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The 1979 Islamic revolution in Iran was one of the seminal events of our time. It inaugurated more than thirty years of war in the Middle East and fostered an Islamic radicalism that shapes foreign policy in the United States and Europe to this day.
Drawing on his lifetime of engagement with Iran, James Buchan explains the history that gave rise to the Revolution, in which Ayatollah Khomeini and his supporters displaced the Shah with little difficulty. Mystifyingly to outsiders, the people of Iran turned their backs on a successful Westernized government for an amateurish religious regime. Buchan dispels myths about the Iranian Revolution and instead assesses the historical forces to which it responded. He puts the extremism of the Islamic regime in perspective: a truly radical revolution, it can be compared to the French or Russian Revolutions. Using recently declassified diplomatic papers and Persian-language news reports, diaries, memoirs, interviews, and theological tracts, Buchan illuminates both Khomeini and the Shah. His writing is always clear, dispassionate, and informative.
The Iranian Revolution was a turning point in modern history, and James Buchan’s Days of God is, as London’s Independent put it, “a compelling, beautifully written history” of that event.