifully laid out and at time reading like a thriller you don't want to put down ... Ghazvinian deftly shows us when, where, and why things went (and still do go) wrong. If ever the question 'why do they hate us' arises in the Iranian context, just read this book." (Hooman Majd, author of The Ayatollah Begs to Differ)

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Distortions Galore

The book contains some accurate presentation of history and facts. It fails miserably however to describe an unbiased picture of contemporary Iranian history. The author seems to have total animosity towards monarchy and is dismissive of any progress made under any king. While highlighting "Security service" and "abolishment of human rights" numerous times recalling life under Reza Shah and his son, there are just a few anecdotal references regarding same issues in the past four decades. No mention of "forced martyrdom" that resulted in hundreds of thousands of Iranian youth deaths during the war with Iraq. Instead, the author squarely, and for the most part inaccurately, blames the west in general, and US in particular for almost all of the crimes of the past four decades. No mention or blame of any international terrorism conducted by Iran makes this book a one sided misrepresentation of history and pretty worthless to read (IMHO).

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12 people found this helpful

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An Objective Masterpiece

A truly enjoyable and objective masterpiece. Comprehensive, informative, with a good narrator. Too often we only hear one side of this story, but this book will open you up to the view of the relationship from Tehran. The book is divided into four parts - spring, summer, fall, and winter, each corresponding to the relationship. For example, winter, part four, is the frostiest part of the relationship. Would recommend to anyone seeking to learn about the relationship between the two countries.

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fascinating

I recommend this book to anyone interested in knowing why we have been on a collision course with Iran in the last 42 years. Ghazvanian ventures into Iranian, American history from the beginning in a comprehensive and detailed narrative. A well written and well-researched book with historical facts. He boldly and honestly describes the events without boring the reader. He writes as a historian with a journalist /storyteller's fluidity without bias. His access to Iranian archives has given him a unique perspective, making his book a remarkable feat.
I hope anyone who is negotiating or planning to deal with Iranians read this book before undertaking the task.
I wish Mr. Sanders had practiced the names; he struggles with pronunciation like a professor looking at an unfamiliar name for the first time.

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Politicians need to hear this book!

This book is not light and easy, it is hard to listen to and yet totally captivating. It brings history to life, it shows where both countries have succeeded and failed. It shows us truths we don't want to see. Listening helps since the names are pronounced correctly and it is easy to tell the players apart.

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Real history makes for the best stories

A brilliant retelling of this incredible history, written with great passion and clarity. Thank you for this valuable book. All those lost opportunities made me melancholy, but I’m so glad I hit this book.

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3 people found this helpful

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Comprehensive analysis of US Iranian history

This was a great book. The narration was clear and the subject matter handled with reasoned and balanced analysis.

The US missed many opportunities to resolve the standoff with Iran over the years as the book makes clear. Many of these opportunities over the last few decades are the result of American foreign policy being scripted in Israel rather than in Washington. It is an unfortunate fact that our Congress is merely a lap dog to the Israeli lobby.

This book is worth the time to read and contemplate. The author did a great job and presents a viewpoint that is seldom acknowledged in the general press.

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Let me guess who prompted this: NIAC?

I was generally hooked into the story line from the beginning all the way to the revolution. The post revolution narrative is completely biased in favor of Islamic Republic, makes no mention of suffer and indignation that people in Iran have gone through. I lived there until 2011 so I’m speaking from first hand perspective. The nail in the coffin for me was how the green movement was downplayed to mere “instigations” from outside. I hope no other Iranian reads this book, cause this is heartbreaking to so many peoples sacrifices against the Islamic Republic

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fascinating and depressing

mindblowing history of Iranian American relations and a good explanation for the current state of affairs

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amazing, a MUST read!

Narration was excellent, and the story was remarkable. Bought it for my whole family to read.

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Good overall but some bias definitely bled  through

Really enjoyed the historical portions but much of the more modern history seemed like it covered events in less depth and seemed to lack a full picture but still generally honest but somewhat withholding on a closer picture of the modern state of affairs. I’d like to have gotten a closer picture of some modern day anthropological info on iranian people, culture, and a lot more stuff. But you cant get everything you want in one book, i guess ill have to listen/read more on the subject

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