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Publisher's Summary

Immortal is the only single-volume English-language survey of Iran's military history. CIA analyst Steven R. Ward shows that Iran's soldiers, from the famed "Immortals" of ancient Persia to today's Revolutionary Guard, have demonstrated through the centuries that they should not be underestimated. This history also provides background on the nationalist, tribal, and religious heritages of the country to help listeners better understand Iran and its security outlook.

Immortal begins with the founding of ancient Persia's empire under Cyrus the Great and continues through the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and up to the present.

Drawing on a wide range of sources including declassified documents, the author gives primary focus to the modern era to relate the buildup of the military under the last Shah, its collapse during the Islamic revolution, its fortunes in the Iran-Iraq War, and its rise from the ashes to help Iran become once again a major regional military power. He shows that, despite command and supply problems, Iranian soldiers demonstrate high levels of bravery and perseverance and have enjoyed surprising tactical successes even when victory has been elusive. These qualities and the Iranians' ability to impose high costs on their enemies by exploiting Iran's imposing geography bear careful consideration today by potential opponents.

©2009 Steven R. Ward (P)2012 Steven R. Ward

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More than a military history

Any additional comments?

As an Iranian I have read more than a few books on Iran, and I am convinced that the writer has a clear and deep understanding of Iran politics/history.

I was searching for a good book on audible dealing with Iran history in 20th century and since I did not find many good ones, I considered this book. Since I was not particularly concerned with military issues, I was not sure if a "military history" will be the right choice. However, I am very glad I got this book because as one may imagine the boundary between military history and political history is vague in many senses, and this book portraits a valid and consistent image of Iran political history specially in 20th century.

The second half of the book, dealing with later years of Shah and onset of revolution, immediate years after the revolution and the details of Iran-Iraq war was priceless to me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Informative but uninspiring

This book reminds me of those history classes at school where you couldn't wait for the bell at end of class. There is plenty of detailed information here and the reader will certainly end up with a much deeper knowledge of the Iranian military, proving that they can stay awake.

The author also has an annoying pro-American bias that colours his accounts of post-revolutionary Iran in a way I found quite unhelpful.