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Days of God: The Revolution in Iran and Its Consequencesby James Buchan
Synopses & Reviews
A revelatory, myth-busting insider’s account of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 that details the escalating horror as Ayatollah Khomeini seized power, altering the course of history in the Middle East and the world.
James Buchan was studying in Iran in the 1970s when the turmoil that culminated in the revolution began. Fluent in Persian, he draws on a wealth of Iranian records, memoirs, and newspaper reports and brings an extraordinary depth of knowledge and personal experience to the first full account of that tumultuous time.
Buchan explores the roots of the revolution in the old regime and the role that American, British, and Russian interference played in creating fissures in the Shah’s base of power. He illuminates how even as the Iranian economy flourished, the Islamic clergy began to capture public loyalty, and argues that Ayatollah Khomeini was not the instigator of the first protests, as received wisdom stresses, and that religious frustration played a more important role.
Buchan captures the wildly escalating violence and overheated passions that gripped the country, reaching a fevered pitch when Khomeini returned from exile and launched a reign of terror and mass executions that left no viable opposition to his rule. A dramatic, scene-by-scene account with rich characterizations of the leading players as well as of the ordinary Iranians who were swept into the maelstrom, Days of God is history writing at its vivid best.
"British novelist and journalist Buchan traveled to Iran as an undergraduate in the 1970s. Shocked by its dissipated modernity, he says, 'I thought I had come too late to see what I had come to see, forgetting an ancient lesson: that in a year or two even this, also, would be obliterated.' His deep connection to the country serves him well in this sweeping panorama of the Shah's Iran and its rejuvenation, occlusion, and disintegration under Khomeini. Buchan's dry wit suffuses the poetic and philosophical — if not always straightforward — text; characters appear in major episodes before they have been properly introduced, events are mentioned in passing before they unfold. He devotes equal space to critical yet sympathetic portraits of the Rezas and to Khomeini. Of the first Pahlavi Shah, he says, 'In introducing the notion of a powerful state, Reza was the most influential Iranian of the last century, more influential even than Ruhollah Khomeini.' The Ayatollah, pensive and closed to the world, drowned his religion and his country in a ruthless obscurantism: 'It is said that once in Isfahan, the great Safavid divine Majlisi gave an apple to a Jew.... No such stories are told of Ruhollah Khomeini.' Agent: Joy Harris, Joy Harris Literary Agency." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
The 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran was one of the seminal events of our time. It inaugurated more than thirty years of war in the Middle East and fostered an Islamic radicalism that shapes foreign policy in the United States and Europe to this day. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;Drawing on his lifetime of engagement with Iran, James Buchan explains the history that gave rise to the Revolution, in which Ayatollah Khomeini and his supporters displaced the Shah with little diffiand#173;culty. Mystifyingly to outsiders, the people of Iran turned their backs on a successful Westernized government for an amateurish religious regime. Buchan dispels myths about the Iranian Revolution and instead assesses the historical forces to which it responded. He puts the extremism of the Islamic regime in perspective: a truly radical revolution, it can be compared to the French or Russian Revoluand#173;tions. Using recently declassified diplomatic papers and Persian-language news reports, diaries, memoirs, interviews, and theological tracts, Buchan illumiand#173;nates both Khomeini and the Shah. His writing is always clear, dispassionate, and informative. andlt;BRandgt; andlt;BRandgt;The Iranian Revolution was a turning point in modern history, and James Buchanand#8217;s andlt;I andgt;Days of Godandlt;/Iandgt; is, as Londonand#8217;s andlt;I andgt;Independentandlt;/Iandgt; put it, and#8220;a compelling, beautifully written historyand#8221; of that event.
andlt;Bandgt;A myth-busting insider's account of the Iranian Revolution of 1979 that destroyed US influence in the country and transformed the politics of the Middle East and the world.
About the Author
andlt;Bandgt;James Buchanandlt;/Bandgt; holds a degree in Persian studies from Oxford University. He worked for twelve years as a foreign correspondent for the andlt;i andgt;Financial Timesandlt;/iandgt;. He has written three works of nonfiction and six novels, including andlt;i andgt;Heartand#8217;s Journey in Winterandlt;/iandgt;, which won the andlt;i andgt;Guardianandlt;/iandgt; Fiction Award, and andlt;i andgt;A Good Place to Dieandlt;/iandgt;, which was a andlt;i andgt;New York Timesandlt;/iandgt; Notable Book. He lives on a farm in eastern England.
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