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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

4.4 (916 )
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Performance
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  •  
    Matthew L 04-20-17
    Matthew L 04-20-17 Member Since 2017
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    "read this"

    excellent relevant book, should be standard reading, well worth the time, consider reading a history of Iran first

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lou 01-13-17
    Lou 01-13-17 Member Since 2016
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    "Simply incredible"

    The country of Iran and names related therein (particularly that of the Ayatollah Khomeini) always drew terrifying images in my mind, but why? How were my sentiments born for a country I knew so little about? Moreover, why did Iran hate the US with such fervor and why was that net of hatred cast throughout the world? Why would the 'benevolent' Pahlavi be deposed?

    Here, Kinzer relates a piece of history little known (or cared for) in the west, but whose implications have most certainly reverberated throughout the globe...including today in 2017. A must read for those who proclaim love for democracy, respect for sovereignty and do not wish to repeat the mistakes of the not so distant past.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Adventure Boy 12-06-16 Member Since 2016
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    "1/2 dull history of Persia from ancient times"

    The first chapter is excellent, but then the author digresses for over half the book into a dry history of Iran from ancient times until the coup. The end is fine, but overemphasizes the U.S. role in the coup and fails to explain how Mosaddegh went from popular prime minister to someone vulnerable to removal.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Paul 10-28-16
    Paul 10-28-16 Member Since 2016
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    "The story of Mohammad Mosaddegh"

    Good coverage of Iran but not enough on the actual revolution. More of that should have been included.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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    Jeana LeClerc 10-20-16
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    "Educational and highly entertaining"

    Wanting another perspective on the history of the Middle East and US involvement, I gave this book a listen. I found it thoroughly entertaining and enlightening. I am also deeply troubled and saddened. I mentioned to a friend, and former political diplomat for the US, that I was enjoying this historic perspective and was warned that Kinzer is a Russian sympathizer...and so the legacy of lies and propaganda continues.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    I. Jenkins Philadelphia, PA 09-19-16
    I. Jenkins Philadelphia, PA 09-19-16 Member Since 2010

    I wish had more time to read but since I don't I listen to books on Audible! Lover of history.

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    "A Road Map through Iran"

    If you want to understand the U.S. relationship to Iran read this book! Amazing detail.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Will 08-15-16
    Will 08-15-16 Member Since 2017
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    "Great insights into Iran's 20th century history"

    This book makes it clear that we (the US) have often given up our principles for expediency. In the case of Iran, we have not just supported a dictator, we have actually destroyed a democracy to put our man in power. Our excuse: We were paranoid about the Soviet Union. When it comes to the Middle East, our foreign policy has been a disaster and it all started with Iran.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    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 2017

    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

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