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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 (901 )
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  •  
    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
  •  
    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
  •  
    engineeringstudent 03-08-16 Member Since 2017
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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
  •  
    Moe 02-25-16
    Moe 02-25-16
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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
  •  
    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
  •  
    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
  •  
    Jessica 12-22-14
    Jessica 12-22-14
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    "History Revealed"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David 10-13-13
    David 10-13-13
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    "Worst mouthbreathing narrator I've ever heard."

    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.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    LookoutSF 09-20-13
    LookoutSF 09-20-13 Member Since 2016

    deer

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    "Understand Iranian History better"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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