The well-rendered, lucid back story explaining the current, ongoing deep distrust and suspicion between the U.S. and Iran.

THE COUP

1953, THE CIA, AND THE ROOTS OF MODERN U.S.-IRANIAN RELATIONS

A relevant, readable study of the foreign-engineered 1953 Iranian coup reminds us of the cause that won’t go away: oil.

Abrahamian (Iranian and Middle Eastern History and Politics/City Univ. of New York; A Modern History of Iran, 2008, etc.) clears away much of the nostalgic Cold War cobwebs surrounding the ouster of the popular Iranian reformer Muhammad Mossadeq, employing new oral history and pertinent memoirs published posthumously by Mossadeq’s advisers. Despite the lively spin put to the coup immediately and effectively by the Americans as a kind of spontaneous uprising against Mossadeq by people fearing his communist proclivities, his ability to pass oil nationalization by the democratically elected Iranian Parliament over the head of the Reza Shah had prompted the U.S. and Britain to panic. With an even, firm hand, Abrahamian revisits the early grab for oil in Iran by the British at the turn of the century. Eventually, the grievances against the British masters began stacking up, as they continued to practice massive ecological damage and frank discrimination against the Iranian workers, prompting strikes and intense anti-imperialist sentiment. The author treats Mossadeq’s rise to power as an organic nationalist reaction. From an old patrician Iranian family, a law scholar and reformist intellectual, he gained popular trust by his sympathy to the constitutional cause. Elected to the premiership by wild acclaim, Mossadeq quietly but firmly passed oil nationalization in 1951; Anglo-Iranian negotiations broke down, and the British and Americans engaged in subversive propaganda tactics such as casting aspersions on the Iranian character and leader. Abrahamian walks us chillingly through the July uprising and subsequent careful CIA-MI6 machinations.

The well-rendered, lucid back story explaining the current, ongoing deep distrust and suspicion between the U.S. and Iran.

Pub Date: Feb. 5, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-59558-826-5

Page Count: 240

Publisher: The New Press

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2012

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 2012

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The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the...

NIGHT

Elie Wiesel spent his early years in a small Transylvanian town as one of four children. 

He was the only one of the family to survive what Francois Maurois, in his introduction, calls the "human holocaust" of the persecution of the Jews, which began with the restrictions, the singularization of the yellow star, the enclosure within the ghetto, and went on to the mass deportations to the ovens of Auschwitz and Buchenwald. There are unforgettable and horrifying scenes here in this spare and sombre memoir of this experience of the hanging of a child, of his first farewell with his father who leaves him an inheritance of a knife and a spoon, and of his last goodbye at Buchenwald his father's corpse is already cold let alone the long months of survival under unconscionable conditions. 

The author's youthfulness helps to assure the inevitable comparison with the Anne Frank diary although over and above the sphere of suffering shared, and in this case extended to the death march itself, there is no spiritual or emotional legacy here to offset any reader reluctance.

Pub Date: Jan. 16, 2006

ISBN: 0374500010

Page Count: 120

Publisher: Hill & Wang

Review Posted Online: Oct. 7, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Jan. 15, 2006

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Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

TOMBSTONE

THE EARP BROTHERS, DOC HOLLIDAY, AND THE VENDETTA RIDE FROM HELL

Rootin’-tootin’ history of the dry-gulchers, horn-swogglers, and outright killers who populated the Wild West’s wildest city in the late 19th century.

The stories of Wyatt Earp and company, the shootout at the O.K. Corral, and Geronimo and the Apache Wars are all well known. Clavin, who has written books on Dodge City and Wild Bill Hickok, delivers a solid narrative that usefully links significant events—making allies of white enemies, for instance, in facing down the Apache threat, rustling from Mexico, and other ethnically charged circumstances. The author is a touch revisionist, in the modern fashion, in noting that the Earps and Clantons weren’t as bloodthirsty as popular culture has made them out to be. For example, Wyatt and Bat Masterson “took the ‘peace’ in peace officer literally and knew that the way to tame the notorious town was not to outkill the bad guys but to intimidate them, sometimes with the help of a gun barrel to the skull.” Indeed, while some of the Clantons and some of the Earps died violently, most—Wyatt, Bat, Doc Holliday—died of cancer and other ailments, if only a few of old age. Clavin complicates the story by reminding readers that the Earps weren’t really the law in Tombstone and sometimes fell on the other side of the line and that the ordinary citizens of Tombstone and other famed Western venues valued order and peace and weren’t particularly keen on gunfighters and their mischief. Still, updating the old notion that the Earp myth is the American Iliad, the author is at his best when he delineates those fraught spasms of violence. “It is never a good sign for law-abiding citizens,” he writes at one high point, “to see Johnny Ringo rush into town, both him and his horse all in a lather.” Indeed not, even if Ringo wound up killing himself and law-abiding Tombstone faded into obscurity when the silver played out.

Buffs of the Old West will enjoy Clavin’s careful research and vivid writing.

Pub Date: April 21, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-250-21458-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: St. Martin's

Review Posted Online: Jan. 20, 2020

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 2020

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