- Hardcover: 656 pages
- Publisher: Penguin Press HC, The; First Edition edition (July 19 2012)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594203415
- ISBN-13: 978-1594203411
- Product Dimensions: 16.5 x 3.8 x 24.1 cm
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 Kg
- Average Customer Review: 2 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #650,765 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Twilight War: The Secret History of America's Thirty-Year Conflict with Iran Hardcover – Jul 19 2012
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"David Crist's painstakingly researched and elegantly written account of the United States-Iran cold war is an earnest chronicle of this shadowy history. ...Deserves a spot on the short list of must-read books on United States-Iran relations." —Karim Sadjadpour, The New York Times
"Lucid and thoughtful... Crist has written an important and timely book that should be required reading for anyone interested in understanding how the United States and Iran went from close allies to enduring adversaries." —The Washington Post
About the Author
Dr. David Crist is a senior historian for the federal government and frequent adviser to senior government officials on the Middle East. As an officer in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, Crist served two tours with elite special operations forces in Afghanistan and Iraq and was part of the first U.S. military forces inside Afghanistan who overthrew the Taliban. He received a B.A. from the University of Virginia and a master's and doctorate in Middle Eastern history from Florida State University.See all Product description
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Ask just about anyone why the US/Iranian relationship is strained and you’ll discover a myriad of shrugs and ill informed responses. They’re terrorists, or they’re going to nuke Israel are the most common responses. Many people are aware of the instability but vary rarely can anyone tell you why. This book “The Twilight War,” by David Crist, gives an extremely thorough and well researched history of the Iranian US conflict from the revolution to today.
David Crist, is the son of CENTCOM Commander George Crist who oversaw middle eastern forces throughout the 1980’s. This gives Crist a unique and rare perspective and access to information not typically available to the average citizen. It is evident that his research was extremely vast and painstakingly detailed. My anticipation for this book was to gain insight from a completely American perspective, I was not disappointed. Crist provided a play by play of nearly every event that occurred post revolution and the perception of events from an American military standpoint. His work shed light on many different examples of Iranian instigation and disruption throughout the middle east and how those antagonisms effected the US military. Including an assassination attempt in Washington of a Saudi Ambassador.
Although Crist did not hold back in his work and offered many examples of times when America was at fault in the political antagonism, this book is indeed written from a skewed perspective. Crist began his historical account primarily at the time of the revolution and went into great detail as to what happened, but he failed in explaining why the events occurred. To truly understand the American/Iranian conflict you must have a thorough grasp on Iranian culture and history and why the revolution had as much to do about America and Europe than it did about Islam and Anti-zionism.
Although the perspective is one sided, the author reports facts accurately, descriptively, and leaves out personal bias and opinion. This did not read like a propaganda piece, but more of a dry recitation of information. If you are looking to get a detailed and honest record of the history between Iran and the US for the passed 30 years, this is a great resource. To fully understand why the Iranian and US relations are in their current state, I would encourage you to find more resources.
When it comes to Iran, the purveyors of news have done an especially poor job of keeping us informed. As David Crist makes clear in this illuminating report on the three decades of conflict, tension, miscalculation, and profound misunderstanding that have characterized our two countries' relationship, we have indeed engaged in what can only be described as war for several extended periods. And when I say war, I mean soldiers, sailors, and air force pilots shooting at one another, laying mines, launching missiles at ships and ground facilities, and generally forcing one or both of the two governments to decide between escalation and retreat. There was even one heart-stopping incident during the Reagan Administration when a rogue, high-ranking U.S. Admiral conspired with the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff to invade Iran with massive force -- and, apparently, was ordered to pull back from the brink largely because the Administration was consumed with covering up the President's active role in the Iran-Contra affair.
The 2004 Presidential election campaign brought into the spotlight the U.S. support for Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s because Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld had been photographed shaking hands with Saddam. Then we learned, some of us for the first time, that the U.S. had supplied weapons and munitions to Iraq. However, what went largely unreported was the extent to which the U.S. military built up its forces in the Persian Gulf to prevent Iran from flanking Iraq or widening the war to the Gulf Arab states, provided combat intelligence that helped Iraq turn back Iranian advances, and even intervened with force on Iraq's side from time to time.
It was this history -- combined with an understanding of the neoconservative design on the region -- that led the Iranian leadership to conclude in 2003 that the U.S. invasion of Iraq presaged an imminent attack on Iran itself. The Ayatollah Khamenei and his minions were so frightened of this prospect that they used every backchannel available to them to attempt to get the U.S. to the negotiating table, where they were prepared to arrive at a grand solution to the differences between the two countries. Are you surprised to learn that the Bush Administration flatly rejected the overtures?
In other words, this has been a nail-biting relationship. Even worse, the outlook today doesn't look any brighter than it ever has.
Author David Crist is a military historian for the U.S. Government, a reserve Marine Corps colonel, and the son of one of the early four-star commanders of CENTCOM, which was created in the 1980s to coordinate U.S. military affairs involving Iran and the Middle East. Given this pedigree, it's not unfair to wonder whether Crist himself is guilty of some of the same sins I attributed earlier to the news media. Clearly, he's extremely well informed and had access to military and government archives that might well be closed to other writers. However, a little poking around on the Web reveals that Crist got at least a few of his facts wrong, and in some places his interpretation of events has clearly been colored by his official associations.
The Twilight War is an especially dense work. The hardcover edition runs to 656 pages, but it reads as though it's a thousand, largely because Crist (military historian to the core) seems to include a capsule biography of every other officer and combatant engaged in every firefight he reports. Like the epic dramas of Cecil B. DeMille, The Twilight War has a cast of thousands. All in all though, this is a revealing and important book, well worth reading, even if that means slogging through the mud.