All the Shah's Men

  • by Stephen Kinzer
  • Narrated by Michael Prichard
  • 10 hrs and 24 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Half a century ago, the United States overthrew the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, whose "crime" was nationalizing the country's oil industry.In a cloak-and-dagger story of spies, saboteurs, and secret agents, Kinzer reveals the involvement of Eisenhower, Churchill, Kermit Roosevelt, and the CIA in Operation Ajax, which restored Mohammad Reza Shah to power. Reza imposed a tyranny that ultimately sparked the Islamic Revolution of 1979 which, in turn, inspired fundamentalists throughout the Muslim world, including the Taliban and terrorists who thrived under its protection.
"It is not far-fetched," Kinzer asserts, "to draw a line from Operation Ajax through the Shah's repressive regime and the Islamic Revolution to the fireballs that engulfed the World Trade Center in New York."

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Audible Editor Reviews

With his fast-paced narrative and deep ferreting out of the facts, Kinzer reassembles the CIA's 1953 coup of Mohammad Mossadegh, the democratically elected leader of Iran in favor of the bloodthirsty dictatorship of Mohammad Reza Shah, who is believed to have been a puppet for the US government.

If you like Robert Ludlum or John Le Carre, you'll delight in Kinzer's account of the return of the Shah to Iran. It's written and performed like a spy novel, with code names, secret meetings, and last-minute plot twists. Kinzer's a long-time, highly experienced New York Times foreign correspondent, so he's deft at crafting hard facts into compelling narrative.

Michael Prichard, a veteran narrator of everything from walking tours to military nonfiction, maintains a deliberate and steady pace. No shocking detail is overemphasized, and this contributes to the overall impact of the book.

What's most frightening is that in the middle of this listen you begin to see connections between the installation of the Shah in Iran and the events of 9/11. "Past is prologue" has rarely been as accurate as it is here.

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What the Critics Say

"Breezy storytelling and diligent research....This stands as a textbook lesson in how not to conduct foreign policy." (Publisher's Weekly)
"With a keen journalistic eye, and with a novelist's pen....a very gripping read." (The New York Times)
"Kinzer's brilliant reconstruction of the Iranian coup is made even more fascinating by the fact that it is true. It is as gripping as a thriller, and also tells much about why the United States is involved today in places like Afgahanistan and Iraq." (Gore Vidal)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fascinating & Insightful View of US/ Iran History

Anyone with an interest in current events in the Middle East must read this book. I found it so interesting, I actually listened to it twice without stopping. Most Americans do not know about the fascinating history of US/British/ Iran relations and how events in 1953 profoundly impact what is happening today in the Middle East. This book reads like a riveting novel but provides a detailed factual review of US involvement in Iran and the central role of Iran's oil in the struggle for geopolitical power. Unlike many historical authors who present a slanted view of their subject, this one makes a concerted effort to show the complexity of competing interests without vilifying the US. Clearly, the view is that the US action was mistaken and that the US was lured into covert action by siding with anachronistic British colonial interests which ultimately proved disasterous. However, he also provides the historical context of the tension between the US and the expansion-minded Soviets. This book deserves six stars (not just five).
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- amazonman "I love to learn and share whatever excellence I discover in the process"

Hard to please

Being fairly conservative, I expected a liberal slant from a New York Times reporter. I felt the book was well researched and very well written. I'll never remember all of the Middle Eastern names mentioned in the book but I received an education that helps me understand current events in a more enlightened frame of mind.
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- Rick

Book Details

  • Release Date: 02-26-2004
  • Publisher: Tantor Audio