Mark Twain wrote: If familiarity breeds contempt, we should never have contempt for the truth, since we have so little opportunity to become familiar with it.
Category: Nonfiction: History
Average Rating: 2.0
In 2011, violence erupted across the Middle East in the form of revolts against authoritarian regimes. Across the region, from Egypt to Syria, thousands fought and died to push out despots, some successfully and others unsuccessfully. Yet despite this historic violence, much of the world's foreign policy focus has been on Iran's nuclear program, and the potential for war between Iran, Israel, and the West. Although Iran had peaceful nuclear programs with Western cooperation before the Islamic revolution, it's widely believed that the regime, headed by Ayatollah Khomeini and now Ayatollah Khameini, began to work in earnest toward a nuclear program that could result in bombs around the late '90s. Still, it was (and remains) unclear the extent to which Iran's nuclear program has progressed, with the potential date of Iran obtaining nuclear weapons constantly changing. As Graham Allison, a Harvard professor and leading security strategist, put it in November 2011, the Iranian nuclear program is a "Cuban missile crisis in slow motion."
People may know what's going on in Iran today, but the obsession over its nuclear program often overlooks the unique intricacies of the nation and its people, particularly the long, illustrious history of the Persian Empire. Iranians have long been proud of their history and culture, to the extent that foreign negotiators who do not entirely understand the history and culture have referred to a "Persian psyche."
How did Iran get to where it is today, at the forefront of global affairs? The history of Iran and the theme of Persian conflict with the West stretches back thousands of years, and it is a unique history of empire, culture, art, pride, and religious nationalism. The History of Iran from Ancient Persia to the Ayatollahs comprehensively and descriptively covers this history, progressing through a timeline dating back to antiquity and examining all of the different religious, political, foreign, and military issues that affect Iran and are affected by Iran today.
This book is pretty dry with a lot of confusing names that aren't adequately explained. Although it does summarize a long history, it doesn't really follow through with any meaningful conclusions or explain Iranian's hatred of the West.
Tracey Norman's performance is adequate, but this dry material didn't require much from the narrator.
Ultimately, I didn't come away with much from this book.
NOTE: I was given this free review copy audiobook at my request and have voluntarily left this review.
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