Synopses & Reviews
In this book, a leading authority on Iranian political parties offers the first history of the Mojahedin, a little-known radical group that was instrumental in bringing the Ayatollah Khomeini to power but that now constitutes the main opposition to his Islamic Republic. Drawing on all available sources-including interviews with past and present members of the Mojahedin-Ervand Abrahamian traces their organization from the 1960s to the present. This] book is important and useful not only because it is the first in English on its subject, but also because . . . it is objective. . . . I]ts approach is thoughtful, fresh and independent, being to Islam more or less what liberation theology is to Christianity.-Economist Abrahamian's commentary on Ali Shariati and his relationship to the Mojahedin is a unique and impressive achievement. . . . Radical Islam is a learned, lucid and cogent piece of Iranian history. . . . The book is must reading for all experts and observers interested in the politics of the Islamic Revolution and the role of Iran's political culture.-Mansour Farhang, Middle East ReportThe result is one of the best of so many books about Iran today.-A. R. H. Kellas, Asian AffairsThis is the most objective and comprehensive study available of the important Iranian movement.-Anthony Hyman, International Affairs
The Mojahedin, a radical political group in Iran, were prominent in the movement against the Shah and played an important role in bringing the Ayatollah Khomeini to power. Yet they have borne the brunt of his reign of terror and now constitute the main opposition to his Islamic Republic. In this book a leading authority on Iranian political parties offers the first history of this little-known underground group.
Drawing on all available sources including interviews with past and present members of the Mojahedin, Ervand Abrahamian traces their organization from the 1960s to today. He investigates the social backgrounds of their leaders, the main features of their ideology, and the Marxist influences on their interpretation of Islam. He is then able to explain why they failed to gain political power despite their mass following and the fact that they were the best armed, best disciplined, and one of the largest groups opposing the Shah.
In an introductory section on contemporary Iran, Abrahamian analyzes the downfall of the Shah, discusses the resurgence of Islam in that country, contrasts the varieties of Islam on the present scene, and explains why the Islamic Republic, despite all expectations, has proved to be so durable. Clearly and concisely written, the book as a whole provides a wealth of information on contemporary Iran.
"A very fine book that deals with an important subject in a very thorough and engrossing fashion." -Nikki R. Keddie, U.C.L.A.