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Book by Axworthy Michael

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Détails sur le produit

  • Broché: 368 pages
  • Editeur : Basic Books; Édition : Reprint (16 février 2010)
  • Langue : Anglais
  • ISBN-10: 046501920X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0465019205
  • Dimensions du produit: 15,6 x 2,4 x 23,5 cm
  • Moyenne des commentaires client : 5.0 étoiles sur 5  Voir tous les commentaires (1 commentaire client)
  • Classement des meilleures ventes d'Amazon: 68.414 en Livres anglais et étrangers (Voir les 100 premiers en Livres anglais et étrangers)
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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0 internautes sur 1 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile  Par Pascal Pineau sur 4 mai 2010
Format: Relié
Quel livre et quel voyage !
La Perse est grandiose et terrible.
Mais, hélas, les XIXeme et XXeme siécles sont une longue suite d'échecs, de veuleries, de corruptions, de trahisons, etc...
Une explication à Khomeiny ?
On incline à le penser.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) 36 commentaires
62 internautes sur 66 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Evenhanded, factual, brief and easy to read 24 mai 2008
Par Winston - Publié sur
Format: Relié
I thought this is going to be another typical book on history of Iran when I picked it up but I admit I was wrong. This book is fair, evenhanded and factual in dealing with the history of Iran. It's very brief and concise and in that context, Mr. Axworthy has done a good job explaining in simple language the history of a very complicated nation. It has little or no political agenda. It credits Iran/Persia with things it has done and more importantly it sheds light on some unknown and un-touched corners of the modern Iranian history such as the 1953 coup against PM Mossadegh and the ascend of Reza Shah the great to power in early 20th century. I'd recommend this book to the students of middle-eastern history and those interested in knowing more about Iran.
50 internautes sur 54 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Excellent Overview of Iranian History 2 juillet 2008
Par C. Sells - Publié sur
Format: Relié
A plethora of recent books chronicle recent Iranian history (with a particular focus on 1953-today). This book discusses that period, but it does a lot more. The vast majority of the book deals with ancient Iranian history - including tales of epic Persian leaders (Xerxes, Darius) and the wars that shaped Iranian history (fighting against the Greeks, Romans, Arab Muslims, Afghans, Russians, and the British). If you want to know about ancient Iran, this is your book. It's very easy to read for a "history" book.

That said, if you are looking for real detail on more recent events, such as the 1953 Mossadeq coup, the 1979 Revolution, or today's affairs, I'd look elsewhere (Persian Puzzle is really good at narrating the recent events, as are focused books such as "All the Shah's Men" and "Ahmadinejad."

Having read a lot about recent Iranian history, I enjoyed the voyage into ancient history - but know the predominantly ancient focus before buying.

As noted, the author's style is easy to follow and enjoyable. He even tells a few jokes. The book is generally even-handed, though he did seem to soft-pedal British mistakes in the region (understandable given his nationality). My only beef with the author was his 20+ page expose on Iranian poetry. It comes from nowhere, and it was boring (though, admittedly, I am not a fan of poetry). The book is cruising along finely, all of a suddent takes a detour into poetry, and then corrects itself.

Overall, this is a great book and a must-read for someone interested in ancient Iranian history and the events/people that shaped a country sure to be in the news for a while.
36 internautes sur 39 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Empire of the mind 25 septembre 2009
Par Fathali Ghahremani - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
This book can be considered a starting point for any newcomer to Iranian history. It is, without a doubt, a major contribution to the popular history genre. While Iran/Persia is one of the great empires, Axworthy implies that it is also an empire of the mind, a virtual empire that transcends the western concept of the geopolitical state.

The book follows Iran's chronological history from pre-Achaemenid times to the present. It is well researched and has extensive footnotes and references allowing the reader to delve into details of any event or subject. Yet, it is eminently readable and has the tone of a lively and informative lecture rather than an erudite tome.

The book binds all the varied elements of Iranian culture (a multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-ethnic, multi-religion mélange of peoples) into a single story line. It provides a factual, but simplified, picture of a multiplicity of societies who consider themselves Iranian regardless of the proclivity of their present governments. The reader is forced to re-evaluate the common notions of Iran as a homogeneous entity and recognize it as a hodgepodge of different groups who are bound by a common belief in the uniqueness of their civilization, culture and history.

Perhaps the greatest contribution of the book is the portrayal of Iranian minorities. It is no small feat to trace their histories in the Iranian context. Yet, as Axworthy implies, it is their historical contributions and continued existence that make Iranian culture unique. It would be a sad day if any government forced uniformity on such a great and diverse culture.

The book does not cover everything (that would require an encyclopedia) but it misses some points. For instance, it discusses the Council of Guardians but does not cover another key element of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic - the Council of Experts. This is the Council that was responsible for appointing Ayatollah Khamenei as "supreme leader", a decision that involved considerable internal debate. Further, in theory, this Council can remove the supreme leader if it finds him unfit to rule. This is no small power considering the current turmoil Iran and is certainly worth mentioning.

However, in spite of such minor omissions, the book is accurate, immensely readable and truly major contribution to Iranian history.
11 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An Excellent Introduction, From Pre-History to the Present 10 mars 2010
Par Suchos - Publié sur
Format: Broché
This short history covers over three thousand years of history of the Iranian people, and other groups that now inhabit the modern nation of Iran. Naturally, that means it is extremely short on detail. But for the reader who only wants an overview, or an introduction before a more serious study, I recommend this book.

Axworthy speads his focus evenly throughout the various phases of history (as opposed to breezing quickly through ancient empires to get us to the present). I agree with his decision to do so. Many Iranians have a sense of history that makes it necessary to have at least a passing understanding of Iran's pre-Islamic heritage in order to understand modern attitudes. I also believe that pre- and early-Islamic history are interesting in their own right. But for readers who are mainly interested in the modern world, this might not be the best book; Axworthy doesn't start discussing the Pahlavi period until page 221, and spends about 65 pages on the last 100 years. The only other caveat is that the narrative during the early-Islamic period is a little confused. The text on the Umayyad, Abbassid and Seljuk periods is not as clear as what comes before or after.

Regardless, the book is very well written overall. It is accessible to the casual reader. The several maps help create a coherent picture of the ever-shifting historical boundaries.

I recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Iran who has little or no background in the country, but it will be an easier read if you have some knowledge of Islamic history. I also recommend following this book up with something more detailed.
5 internautes sur 5 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
An Empire of Many Minds... 12 décembre 2009
Par D.S.Thurlow - Publié sur
Format: Relié Achat vérifié
Michael Axworthy's excellent 2008 "A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind" covers 3,000 years of Iranian history in less than 300 pages. His approach is sensitive and generally even-handed, reflecting an interest in Iran that in places borders on reverence. The result is a nuanced narrative accessible to the general reader and the student of Iranian affairs.

The sub-title, "Empire of the Mind", conveys the central narrative theme that modern Iran is a product of multiple invasions, whether of men or ideas, that have somehow been assimilated without obliterating Iran's cultural and political continuity. Its many contradictions are the product of a civilization founded by Aryan immigrants from central Asia, that was overrun by Greek, Roman, Arab and other armies, and is now the principal home of the Shia varient of Islam.

Axworthy traces the impact of the various ruling dynasties, but he also pays close attention to the finer aspects of its culture, especially its poetry. Of most interest to this reviewer was his description of the current government, with its interwoven secular and religious strands.

Axworthy, a former foreign service officer, tries to be evenhanded about the nature of the current regime. The corruption and repression revealed by the June 2009 presidential elections reinforces his idea of a regime both brutal and divided. His handling of the ongoing nuclear crisis is less sure; Axworthy probably undersells both Iran's diplomatic stonewalling and its interest in nuclear weapons.

"A History of Iran: Empire of the Mind" is highly recommended as a concise introduction to the country and its idea of its place in the world.
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