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Iran

A Modern History
Written by: Abbas Amanat
Narrated by: Derek Perkins
Length: 41 hrs and 53 mins

Regular price: ₹1,338.00

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Publisher's Summary

This history of modern Iran is not a survey in the conventional sense but an ambitious exploration of the story of a nation. It offers a revealing look at how events, people, and institutions are shaped by currents that sometimes reach back hundreds of years. The book covers the complex history of the diverse societies and economies of Iran against the background of dynastic changes, revolutions, civil wars, foreign occupation, and the rise of the Islamic Republic.

Abbas Amanat combines chronological and thematic approaches, exploring events with lasting implications for modern Iran and the world. Drawing on diverse historical scholarship and emphasizing the 20th century, he addresses debates about Iran's culture and politics.

Political history is the driving narrative force, given impetus by Amanat's decades of research and study. He layers the book with discussions of literature, music, and the arts; ideology and religion; economy and society; and cultural identity and heritage.

©2017 Yale University (P)2018 Tantor

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  • Glaudrung
  • 13-02-19

Extremely Opinionated.

This is a huge book, but it covers a massive topic. I has a conversational tone instead of a narrative, so individual chapters have a general topic but a meandering story. There are many controversial statements presented as fact here which could be argued, but the author only mentions them in passing so you must ask yourself why it was included in the first place.

The author is constantly comparing what went on in Iran to contemporary events in Europe. This becomes impossible because each individually is a non-specific issue that covers a broad policies in Iran without detail. Also, the author stereotypes all "Europe" to include everything from the ancient Greeks to Revolutionary France.

For instance, he brings up the preception of Persia (Iran) from the Bible. That opens up a can of worms, but the author could have started with "it is beyond the scope of this book to assess the accuracy of any sacred text." But instead, the book presents what is said in the Bible as fact with two end notes that say "although it was really a composite work written centuries later." This combined with the fact in one passage he says that ancient Iranian alphabet was dropped for the "more accurate" Arabian one, but later he states flatly that the transition was a product of the Islamic invasion. He also avoids saying how Islam came by mass conversion at sword point, only saying that the older Zoroastrianism was replaced "very quickly."

The author thinks the Latin "Rex" means theocrat. He is WRONG, Rex means king or dictator which is solely secular authority.

Author admits that slavery in Iran was open to many abuses including sexual slavery, but insists that it was not as bad as what happened in Europe. The unfair comparison is unfair, especially since Europe had a whole rainbow of policies and practices over the centuries. Also, the author says that inter-racial marriages were not uncommon, but he ignores it was also forbidden and subject to all sorts of mandatory discrimination. In fact, most of the biracial children were the product of sexual slavery. But since the author does not detail how social and legal justice was dealt out, he allows the impression that slavery was unimportant.

You can obviously see where the author is coming from. But there is a lot of good information in this book, but inexperienced ears should be cautious of the lack of an overall argument or narrative and occasional factual inaccuracies.

11 of 14 people found this review helpful

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  • Allen5423
  • 13-04-19

A Masterpiece

Abbas Amant's "Iran, A Modern History" is a masterpiece worth reading for anyone interested in the history of modern Iran. If you don't have the patience to read 1000 pages, listen to the audio version. It'll be well worth your time!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Stephan
  • 21-01-19

Good, detailed account.

Amanat's book is the fruit of much research into what had been an oft-troubled, but fascinating, 500 years of Iran's modern history. Well-narrated as usual by Mr Perkins.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Masoud
  • 10-10-18

A relevant point

Mr. Amanat tried and did a great job to create a detail picture of the all elements with their historic background that shapes today Iran political, and cultural landscape. He talks about Shariah and Mojtahedin, but avoids talking about fundamentalism Shiih and it's role in shaping Sunni fundamentalism.

1 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 13-09-18

An amazing story

Well written and narrated. this book is based on a good research of Iranian history.

0 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Parissa
  • 22-10-18

An excellent scholarly work

This is a thorough, comprehensive serious and scholarly work, discussing the evolution of Iranian socio-economic history from the Safavid period to the present day.
I found the 19th and 20th century accounts most interesting. Although there is a leitmotiv of the various dynasties seeking legitimacy by harping back to the Safavid period, I would have been equally happy had the book started with the Qajar dynasty.
The book is particularly well read and although there are some slight mispronunciations, it's as good a reading as any non-Persian speaker could have rendered.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Aaron
  • 28-01-19

One of the most comprehensive, detailed, unbiased and informative books on all aspects of modern history of Iran

One of the most comprehensive books, entailing all detailed aspects of foreign, social, local and religious influences on iranian politics. The book is very engaging, bringing different aspects and layers of each era of Iran’s history into life. The only problem I had was with certain parts if the narrator. As much as I fully enjoyed Derek Perkin’s narration, there are certain names that he fully mispronounces on some occasions and pronounces fully correct on others. The inconsistencies are annoying. Also some names are lazily mispronounced (not too difficult to double check). Other than that, 5 stars!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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  • Mr. Anthony Carney
  • 21-08-18

Soporific

Sadly only somnolent.
It should have been a thrilling text.
Whenever you hear the term "agency" be ready to fear the subsequent 60 mins.

I doubt whether the author leaves his chair much..no original insights. No feel for social organization or living standards.
The narrator appears to be on a long term lithium course.

1 of 11 people found this review helpful