Iran: The Persian Sphinx: Amir Abbas Hoveyda and the Riddle of the Iranian Revolution, a Biography / Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution: The Shah and the Ayatollah

By Naas, Charles W. | The Middle East Journal, Summer 2003 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Iran: The Persian Sphinx: Amir Abbas Hoveyda and the Riddle of the Iranian Revolution, a Biography / Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution: The Shah and the Ayatollah


Naas, Charles W., The Middle East Journal


The Persian Sphinx: Amir Abbas Hoveyda and the Riddle of the Iranian Revolution, a biography by Abbas Milani, Washington, DC: Mage Publishers, 2000-2001. xviii + 346 pages. Notes to p. 383. Index to p. 399. $29.95.

Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution: The Shah and the Ayatollah, by Fereydoun Hoveyda. Westport, CT and London.UK: Greenwood Press, 2003. vii + 106 pages. Notes to p. 115. Bibl. to p. 119. Indexes top. 125. $49.95.

Professor Abbas Milani of Notre Dame College in Belmont, California, with a flair and deep understanding of Persian politics and society, strives to reveal the many layers of the personality of Mir Abbas Hoveyda, the longest serving Prime Minister in Iran's troubled and, at times, chaotic history. At the end of this first-rate biography, we are still left with many questions as to who Hoveyda was in the depths of his own soul. For a public figure, he was an extraordinarily private person. He was a good listener but was reticent to express his views and adverse to confrontation. The notes that he prepared which might have provided insight into his inner thoughts on the regime he served and the roles he and others played in it were destroyed after his assassination in order to protect his family and friends. As with any good biography, the impact on Hoveyda of the history of the times and Persian society with its mare's nest of competitive factions, families, personal ambitions and its open as well as its hidden hatreds is clear and well done.

The Hoveyda family was not among the aristocratic families that set the social standards in Iran in those days. The Hoveydas were a solid middle-class family with a distant the to the Qajar dynasty. They were well placed but not influential; there was no silver spoon or inherited right to high political position. Diplomatic assignments to Damascus and Beirut for the father set the intellectual mold for both sons who attended a French language school and later went on to Paris for university training. Although a mediocre student, Mir Abbas Hoveyda became the thoroughly modern Renaissance man of letters, equally at home with the ideas of Gide, Baudelaire, Malraux, Trotsky and other Western writers and philosophers. Well read in Western history, he was a secular rationalist - not anti-religious - who highly valued independent thinking and understood the importance of economics. He had come a long way from his roots in the deeply conservative land of his birth.

Following diplomatic tours in France and Germany, Hoveyda finally returned home to stay, and his life and fate were henceforth inextricably tied to the Pahlavi monarchy.

Hoveyda, Hasan-Ali Mansur and a group of young Westernized intellectuals established the Progressive Circle and subsequently the Iran Novin Party in an effort to provide a political platform for the technocrats and the educated elite which was at the same time acceptable to the Shah. They saw themselves as an alternative to the National Front of Muhammad Mossaddeq. The timing seemed serendipitous because the Shah was under fairly intense pressure from the Kennedy Administration to modernize Iran's economy and political structure in order to be a more progressive and effective ally in the Cold War. The Shah unveiled the White Revolution (i.e., a package of significant economic and social reforms), and who better, it seemed, to carry them out than the association of young progressives? When Hasan-Ali Mansur was assassinated in early 1965 by a religious zealot who was, prophetically, a follower of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Hoveyda was chosen by the Shah to become Prime Minister.

With the advantages of history and such works as Milani's, there is little evidence that the modernists took the assassination as a dire warning that uprooting a very conservative society carried great peril. In the liberal American perspective, land reform, industrialization, urbanization as a means of mobilizing manpower, and vastly expanded educational opportunities for both sexes were seen as a laudable objectives in and of themselves.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Iran: The Persian Sphinx: Amir Abbas Hoveyda and the Riddle of the Iranian Revolution, a Biography / Iranian Mythology and Islamic Revolution: The Shah and the Ayatollah
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.