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The Shah [Anglais] [Broché]

Abbas Milani

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The definitive biography of the last Shah of Iran, tracing his dramatic rise and fall and his role in the creation of the contemporary Islamic Republic. A social reformer, a deeply paranoid leader, the head of a country in turmoil...the Shah is one of the most fascinating and complex figures in the history of Iran.

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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  63 commentaires
45 internautes sur 48 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 Excellent historical analysis and account of the Shah's reign. 13 février 2011
Par Kersi Von Zerububbel - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
A month or so ago I was reading about the suicide of one of the Shah's sons in Boston. This rekindled my interest in the Shah and his reign. In India, I recall it was a *big deal* amongst Zoroastrians when the Shah married Soraya and since my ancestors were originally from Persia (Iran) I looked around for a good history and picked Mr. Abbas Milani's book.

This is a wonderful book that flows easily and keeps one hooked. The text gives a fairly detailed account of how the Shah came to be in power and how Britain, America, and Russia influenced Iranian politics and history. The political machinations of various players are scoped out in goodly portions. Of course, with hindsight, one can easily see how the Shah was doomed beginning as early as 1963. Then at the height of his power and flushed with petro dollars, the decade of 1965 - 1975 was the halcyon point. Or was it? Per Mr. Milani the Shah failed to cease the initiative during this decade and compromise with the intellectual middle class and the religious players. Had he done so who knows where Iran would be now. Much good that the Shah had wrought was overwhelmed by corruption, in-fighting, and outright incompetence.

What saddened me were the last days of the Shah. Shuffled from country to country the poor man had no true friends and only one Statesman, Anwar Sadat, who gave him succor. I recall seeing the Shah in interviews on TV in the seventies and the change was remarkable.

One aspect about this book that disappointed me to no end was the COMPLETE lack of any photographs of the historical figures discussed so eloquently in the text. I understand with copyright laws and cost cutting some publishers are taking this route. But I am afraid this significantly marrs an otherwise outstanding work. Human beings need to put a face to a name - we just do. For this reason alone I most reluctantly have to deduct a star from my rating. Very sad to do it but I have to be honest and point out this major flaw. Other than this tragic oversight the book is superb and worth reading sans pictures and all.
44 internautes sur 52 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Amazing book on the man and the country for anyone who is interested and even those who are not 4 janvier 2011
Par Constant Reader - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
This book is really terrific. I picked it up and I simply could not put it down. Milani does a great job of balancing substantive information with a narrative that is simply enthralling. The book is based on previously classified documents and is written in a way that flows perfectly. I feel like I really have a sense of the true Shah and why events in Iran went the way they did. If you want to read any book on the Shah or Iran, this is it!
15 internautes sur 17 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
4.0 étoiles sur 5 The Shah by Abbas Milani 28 septembre 2011
Par Samuel W. Coulbourn - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié|Achat vérifié
This is a marvelous, wide-ranging and intelligently written story of the reign of Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlevi. It looks to me to be an excellent piece of scholarship.
I lived just down the street from the Shah for two years, from 1970 to 1972, and I served as an advisor to his Supreme Military Staff, and advised in the creation of his National Defence University, but I don't presume to be an expert on the Shah.
During the years that I lived and worked in Iran, and in all that I have read and heard since then, the Shah was a good leader for Iran, trying to bring a backward country into the modern world, and to carve out a greater part for Iran in the world. When I was there, and since the Shah was restored to his throne less than 20 years before, the Soviet Union loomed large on the landscape. Everything we did in and with Iran reflected our need to keep Iran on our side in the great balancing act between the USSR and the West.
During World War II Britain, the United States and the USSR all stationed forces in Iran in order to ship millions of tons of military supplies and food north to Russia. At war's end, the British and Americans began to leave, but the Soviets occupied northern provinces, and appeared very determined to annex those parts of the country.
The Shah, with British and American help, was able to expel the Soviet troops from those northern provinces.
When I was there the Shah had just about reached the high point of his rule. The British, in a long-before announced move, had taken their navy out of the waters "east ofAden", or the Red Sea, and with American encouragement the Shah's Imperial Navy was taking over a larger role in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman, and gradually, theIndian Ocean.
In 1973, the Yom Kippur War took place, and the coalition of oil-producing countries put a giant clamp on world oil supplies. For Iran and the Shah, the money came flooding in. Up to that time, he had been able to manage the greed of his relatives and close associates, keeping graft and corruption bubbling below the surface.
Milani's book certainly does not paint the Shah as a modern day hero, or the Savior of Iran, but he was clearly a very positive influence on Iran, and his leadership was bringing Iran into the modern world, with education for more Iranians, improvements in standard of living, and a greatly improved standing in the world community. He was a secular ruler, and he and the Shahbanou set an example for modernizing the role of women in the country.
It seems to be a very fair picture of a man born to a Persian Cossack officer of very humble beginnings. That officer seems to have fallen into the role of Shah of Iran, by the events of the time, carried along by crafty and often unprincipled westerners--mostly British, but later, the operatives of the United States took over the care, feeding and steering of the Shah.
In 1965 the Shah, in Milani's view, had reached about the pinnacle of his reign. By then he was skilled, principled, and moving rapidly to modernize his country. If only he could have done more of all that good, but he had a lot of things working against him.

When I arrived in Iran in September, 1970, I was one of a few U.S. Naval officers, on a staff of mostly Army officers and men, and a growing number of Air Force officers and men. The American presence in Iran had begun during World War II, just before President Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and Josef Stalin had their historic Teheran Conference there.
In 1970 the United States was busy helping the Shah to build up his armed forces as a bulwark against the Soviet Union and its allies in the region--Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, and India. At the same time, Britain had scheduled a complete withdrawal of its naval forces from the Indian Ocean, and was turning that responsibility over to the United States Navy, and to Iran.
This book tells about life in the cocoon around the Shah, as he became increasingly protected by a small circle of sycophants, and even foreign diplomats, CIA and MI6 operatives. Those in that circle became people who told him what he wanted to hear, and at the same time urged him to buy more. And buy he did. With all the oil money that was coming to the country, he bought destroyers from the UK, trucks and artillery from the USSR, and state-of-the-art jet fighters, Boeing airliners, and much more from the U.S.
During my time there, my wife taught bright young Iranians English, and I learned Persian from other bright young Iranians, and in our exposure to the unofficial Persian world, we heard bits and pieces of the discontent that was simmering in the country.
However, no one was putting this picture together for the Shah, nor was he listening. No one would dare darken his day telling him how the world would soon know that SAVAK, his security agency, was more and more shifting to the dark side of doing dirty tricks. No one was giving him a good report about how Islamic groups were building up resentment to the Shah. His efforts to westernize the country naturally irritated those groups, but he had no apparent plan for handling this growing resentment.

In 1971 the Shah put on a magnificent party out in the desert at the ancient city ofPersepolis. It was a grand party. He spent millions to put up elegant tents for his visitors, with marble bathrooms and rich Persian carpets, and running water--right out there in the desert! And they came--kings and princes and princesses--from all over the world. I remember seeing Prince Rainier and Princess Grace, and Emperor Haile Selassie ofEthiopia, and King Hussein of Jordan. The U.S. sent Spiro Agnew, the VP, I think. That whole event did not go down well with the growing circle of Iranians critical of the Shah.
As time went on, the Shah became more disconnected to any voices that would tell him "bad news". American diplomats and intelligence operatives reported growing discontent, but back home in the USA, presidents and Secretaries of State dared not rock the Shah's boat, so did not bother the Shah with their findings.
By 1975, the Shah was pulling in more money than even he and his circle could spend, and no one seemed to be worrying about how all this would play out. And then there were the girls. Lots of girls.
This was the beginning of the end, as his appetite for debauchery overcame his desire to lead. He was also facing early signs of cancer, and intelligent Iranians were beginning to see the end. Some of those bright Iranians were Mullahs and other religious leaders.

How does the 1979 Islamic Revolution relate to the string of revolutions and uprisings taking place today?

The central point is: a leader who isolates himself from his people is ruling in the dark. Even a dictator must be aware of his people, and this is where the Shah failed. One can see similar failings in Mubarak, Qaddafi, al Assad, el Abadine Ben Ali and Saleh.

The Islamic Republic of Iran appears to be much worse for Iran than the Shah ever was. There are a lot of smart, well-educated Persians, both in Iran and abroad, and I feel confident that before long, they will figure out a way to unseat the Mullahs and thugs who are running Iran slowly into the sand.
11 internautes sur 13 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 A must read....! 13 mai 2011
Par Shirin Afrasiabi - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat vérifié
I stopped reading this book from sheer fury many times. It was frustrating to read.It showed how a few men and one woman, made decisions about a whole nation's direction of life! It was very infuriating. It also validated most of the suspecions most of us Iranian-Americans grew up with. However, I picked it up again and again, because I had to know more.
It is a comprehensive look at how and why and who did what in our history!
I was a little disappointed that Dr. Milani could not hide his distaste for the Shah a little better. As objective and factual as he is about most all of the information, his dislike for the Shah is palpable throughout his book.Other than that, I am certain this will be a great source of reference for most people. It will illuminate or disillude many of the misguided political activists, who have given up their youth and livelihoods for their politiacl beliefs. Many will realize how those few people, influenced and directed various belief systems in that nation. They implemented and removed belief systems like they were pieces of furniture! Created whole governments and constitutions simply as a fecade to appease their allies and enemies, while manipulated key features of the system in the background to their own benefits! The foreign involvment in Iran's domestic affairs would not have been as comprehensive and as effective, without the help of the many traitors who sold themselves repeatedly and relentlessly.
In reading between the lines it becomes obvious, how The Shah evolved from a naive and petrified, yet arrogant young man into a savy polititian that learned the game and played it well for a long time. He was intoxicated by his power and success and finally was overthrown when inebriated!
19 internautes sur 24 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
5.0 étoiles sur 5 Interesting Read 19 janvier 2011
Par James T. - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Relié
I have read a lot different books on Iran (out of pure interest in the country) and this is an instant classic. Milani's analysis is spot on, engaging the wide variety of ideas and views the history/evidence suggests. I found the book engrossing and a delight, every passage begins with a passage from Shakespeare (very apropos)! This is a worthy purchase.
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