This is a very interesting book. Since there seems to be some confusion about it, let me make clear what this book is NOT; if you are looking for any of the following you should look elsewhere:
- A blow by blow account of the shah's life and the revolution with 30 references per 'fact'.
- A book about Americans. This book, being what it is, is about ehm...Iranians.
- Moral indignation about any of the protagonists whether the revolutionaries or the Shah or the Americans.
What this is, is a feelings book, a mood book. What this book will give you a feel for(according to the authors interpretation of course!) is:
- The nature of Iranian life before the oil boom
- The nature of the Shah and how he perhaps saw himself.
- The immense physical and physcological changes the oil boom brought to the region
- The Shah's tragicomic efforts to modernize.
- How Iranians saw themselves, the backwardness and the new modernity entering the land.
- The nature of life under the Shah.
- What would be the mood during the eventful days leading upto the revolution.
- Why these revolutions(Kapuscinski's 27th!) invariably fall apart, why those who could produce positive change invariably get shunted aside.
- What it might take to produce positive change.
This is a very good book. Kapuscinski makes some excellent observations. He is very perceptive and has the habit of sifting through the fog, to the root of the subject. Only gripe would be that the photographs should have been printed in the first section on Daguerrotypes, and sometimes his writing style gets a little too cute, and tends to lapse into hyperbolic metaphor.