Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup

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9780061844713: Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup

The Economist’s Tehran correspondent Christopher de Bellaigue brings to light the never-before-told full story of one of the great anti-colonial heroes of the twentieth century: Muhammad Mossadegh, the great Iranian leader whose untimely demise resulted in the Islamic Revolution of 1979, and a man who has been demonized, ridiculed, and misunderstood in the West while remaining an icon and an inspiration across the Middle East. Patriot of Persia, the first biography exploring his life and impact, opens a crucial new window into Mossadegh—whose role in the evolution of Iran’s political climate cannot be overemphasized—providing a resource that will prove equally invaluable to academics, newshounds, and activists as they struggle to understand Mideast politics, Iran, Ahmadinejad, and the future of the region—and the world.

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On August 19, 1953, the American and British intelligence agencies launched a desperate coup in Iran against Muhammad Mossadegh, a bedridden seventy-two-year-old man. His crimes had been to flirt with communism and to nationalize his country's oil industry, which for forty years had been in British hands. But the countries that overthrew Mossadegh would, in time, deeply regret siding with his great foe, Shah Muhammad-Reza Pahlavi. Mossadegh was one of the first liberals of the Middle East, a man who wanted friendship with the West—but not slavish dependence.

Who was this political guerrilla of noble blood, so adored in the Middle East and so reviled in the West? Schooled in Europe and pitted against dictatorship at home, Mossadegh had become the nation's conscience by the time of the Shah's ascension. Written by our foremost observer of Iran, Patriot of Persia reveals a man who embodied his nation's struggle for freedom and whose life serves as a warning to the White House and Downing Street as they commit to further intervention in a volatile and unpredictable region.

About the Author:

Christopher de Bellaigue has worked as a journalist in South Asia and the Middle East, writing for the Economist and the Financial Times, the Independent, and the New York Review of Books. His first book, In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs, was short-listed for the Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje Prize, and his second, Rebel Land, was short-listed for the 2010 Orwell Prize. He and his wife divide their time between London and Tehran.

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