THE SHAH OF IRAN by I. G. Edmonds


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The Shah of Iran sees himself as an avatar of Cyrus the Great and this Persian history-cum-biography pretty much accepts the characterization, notwithstanding Edmonds' recognition of the role played by the CIA in restoring the Shah to power after his deposition by Mossadeq in 1953. Similarly, while admitting that the Shah's ""idea of his people's personal freedom is their freedom to do what he tells them to do,"" Edmonds sees dictatorship as a necessary corollary of development, damns past and present opponents as power-hungry disrupters, and concludes that ""stories of terror. . . appear to a visitor to be greatly exaggerated."" The most questionable assertion here is Edmonds' statement that Iranians voted for anti-Shah legislators simply out of ignorance of how ""the representative system works."" If you can swallow the sanitized defense of strong-man rule, there might still be something to learn here--especially concerning the strained relationship between Iran and the Arab oil states and the Shah's attitude towards the US. Compared to Edwin Hoyt's star-struck adult biography (p. 368) this is positively judicious, but for young adult collections the sticking point will not be Edmonds' partisanship but his veneer of objectivity.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 1976
Publisher: Holt, Rinehart & Winston