The Fall of Heaven

The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran
Narrated by: Assaf Cohen
Length: 22 hrs and 1 min
Categories: History, World
4.5 out of 5 stars (156 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

An immersive, gripping account of the rise and fall of Iran's glamorous Pahlavi dynasty, written with the cooperation of the late shah's widow, Empress Farah.

In this remarkably human portrait of one of the 20th century's most complicated personalities, author Andrew Scott Cooper traces Mohammad Reza Pahlavi's life from childhood through his ascension to the throne in 1941. He highlights the turbulence of the postwar era, during which the shah survived assassination attempts and coup plots to build a modern, pro-Western state and launch Iran onto the world stage as one of the world's top five powers. Listeners get the story of the shah's political career alongside the story of his courtship and marriage to Farah Diba, who became a power in her own right; the story of the beloved family they created; and an exclusive look at life inside the palace during the Iranian Revolution.

Cooper's investigative account ultimately delivers the fall of the Pahlavi dynasty through the eyes of those who were there: leading Iranian revolutionaries; President Jimmy Carter and White House officials; US Ambassador William Sullivan and his staff in the American embassy in Tehran; American families caught up in the drama; and even Empress Farah herself, along with the rest of the Iranian imperial family.

At once intimate and sweeping, The Fall of Heaven recreates in stunning detail the dramatic and final days of one of the world's most legendary ruling families, the unseating of which helped set the stage for the current state of the Middle East.

©2016 Andrew Scott Cooper (P)2016 Blackstone Audio, Inc.

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent account of a pivotal and sad time

This book is an excellent account of a pivotal and sad time. The Iranian Devolution was the first international crisis I was old enough to fully grasp, and in addition to the scope of Carter's complete ineptitude this work shined a great light on how both the Shah has been mischaracterized by leftist historical revisionists but also how radical Islamists (is that so hard to say, dems?) manipulate the masses to meet their own diabolical aims. This is just as pertinent now as it was in 1979, since the current POTUS obviously hasn't learned from relatively recent history.......

6 people found this helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars

Convoluted text, arguably biased, poor performance

Right from the beginning of this book the last Shah of Iran is painted as a near-perfect human being, with such limited shortcomings that left me wondering how and why an entire revolution galvanized to topple him. And that continues throughout the book. I've always wanted to like the Shah but at one point the book becomes so forceful in his defense that it has become very difficult for me to follow. The narrator doesn't make things any easier: his accented (Arabic, not Persian) voice when reading passages attributed to Iranian figures is deeply annoying. I sought online voice samples of the Shah and he spoke in a completely different accent. I suppose that is equally true for others given they spoke Farsi, not Arabic. All in all, what could have been a superb audio book is just a flop in my opinion.

3 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Get someone who speaks Farsi please...

Why not use someone who could speak Farsi to read this book. Very annoying that every name of persons and places is mispronounced.

5 people found this helpful

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Really?

The story was fine, but, I found the narrator going into those stupid accents a bit distracting. The worst was when he put on a semi-British accent when speaking as Elizabeth II. First, you are not British. Second, you are not a woman. In some respects, it was like a newscaster doing exaggerated pronunciation of Hispanic names in the United States. He also did it when speaking from the perspective of someone who was Arabic--it was verging on cartoonish. He should have just read the text & not tried to "kick it up a notch".

Personally, I'd skip the audiobook and get the actual book.

4 people found this helpful

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I learned so much, but will have to reread

At first I was skeptical because it seemed so solidly pro-Shah. Later in the book, I became convinced, not that he was perfect, but that he did many good things and wanted to do so much more. I am convinced that his overthrow was a terrible thing for Iran, the US and the world. I say this in spite of the fact that I am an American who believes strongly in democracy.

4 people found this helpful

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Propaganda v History

This book is decidedly the former: sycophantic propaganda. Don't waste your time. If you want a true history of modern Iran I highly recommend "Iran, a Modern History," by, Abbas Amanat.

1 person found this helpful

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  • MM
  • 09-26-16

History relived, good account of what happened.

I felt this was a reasonably good account of what historically happened. Overall a good book. But, the imitation of people's accent by the narrator was over the top and distracting. I would have much preferred it if it was read normally without the accent imitations.

2 people found this helpful

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  • V
  • 09-14-16

Good book

This book might be a little long, maybe because this period is a bit of new land to me. That being said, it is written well and the reader has a pleasant voice. I should have taken more time to listen too

2 people found this helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • PR
  • 01-02-20

Good book, horrible reading.

While I find the writing to be well done, the reader completely ruined the experience with their attempt at accents. Unless you think you can tolerate a very annoying reader, I would skip this.

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Great timing

Very Well done and resourceful work.
Good timing for Iranian people to learn from their pasts and to take right actions and unites for better Iran moving forward.