His lectures attracted a following, but they also raised suspicions that he was an infidel, perhaps even a Sunni. Though it craves international recognition, it has weathered isolation before and is in some ways more comfortable with it. Isolation has nourished self-reliance, self-reliance has encouraged sacrifice, and sacrifice is widely seen as proof of virtue. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was a turning-point in modern history. Buchan tells that story as well as anyone has done, but Days of God is also an erudite reflection on three important questions: why there was a revolution, why it was Islamic and what its legacy has been. I highly recommend this book. Worth it if you want an interesting read of Iran 1950-1979, but not very useful for current affairs.
I can't even remember how long ago I finished this, guess I haven't been on here in a while. He does a great job describing all aspects of the Revolution: origins, factionalism, leadership, legacy, etc. Great in size and details. For all its scriptural trappings, the velayat-e faqih was a fanciful reading of the Quran. The 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran was one of the seminal events of our time. You've gotta wade through a near-impenetrable thicket of names and dates to get to page 165 necessary context material for what happens next, I suppose, but awfully rough going , but once you do, you'll be finely rewarded by a gripping, gritty, granular account of the Iranian revolution in all its complexity.
But his fearless opposition to the shah and his interweaving of Shiism and anti-imperialism resonated with young readers of Al-e Ahmad and Ali Shariati, the spiritual fathers of the Revolution. I found it a pretty interesting account of what was going on behind the scenes as the Shah's regime was unraveling - and it offers a lively account of the chaos as the Ayatollah took over and foreign interests successfully or unsuccessfully decided whether to stay. They knew nothing about Ronald Reagan, and even hoped that he would beat Carter just to show that they could make Carter look feckless. The destruction of the Iranian monarchy not only upset the political order in the Middle East and brought on a quarter-century of warfare, but introduced a new way to look at history. He works a small farm in Norfolk. His religious prestige was now growing: the Qom establishment had promoted him to marja-e taqlid in order to get him released from jail. The 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran was one of the seminal events of our time.
I think one of the most incredible things about this book is that this history has happened in my lifetime. There is an inevitable reaction, fact and rumor inter-mingle and a messianic Khomeini returns from a long exile to exultan A necessary book - 1949 assassination attempt on the Shah goes awry, 5 shots from six feet away, he's hit twice once in the the shoulder once in the cheek - he's convinced God has spared him so he can transform Iran and make it modern. Buchan has done an outstanding job in his description of events throughout history that led to the Iranian Revolution. 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. The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was a turning-point in modern history.
The period after the Revolution obviously doesn't get as much detail since foreigners were largely absent, and what went on behind the ranks of power is probably not well known to Irani's themselves. The 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran was one of the seminal events of our time. This could be a much better book if the whole epilogue section had been omitted, because it is simply too short for giving a credible describtion of a period of 20 years. There is an inevitable reaction, fact and rumor inter-mingle and a messianic Khomeini returns from a long exile to exultant crowds - the Shah, like Gorbachev, refuses to order widespread killings and exits the country. His reforms bring modernity, challenge the clerics, raise the status of women, make Iran rich but dislocate a proud, tradition bound society. Without the epilogue I would give this book 3 or maybe even 4 stars. Young people, chastened by the ferocity of the basij, are cynical about the potential for reform and have turned away from politics.
His reforms bring modernity, challenge the clerics, raise the status of women, make Iran rich but dislocate a proud, tradition bound society. There is an inevitable reaction, fact and rumor inter-mingle and a messianic Khomeini returns from a long exile to exultant crowds - the Shah, like Gorbachev, refuses to order widespread killings and exits the country. Resistance to Western pressure has defined Iranian nationalism for more than a century, and remains one of the few cards the otherwise unpopular regime has left to play. He does a great job describing all aspects of the Revolution: origins, factionalism, leadership, legacy, etc. Yet the shah and his patrons persisted in thinking that the real threat came from the left.
In his serene indifference to the Western gaze, Khomeini had become the ultimate rejoinder to gharbzadegi, the Occidentosis of the Pahlavis. A year after that, he moved to a seminary in Najaf, in Iraq. Buchan dispels myths about the Iranian Revolution and instead assesses the historical forces to which it responded. Mystifyingly to outsiders, the people of Iran turned their backs on a successful Westernized government for an amateurish religious regime. A great history of the Iranian revolution.
And you know me, I never neglect my obligations. Its a page turner that challenges everything you thought you knew and sheds light on truths overlooked by many. He mines the literature in Persian and English to better effect than any historian so far. Why did the shah's subjects not accept his notion of history racing to a conclusion in prosperity's glow? Yet he instructed his followers not to dwell on its contents, a package of land reform and nationalisation of forests that many Iranians — particularly the urban nationalist middle class — supported. Here in Brazil, I read this great in both paths book.
I don't know enough about Iranian history to judge the accuracy, but Buchan's seems obviously more sympathetic to the Shah than I'm used to seeing surely much more sympathetic than the film Argo , but given what happened in Iran it's difficult not to look at the Shah's reign as the glory days. I was amazed at the level of detail in this book. But a little extra clarity and a touch more human colour would make it a much better read. He admired men of action who performed their religious duty by assassinating members of the regime. Mystifyingly to outsiders, the people of Iran turned their backs on a successful Westernized government for an amateurish religious regime. His writing is always clear, dispassionate, and informative.