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The Persian Sphinx (in Persian) [Paperback]

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Item description for The Persian Sphinx (in Persian) by Abbas Milani...

THIS IS THE PERSIAN LANGUAGE EDITION OF THE PERSIAN SPHINX Who lost Iran? How and why did a country, never richer, never more educated, its women never more liberated erupt in a fundamentalist revolution? the answer can be found in the enthralling life and tragic death of one man. Amir Abbas Hoveyda was a central figure in the historic struggle between modernity and tradition in Iran -- a struggle pitting Western cosmopolitanism against Persian isolationism, secularism against religious fundamentalism, and ultimately civil society and democracy against authoritarianism. Born in Tehran in 1919 to a family of solid middle class comforts and faded aristocratic roots, Hoveyda was an elegant, cultivated, well-read, and witty man, educated in Beirut, London, and Brussels. After entering the Iranian foreign service in 1942, he served in France, Germany, and Turkey, then returned to Iran in 1956 to join the National Iranian Oil Company. In 1965, the shah appointed him the country's prime minister. Hoveyda would serve faithfully in that post for thirteen years. Amir Abbas Hoveyda embodied the aspirations, the accomplishments and also the failures of a whole generation of Iranian technocrats -- mostly Western-trained -- who sought to free Iran from the travails of poverty and repression and guide it into the modern age. Hoveyda would be both a leader and a victim of that effort. On the eve of the Islamic Revolution, the shah, attempting to turn the rising tide of revolt by offering a scapegoat, ordered the prime minister's arrest. When the Pahlavi regime fell, Hoveyda chose not to flee, voluntarily surrendering to the new Islamic authorities. His hope was for a public trial; instead the infamous "Hanging Judge" presided over a secret and summary trial. In telling the story of Hoveyda's life, the author has not only laid bare the development of Iranian society during a pivotal period (1919 1978) but has also unearthed important new material on U.S.-Iranian relations. From 1957 onward, Amir Abbas Hoveyda played critical roles in dealing with U.S. foreign policy and fundamentalist Islamic opposition in Iran. Through careful use of hitherto-unexamined archival materials, unpublished letters, and personal journals, along with extensive interviews with more than a hundred of Hoveyda's relatives, friends, and foes, the author has brilliantly caught the pathos and passion of Hoveyda's life and times. The Persian Sphinx is biography at its most powerful and will reward the scholar and the general reader alike.

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Item Specifications...

Pages   564
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 1.25" Width: 6" Height: 8.75"
Weight:   1.85 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   May 1, 2006
Publisher   Mage Publishers
ISBN  1933823038  
ISBN13  9781933823034  

Availability  0 units.

More About Abbas Milani

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Abbas Milani, Chair of the Department of History and Political Science at Notre Dame de Namur University since 1987, is currently a visiting professor of political science and a research fellow at Stanford University's Hoover Institution. He has written and published extensively on Iran's encounter with modernity. His books include The Persian Sphinx, Tales of Two Cities: A Persian Memoir, and a translation of King of the Benighted, a novella by Houshang Golshiri.

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Product Categories

1Books > Foreign Language Books > More Languages > Persian
2Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > General
3Books > Subjects > Biographies & Memoirs > Leaders & Notable People > Political

Reviews - What do customers think about The Persian Sphinx (in Persian)?

Good book on biography of one of the most popular prime ministers of Iran  Sep 9, 2008
PM Hoveyda was the Iran's Prime Minister for 13 yrs in 1960s and 70s and the late Shah's minister of the court in the last years of the government of the Shah of Iran. It's a known fact that he was of Bahai' faith and this fact alone shows the openness and tolerance the Shah's government had for religious minorities. Any how, this particular book is a biography written by Dr. Milani based in California. Though the book has its own flaws regarding the personality of the Shah ((Mr. Milani's new book on the Shah will have none of them according to author)) it reveals a great deal about the previous regime. Also, IMO, it was a weird mistake on behalf the Shah to jail Mr. Hoveyda on corruption charges days before the revolution started sweeping the country in 1978. He should have known better than appeasing the mad Mullahs would not work. PM Hoveyda, a French educated gentleman hoping to be acquitted of bogus charges in the court of law, turned himself to the new revolutionary regime and jailed again. He was later found guilty in a farce and sham revolutionary court and sentenced to death and later he was shot and killed by the infamous Hanging Judge (Aytollah Khalkhali, Khomeini's lackey) in Ghasr prison in downtown Tehran. This book is all about his accomplished life and wonderful career. It reveals so much about his character as a nice and friendly person who didn't even bother to have body guards and drove his old car to work every day. Those who would like to know about Iran before the revolution should definitely get this book and devour it. This book is easy to read and actual and it reads like a good novel. I recommend this!
Iran  Mar 20, 2006
Found this book very interesting because the author of book simply presented facts, and did not express his own view.

The story was sad because Mr. HOVEYDA did not have a chance for a proper trial.
a fabulous read  Sep 11, 2005
For any Iranian, especially those who left revolutionary Iran in their teens, this is a must read. When I left, I was old enough to understand some things political but not most. This book sheds light on any number of subjects and people that I had been anxious to understand.

Mr. Milani's style of researched and carefully documented narrations leads one to believe that the work is historically accurate. Even if not fully so, there is a lot in there to learn about the history of Iran in the 20th century.

The book is written beautifully and impossible to put down. The superb English at times demands a dictionary.

The documented evidence, as opposed to rumors cited by most Iranians, showing the influence/control of foreign countries on the day to the day politics of Iran under Shah is breath taking. Another amazing revelation is Hoveyda's naivete about who the religious revolutionaries were and what he could expect from them. In spite of his attempts to be connected to ordinary people, we see that he had been isolated far too much from the turn of events, almost as if he was in a bubble. But on the whole and consistent with most Iranian's impression, Mr. Hoveyda comes out in somewhat better light than most of Shah's cronies.

Finally, one is left wondering about the turn of the events if Hoveyda had resigned in any of the countless opportunities he was afforded.
More than a biography  Dec 26, 2004
In the emotional fervor of revolutions, the protagonists are often portrayed as larger than life creators of history. In The Persian Sphinx, Milani restores humanity to the story of a man who is more notable for what he could have done than for what he did.

Hoveyda, like so many Iranian politicians through history was complicit in betraying his ideals through silence and acquiescence in the face of encroaching authoritarianism. The haunting story of Hoveyda shows us the paramount importance of integrity in leadership.

With a tumultuous period in Iranian history as a backdrop to the story, the reader gains insight into much more than Hoveyda's life including: the incompetent regime of the Shah, the causes of the 1979 revolution, and the barbarism of the revolutionary period.
A great read
I was blown away by how much I enjoyed this book.  Aug 31, 2004
I found this book to be very fascinating, fair, and extremely well written. Like other readers (below), it was hard for me to put the book down once I started reading it. Through the life of Prime Minister Hoveyda, we learn how and why the Iranian Revolution succeeded and understand the reign of terror that followed the collapse of the Iranian Monarchy in 1979. I must say I did not expect an easy read when I purchased the book as I had read Dr. Milani's "Lost Wisdom: Rethinking Modernity in Iran" and found the book to be fascinating but truly academic in language and tone. Simply put, this is a very readable book and I was blown away by how much I enjoyed it. Wonderful writing!

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