Prepared with assistance from Andrew Atkinson and Rachel Wilson.
The Life and Times of the Shah, by Gholam Reza Afkhami. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2009. xvi + 598 pages. Appendices to p. 604. Chronology to p. 606. Notes to p. 678. Glossary to p. 681. Index to p. 713. $34.95. This book chronicles the life of Muhammad Reza Shah from childhood to his life in exile. Afkhami's account challenges and adds to previously held assumptions and understandings of such topics as the Shah's image in the West, USIranian relations, and the 1979 Iranian Revolution. From Muhammad Reza's relationship with his father to his nuclear energy policy, this detailed account provides insight not only into the Shah's life but also into the history of modern Iran. (RW)
Iran and the Bomb: The Abdication of International Responsibility, by Thérèse Delpech. New York: Columbia University Press, 2007. xi + 108 pages. Notes to p. 122. Chron. to p. 140. Bibl. to p. 144. Index to p. 148. $26.95. This analysis provides some insight into Iran's nuclear program and ambitions. Iran's history with respect to nuclear power is dissected in detail to discover the motivations for its interest and for the stance that President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has taken on the issue. The author is unequivocal in her claim that Iran wants a nuclear weapon. Delpech rounds out the discussion with an exploration of the roles played by various actors, including the United States, Russia, and the International Atomic Energy Agency. The conclusion includes an outline of what questions remain at issue, possible future scenarios and their potential outcomes, and an evaluation of the points to take away from what has transpired thus far. (RW)
Revolutionary Ideology and Islamic Militancy: The Iranian Revolution and Interpretations of the Quran, by Najibullah Lafraie. London: Tauris Academic Studies, 2009. xiii + 219 pages. Notes to p. 251. Bibl. to p. 260. Index to p. 272. $79.55. Lafraie studies whether there is a basis for revolution in the holy texts of the Qur'an and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad, especially in the context of the Iranian Revolution. He begins by presenting an ideological framework in which he studies revolution and ideology, and then applies it to the ideology of revolution in the Qur'an. Lafraie then focuses on the writings of Ayatullahs Khomeini, Taleqani, and Mutahhari, as well as Mehdi Bazargan, 'Ali Shariati, and Abdulhassan Bani Sadr. He concludes by comparing their works to the Qur'an, and by confronting Samuel Huntington's "Clash of Civilizations" hypothesis. (AMA)
The US-Soviet Confrontation in Iran, 1945-1962, by Kristen Blake. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2009. x + 191 pages. Bibl. to p. 205. Index to p. 224. $34. In this book, Blake studies the United States' and the Soviet Union's relations with Iran from 1945-62 through the lens of the Cold War. She discusses the lead-up to the Cold War tensions in Iran and the role of the Iranian crisis of 1945-6 and its aftermath. Blake then proceeds chronologically to examine the policies of each Soviet and American administration towards Iran. Blake devotes special attention to oil policies, especially those of the Muhammad Mossadeq Administration. Blake concludes by demonstrating that Cold War tensions ceased when Tehran promised Moscow that it would not allow foreign missile bases on its territory. (AMA)
The Devil We Know: Dealing with the New Iranian Superpower, by Robert Baer. New York: Three Rivers Press, 2008. 262 pages. Gloss. to p. 268. Acknowl. to p. 269. Index to p. 279. $15 paper. Robert Baer, a former CIA officer who spent much of his career in the Middle East, offers an unorthodox perspective on US-Iranian relations. He posits that Tehran is a rational actor that wants to and can create a more stable Middle East through empire. Baer calls for the United States to cooperate with Tehran, to the point of recognizing Iran's role as a regional superpower. …