The ShahBook - 2011
An Iranian scholar chronicles the life and legacy of the last Shah of Iran, including his role in the creation of the modern Islamic republic.
Though his monarchy was toppled in 1979 and he died in 1980, the life of Mohammad-Reza Shah Pahlevi, the last Shah of Iran, continues to resonate today. Here, internationally respected author Abbas Milani gives us the definitive biography, more than ten years in the making, of the monarch who shaped Iran's modern age and with it the contemporary politics of the Middle East.
The Shah's was a life filled with contradiction—as a social reformer he built schools, increased equality for women, and greatly reduced the power of the Shia clergy. He made Iran a global power, courting Western leaders from Churchill to Carter, and nationalized his country's many natural resources. But he was deeply conflicted and insecure in his powerful role. Intolerant of political dissent, he was eventually overthrown by the very people whose loyalty he so desperately sought. This comprehensive and gripping account shows us how Iran went from politically moderate monarchy to totalitarian Islamic republic. Milani reveals the complex and sweeping road that would bring the U.S. and Iran to where they are today.
Iran is a nation of many contradictions. The origins of the political and cultural clash the country faces today can be traced to the life of the last Shah. Born with Persia at his feet, Peacock Prince Mohammad Reza grew up between the luscious imperial palace and an elite boarding school in Switzerland. Groomed for the throne, he rose to become a leader of tremendous power and influence, rubbing shoulders with royalty from around the world, U.S. presidents, and Hollywood stars.
This is the story of the political intrigue and religious tension that led to the Islamic Revolution, to the Shah's violent overthrow, and ultimately to the current situation in Iran. Under the Shah's rule, figures and organizations such as Khomeini, Mossadeq, the CIA, and MI6 brought drastic changes to the Middle East. This is also the story of a monarch wrapped in luxury and illusion who wished to rule, not to reign; and how his personal relationships, society's expectations, and the ultimate betrayal of his allies led to his exile and death. With its rich details and vivid descriptions and dialogue, this superbly executed biography offers readers a unique account of the Shah's private life, sovereignty, and downfall.