Khomeini: Life of the Ayatollah Hardcover – Jun 15 2000
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""This is an important account of how Khomeini the man and the seminal, historical phenomenon may well linger on as a notional inspiration for modern Iran."" (37,1,2000) --Thomas Hylland Eriksen, Journal of Peace Research
""In spite of the modesty of its author, the book is highly detailed and full of the insights only a well-informed author can bring."" --John King, BBC Arabic Service
""Khomeini is an important book, not only as a biography of Ayatollah Khomeini, but as an honest analysis of the intellectual and political forces that were responsible for the 1979 revolution…” --Mehrdad Kia, 4/00
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
He is likely to remain so for many more years.
Those who see him as an incarnation of evil- after all, he caused the deaths of more than a million Iranians and a quarter of a million Iraqis- could not be bothered about his real or imagined religious credentials.
Those, on the other hand, who regard him as a revolutionary leader in the same class as Robespierre, Lenin, Mao Zedong and , more recently, Fidel Castro, will regard his many victims as so many necessary sacrifices at the altar of the Revolution.
The problem with Mr. Moin's bigoraphy of Khomeini is that the author can never quite make up his mind about the ayatollah's precise role in the events that helped make his name.
Moin, a mullah who has cast aside his clercial cloak to work for the BBC in London, tries to explain away Khomeini's excesses in a spirit of clerical solidarity.
Nevertheless, reading between the lines, one could see that even a mullah such as Mr. Moin cannot be quite comfortable with Khomeini's career of crime.
Mr. Moin is, of course, right in suggesting, ever so gingerly that not all mullahs are murderers.
He consolidated his reputation by organising the seizure of Western hostages in Tehran and Beirut and by creating an international network of kidnapping, racketeering and terror known under the name of Hezbulah ( Party of Allah).
But when one reads Baqer Moin's biography of Khomeini one has the impression that the late ayatollah grew up as a choir boy and spent his life as a " general" in the Salvation Army!
This, of course, would not have pleased Khomeini who was frank enough to state publicly that the lives of non-Muslims was of no value and that " bad Muslims" could also be slaughtered without great fuss. Khomeini ordered more than 25000 executions and was rsponsible for the masacre of many more Kurds, Tukmens, Baluchi and other ethnic minorities in Iran.
It takes all sorts to make a world, the saying goes. And history is full of both good and evil characters.
What is important is that historians should not project their own images of historic men.
Along with Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot and Saddam Hussein, Khomeini was one of the most evil men produced by the 20th century.
Had Mr. Moin seen the ayatollah as he really was there would have been a good story.
In this book, however, there is no story because Mr Moin offers us nothing but badly written fiction.
Amelia, A Reader in Paris
Because he is a trained cleric, the writer also offers some insight into the psychology of mullahs, especially their consummate skill in deception.
The problem, however, is that the author has studiously avoided any discussion of Khomeini's policies. It is as if Khomeini were a movie star or another celebrity with absolutely no connection with politics.
The author also largely ignores Khomeini's position as an ayatollah, thus saying very little about his theological writings and opinions on matters of faith.
Moin wants to avoid running into trouble with the Khomeinist regime in Tehran and thus flatters the late ayatollah whenever he can get away with it.
At the same time , however, because the book is designed to sell in Western markets, he tries to hint at some, very mild, criticism without ever getting into any depth.
Anxious not to appear to be taking sides, while taking sides,the author causes much confusion and, eventually, annoyance.
One wonders why this book was written. Pierre Benedile, London
Most recent customer reviews
Khomeini, the mullah who seized power in Iran and unleashed a reign of terror, has been the subject of many critical articles and at least one biography. Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2003 by rivniz bibarg
what i truly enjoyed about this biography of khoemeini was that is was pretty much non biased,not like the western world's view of the man who portrayed the ayatollah as a fanatic... Read morePublished on Aug. 24 2003 by gordon
This is a great biography of a man who could be considered the most influential Islamic figure of the twentieth century. Read morePublished on Aug. 6 2003
It requires a great deal of courage to justify and praise the ideas and policies of a religious black reactinary in this day and age. Read morePublished on Sept. 28 2002
Moin takes the chronological approach to explaining Khomeini's rise to power. It is probably the easiest way of tracing the man's astounding rise out of seemingly nowhere. Read morePublished on June 20 2002
Sadly, there are very few books in English which discuss the Islamic Revolution in Iran from the Iranian point of view. Read morePublished on Dec 18 2001
Khomeini was nothing but a Psycho Maniac who was born in India and had no roots what so ever to Iran. He was a Murderer just like Hitler. Read morePublished on July 27 2001
The strength of the book is describing Khomeini's views towards Islam. It is very informative about mysticism and Khomeini's attachment to it. Read morePublished on Jan. 9 2001 by S. Bowman