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All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror (Anglais) Broché – 3 septembre 2004


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Book by Kinzer Stephen


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Most of Tehran was asleep when an odd caravan set out through the darkness shortly before midnight on August 15, 1953. Lire la première page
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Couverture | Copyright | Table des matières | Extrait | Index | Quatrième de couverture
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142 internautes sur 153 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
British intransigence, American obtuseness 8 décembre 2004
Par N. Tsafos - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
It is impossible to read this book without feeling sympathy for the Iranians and their leader, Mossadegh Mohammad, for whom Stephen Kinzer has special affection, and without developing a sense of distaste first at the British, and then at their accomplices, the Americans. All the same, it is also impossible not to cast a doubt on the book's main conclusion-that the US-led coup in Iran in 1953 lies at the root of Middle East terror.

Stephen Kinzer, a veteran reporter for the New York Times, is no stranger to American coups, having contributed to the writing of the history of the CIA coup in Guatemala in 1954. In "All the Shah's Men," Mr. Kinzer chronicles another coup, one that preceded Guatemala and laid the foundation for America's thinking that coups can be a useful and effective tool of foreign policy.

The book narrates the history of foreign involvement in Iran that culminated in the toppling of Mossadegh Mohammad and the re-coronation of Reza Shah as Iran's leader. Mr. Kinzer goes back centuries to choreograph the details of foreign involvement in Iranian politics, and pays particular attention to the last century and a half: in 1872, for example, Nasir al-Din Shah offered a most sweeping concession to Baron Julius de Reuter to, among others, exploit Iran's natural resources, a privilege revoked a year later. After that came other concessions, extended and then revoked, agreed and then renegotiated, on oil and other business.

What made the landscape explosive was the resignation, in 1941, of Reza Shah, Iran's king, and the subsequent emergence of Mossadegh, and a person who rested much of his political fortune on the nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Corporation (in 1951). His passionate belief that his country had been exploited by the British, and his unwillingness to compromise, coupled with the intransigence of the British created a perfect setting for confrontation.

Perfect, yes. But not inevitable. For that, one has to credit the re-election of Winston Churchill, an ardent Empire enthusiast, who was much keener on resolving the dispute between Iran and the AIOC, by force if necessary, than was his predecessor. Equally important was the election of Dwight Eisenhower, who replaced the skeptical and sympathetic to Iran Harry Truman, and adopted a more assertive pro-British line (courtesy of the Dulles brothers, Allen and John Foster, who ran the CIA and State Department, and who feared Iran might turn communist).

The narrative is eloquent, with enough attention on detail as to offer a vivid account of what happened and why. Mr. Kinzer has an eye for drama, building up the sequence of events with a novel-like quality (including the details of the coup, and Mossadegh's visit to the USA and UN). No doubt, the reader will feel rather conversant on the details of the foreign involvement in Iran leading up to the 1953 coup.

What is less obvious, however, is Mr. Kinzer grand conclusion: "It is not far-fetched," he writes, "to draw a line from Operation Ajax [the coup codename] through the Shah's repressive regime and the Islamic Revolution to the fireballs that engulfed the World Trade Center in New York." As a history book, "All the Shah's" has many attractions; and, no doubt, there are lessons in 1953 to be learned today about meddling in other countries' businesses. But to link the 1953 with September 11 feels more like authoring overstretched, and should be best left at that.
49 internautes sur 53 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Essential reading for understanding US relations with Iran 12 novembre 2003
Par Arthur Amchan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This is a short and very readable account of the American sponsored coup that overthrew the Iranian government of Mohammed Mossadegh in 1953. I recommend this book for a variety of reasons. First, it briefly summarizes Iranian history in a way that readers without a lot of background can absorb. Secondly, Kinzer tells the story of the coup without loading the reader down with so much detail that the essentials of the story are obscured. Thirdly, while Kinzer clearly blames the British, the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company and the Eisenhower Administration for making a short-sighted decision, he acknowledges that there is no way to disprove the justification for the coup, i.e., that it was necessary to prevent a Soviet takeover of Iran. As an aside, Harry Truman comes off looking very wise in resisting pressure from Britain to support the coup; a decision the Eisenhower Administration reversed.
47 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Good introduction to Iranian history 22 septembre 2004
Par S. L. Small - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
Kinzer's work is great for alot of reasons, and the book manages to perform a few tasks very well. First, it presents the events of Summer/Fall 1953 in Iran many times through the words, written and spoken, of those involved. Second, it provides the context of the 1953 coup by explaining Britain's and America's relationships to Iran over the course of the early 20th century, as well as providing a brief overview of all Iranian history to understand the Iranians' desires in the 20th century. Third, it tries to offer balanced opinions of why, in the end, Britain decided to topple the elected government of Iran and why it was done covertly thru the U.S. Finally, it offers some very brief ties between the U.S./British overthrow of Mossadegh and later Iranian events, illustrating some of the links between Mossadegh's overthrow, the Shah's brutal rule, the later revolution's overthrow of the Shah, Iranian terrorism and worldwide terrorism.

My big criticism is that despite the excellent coverage of the coup and it's context in the past, he spends very little time examining the long-term effects. Almost ten chapters are devoted to pre-1953 events- he gives post-1953 events only one chapter. I would have appreciated as in-depth an analysis of post-1953 Iran as well.
72 internautes sur 84 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Please share this eye-opening book by gifting it to someone 13 octobre 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
This book is my favorite over the last 2 years, and I read more than 50 books every year (about one book per week). My only complaint is that the title of the book should have mentioned Mossadegh....something like, "The Story of Mossadegh: How the British and the CIA Destroyed a Great Soul and a Great Nation." All the Shah's Men are not important - history will forget them, at most in a few decades. Mossadegh's legend will grow with time, just like those of Socrates or Mother Teresa. Mossadegh was to the Iranians, what Gandhi was to Indians, or what Martin Luther King was to the African Americans. Its just a matter of time - the current Islamic govt. in Iran is too afraid of the democratic ideals that Mossadegh represented. Sooner or later Mossadegh will occupy the place in history that he rightfully deserves - there will be many more books, movies, and who knows even future revolutions inspired by him.
Many thanks to Stephen Kinzer for publishing an accurate account of how Churchill's and Eisenhower's short term oil interests and communophobia ruined a budding democracy in a great historical land. Note that the book was just published in 2003 and a lot of material was inaccessible until very recently.
Iran or Persia was home to Rumi, the great sufi mystic, and Zoroaster, the great spiritual teacher. Iranians are moderate people, representing the best values of Islam. Yet, a typical American's assessment of Iranians is that they are fanatic zealots and hate the whole western culture. And may be there is some truth to that. But have you ever wondered why Iranians became so disgusted and suspicious of the Americans and the British. Read this book. Whatever you may think of America or Britain, it will forever change you assessment of the evil roles played by the governments of these two countries (only the governments, not the people of these countries, of course).
Also, if your heart has ever cried thinking about the 9/11 tragedies, then your answers will be forever incomplete if you do not begin to understand the powerful forces of hate unleashed by CIA and Churchill in the 1953 coup when they removed a democratically elected, liberal minded leader named Mossadegh in favor of British oil interests. Mossadegh inspired millions of Iranians, just like Thomas Jefferson inspired millions of Americans. By implanting Shah as the cruel dictator and removing Mossadegh (the democratically elected Prime Minister), the CIA operative Kermit Roosevelt forever changed Middle eastern politics. Consider for a moment what would have happnened if the British had implanted a cruel dictator like Fidel Castro in the U.S. in 1776 and imprisoned the founding fathers of U.S.
If you have taken the trouble to read some of these reviews - buy this book, its the most important book on why we are where we are today. A sobering realization of who is really behind the world that we have inherited today. You decide that after reading the book!
22 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
Informative book on Iranian history 31 juillet 2003
Par Un client - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format: Relié
I would recommend this book to anyone who is either interested in the contemporary history of Iran, or wants to find out why the Iranian revolution took place / the reasons behind the hostage taking of the US embassy.
I bought this book for my uncle who was a young man when Mossadegh was Prime Minister. My uncle told me that the book covered many of the things that he had observed at the time which reassured me of the book's accuracy.
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