BOOK: The Life and Times of the Shah by Gholam Reza Afkhami


BOOK: The Life and Times of the Shah by Gholam Reza Afkhami
by Darius Kadivar

"A comprehensive and well-researched reexamination of a well-meaning but tragic figure."—Booklist

"This book rises above common misconceptions to tell an important story, one that forged the destiny of Iran and changed the course of Middle East history. There is no better book on the Shah, his rule and legacy, and none more enjoyable to read."—Vali Nasr, author of The Shia Revival

"A thorough and vivid picture of a very significant period in the political history of Iran and the larger world."—Farhad Kazemi, author of Poverty and Revolution in Iran

Watch Debate over Book at the Woodrow Wilson Center Hosted by Haleh Esfandiary: Video here

  Gholam Reza Afkhami
Author, Senior Scholar at the Foundation for Iranian Studies


John Limbert
Distinguished Professor of International Affairs, United States Naval Academy


Shaul Bakhash
Robinson Professor of History, George Mason University

Description This epic biography, a gripping insider's account, is a long-overdue chronicle of the life and times of Mohammad Reza Shah, who ruled from 1941 to 1979 as the last Iranian monarch. Gholam Reza Afkhami uses his unparalleled access to a large number of individuals—including high-ranking figures in the shah's regime, members of his family, and members of the opposition—to depict the unfolding of the shah's life against the forces and events that shaped the development of modern Iran. The first major biography of the Shah in twenty-five years, this richly detailed account provides a radically new perspective on key events in Iranian history, including the 1979 revolution, U.S.-Iran relations, and Iran's nuclear program. It also sheds new light on what now drives political and cultural currents in a country at the heart of today's most perplexing geopolitical dilemmas.
Book Available on
  • Hardcover: 740 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press; 1 edition (January 12, 2009)
  • Language: English

    About The Author
    Gholam Reza Afkhami is Senior Scholar at the Foundation for Iranian Studies. Before the revolution of 1979 he was Professor of Political Science at the National University of Iran, Secretary-General of Iran's National Committee for World Literacy Program and Deputy Minister of Interior. He is author of The Iranian Revolution, among other books.

    Contents Preface
    Notes on Transliteration and Translations

    1. The Father
    2. Father and Son
    3. The Man

    4. Ascending the Throne
    5. Azerbaijan
    6. Nationalizing Oil
    7. Toward the Abyss
    8. TPAJAX

    9. A New Vista
    10. The White Revolution
    11. Women and Rights
    12. Mastering Oil
    13. Commander-in-Chief
    14. Development and Dreams
    15. Gas, Petrochemicals, and Nuclear Energy

    16. Politics and Terror
    17. SAVAK
    18. A Celebration and a Festival
    19. The Rastakhiz Party
    20. The Gathering Storm
    21. "I Heard the Message of Your Revolution"
    22. "Melting Like Snow"

    23. Trek to Nowhere
    24. The Ayatollah's Shadow
    25. Almost Bartered
    26. Closing in a Dream

    Brief Chronology of the Pahlavi Dynasty
    Appendix 1: Iran's Prime Ministers under the Shah
    Appendix 2: Principles of Iran's White Revolution
    Appendix 3: U.S. Ambassadors to Iran, 1941-1979
    Selected Glossary of Terms and Events


    more from Darius Kadivar
    I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek

    I just want to say this about Iranian men

    by I Have a Crush on Alex Trebek on

    They sure do age well don't they. I mean, shah was about to croak and leave the world for the ether and he still looked handsome. Hell, even Khomeini may have looked nice if he shaved and groomed and wore a suit. Who knows? But you Iranian men, you are very lucky. Even the "ugly" ones are decent. Lucky. 


    An Iranian-American's Review of G. R. Afkhami's Biography

    by Guido Anselmi (not verified) on

    I've posted a review of Gholam Reza Afkhami's magnificent biography on my site: //

    I would appreciate any feedback!