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All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror [Paperback]

Stephen Kinzer
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 2008 047018549X 978-0470185490 Second Edition
With a thrilling narrative that sheds much light on recent events, this national bestseller brings to life the 1953 CIA coup in Iran that ousted the country’s elected prime minister, ushered in a quarter-century of brutal rule under the Shah, and stimulated the rise of Islamic fundamentalism and anti-Americanism in the Middle East. Selected as one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and The Economist, it now features a new preface by the author on the folly of attacking Iran.

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From the Back Cover

"A very gripping read . . . a cautionary tale for our current leaders."
The New York Times

As zealots in Washington intensify their preparations for an American attack on Iran, the story of the CIA's 1953 coup—with its many cautionary lessons—is more urgently relevant than ever. All the Shah's Men brings to life the cloak-and-dagger operation that deposed the only democratic regime Iran ever had. The coup ushered in a quarter-century of repressive rule under the Shah, stimulated the rise of Muslim fundamentalism and anti-Americanism throughout the Middle East, and exposed the folly of using violence to try to reshape Iran. Selected as one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and the Economist, it's essential reading if you want to place the American attack of Iraq in context—and prepare for what comes next.

"An entirely engrossing, often riveting, nearly Homeric tale. . . . For anyone with more than a passing interest in how the United States got into such a pickle in the Middle East, All the Shah's Men is as good as Grisham."
The Washington Post Book World

"An exciting narrative. [Kinzer] questions whether Americans are well served by interventions for regime change abroad, and he reminds us of the long history of Iranian resistance to great power interventions, as well as the unanticipated consequences of intervention."
The Los Angeles Times

"A swashbuckling yarn [and] helpful reminder of an oft-neglected piece of Middle Eastern history."
The New York Times Book Review

About the Author

Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent who has worked in more than fifty countries. He has been New York Times bureau chief in Istanbul, Berlin, and Managua, Nicaragua. His books include Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq and Crescent and Star: Turkey Between Two Worlds.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best about the Shah and 1953 coup Jan. 24 2014
By Bobby
Format:Paperback
Stephen Kinzer does a great job doing this book. Without going in too much details he tells the story. The reason behind the animosity the Persians have towards GB and United States meddling in the middle east. He explain details that matter without boring the readers. I have read this book twice and know it's been translated into a few other languages as well. two thumbs up
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5.0 out of 5 stars Sensitive treatment of a pivotal age Feb. 18 2013
By Brian Griffith TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
Kinzer explores the sentiments and values of all parties concerned in the tragic destruction of Iran's first democratic government. Towards the nationalist hero Mossadegh, Kinzer shows the various sides of the man's idealism, which inspired his followers, demonized his opponents, and made compromise next to impossible. Toward the Americans, Kinzer depicts the turning of American foreign policy -- from supporting the aspirations of nationalists against colonialism, to regarding all rebels against the Western powers as stooges of the communist enemy. Quite naturally, Kinzer draws implications from the story, mainly that foreign intervention to depose elected governments has long-term consequences. I feel it is a well-researched, deeply empathetic book. Writing like this can help us see the roots of bias, and maybe overcome disrespect.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Interesting and well researched. Dec 7 2011
By MKD
Format:Paperback
A great book, one that everyone with even the slightest interest in geopolitics should read. Since the war drums are beating up again for another round of exporting democracy down the barrel of the gun, it might help for policymakers to understand the problems in the Middle East. This book stays interesting and brings the reader up to date on the Iranian situation, and just why the West doesn't have the best image there.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars An overdue essay. May 5 2008
Format:Paperback
I was fascinated by the title of the book, imagining that it may deal with those murderers of the Shah’s regime, who took their fortune to US just before the fall of the regime. Quite a few of them are amongst the most horrendous murderers of CIA supervised SAVAK or corrupt government officials who had made great fortune by devastating a poor nation. Those were also "Shah's Men". To my surprise, there was no mention of them, or the pro-monarchist satellite emitted propaganda these people are presently launching against Iran.
Mr. Kinzer, has also described Iranians as the most pro-American people of the Middle East (preface to the 2008 edition, pp. xii). Is he referring to the above mentioned group of Iranians who lobby the American government to take action against Iran? The average intellectual Iranian fears the American government to death.
Also, is it a coincidence that Mr. Kinzer fails to describe the role that CIA and SAVAK played in Iran during 25 years after the coup by torture-killing tens of thousand intellectual Iranians who opposed the pro-American Shah's regime? These crimes left the religious leaders to be the only powerful opposition, who finally disposed Shah. This is, I believe, the main reasons for having at present a religious and not a progressist government in Iran.
It is also questionable why the book did not appear during or immediately after the American Embassy crisis, since this event was a direct result of the 1953 American plot in Iran. The reason may be the author wants to connect Iran with the 9-11 events. He clearly describes his baseless point of view in Chapter 12 and few other parts of the book.
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0 of 6 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Terrible and waste of time and money Sept. 6 2008
By Winston
Format:Paperback
The worst book on history of Iran, ever. The author has shown that he has no clue about the Iranian history, society and culture. He has not read the original constitution of Iran, the 1906 version that allows the king to dismantle the parliament if need be. The author has a track record of anti-american, anti-capitalism propaganda and for that he shouldn't be taken seriously. Moreover, he used to be part of NYTimes. Any thing related to that commie fested paper must be thrown into garbage at once. The author refuses to believe that PM Mossadegh was not ELECTED to premiership by vote, but he was APPOINTED to the job and when he started destroying the country and cozying up to the Soviets, then Shah had to have him removed politely. Mossadegh was probably suffering from many mental disorders and thats why he couldn't act rationally.

Kinzer is a journalist in the worst sense of the word: unfortunately, his report is exceedingly one-sided as he relies only on the reports of one or two instensely pro-Mossadeq scholars, completely ignoring other sources and especially Royalist people, some of whom are still alive and could have been reached for comment. Kinzer doesn't even speak Farsi (Persian), and thus did not have any access to authentic Iranian sources, except through his two pro-Mossadeq helpers. This book is completely one sided and very speculative. Basically the entire premise of this book is if that the United States hadn't orchestrated a coup in iran to remove Dr. Mossadegh and bring back the shah, then khomeini and the whole Islamic revolution would not have occured....and a secular, democratic, utopic iran would now exist and ofcourse terrorism would be non existent.

I read this book both in Persian, back in iran, and in english.
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