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Blood & Oil: A Prince's Memoir of Iran, from the Shah to the Ayatollahby Man Farmanfarmaiyan
Synopses & Reviews
PEN/West Award Finalist
" Told with energy, perception and great charm. . . . For anyone who wants to . . . gain insight into the great cultural and political richness of Iran, past, present and future, this book is a marvelous introduction."
--Fred Halliday, Los Angeles Times
Iran was the first country in the Middle East to develop an oil industry, and oil has been central to its tumultuous twentieth-century history. A finalist for the PEN/West Award, Blood and Oil tells the epic inside story of the battle for Iranian oil. A prominent member of one of Iran's most powerful aristocratic families--so feared by Khomeini that the entire clan was blacklisted--Prince Manucher Farmanfarmaian was raised in a harem at the heart of Iran's imperial court. With wit and provocative detail, he describes the days when he served as the Shah's oil adviser and pioneered the partnership that resulted in OPEC. Beautifully written and epic in its scope, this scintillating memoir provides a fascinating history of modern Iran.
" Distinguished by its political acumen, historical sense, and vividness of description and anecdote. It is also notable for a wry sense of humour. . . . Amid the euphoria about the development of the oilfields of Central Asia and the Transcaucasus, [its] lesson should be kept in mind."
--Anatol Lieven, Financial Times
"A book of stunning beauty . . . One of the best accounts of the cultural and political life of modern Iran, it is exquisite and intimate, rendered with art-istry and detail." --Fouad Ajami
Born into Iran's most powerful aristocratic family - so feared by Khomeini that the entire clan was blacklisted - Prince Manucher was raised in a vast harem with his thirty-five brothers and sisters, one of whom married the head of Iran's communist party, while another, who was once foreign minister, lost his life to the upstart Shah's jealousy. Farmanfarmaian was the primary government negotiator with the British-owned Anglo-Iranian Oil Company until its convulsive nationalization by his cousin Mossedeq in 1951. Later, as a director of the National Iranian Oil Company, he pioneered - against the Shah's wishes - the partnership that resulted in OPEC. This is the first account by one of OPEC's original crafters of the politics and intrigue surrounding the international development of the oil industry. With the flair of a modern-day Arabian Nights, Blood and Oil brilliantly renders the tensions between the excesses of the ancien regime and Iran's increasingly reactionary religious establishment. Prince Manucher's close relationships with everyone from the last Shah to the teary-eyed Mossadeq allow him to provide a fresh portrait of the Pahlavi reign and the revolution that brought it down. But the real revelation in these pages is his new perspective on British oil imperialism, and its brutal effect on twentieth-century history.
A riveting saga of court intrigue and superpower manipulation, this stunning memoir, beautifully written and epic in scope, tells the dramatic inside story of Caspian oil and the rich, tumultuous history of 20th-century Iran.
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