The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran

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9780375406393: The Last Great Revolution: Turmoil and Transformation in Iran

"The Last Great Revolution is written with clarity and insight about Iran's tumultuous twenty-year Islamic revolution. Robin Wright speaks authoritatively about the Iranian republic's evolution, from the convulsive, vindictive early years of he revolution to the current uncertainties over experimentation with Islamic democracy. Her book is a valuable contribtion to our understanding of contemporary Iranian society and the possible directions this very important country make take in the future."
— Senator Richard G. Lugar, Foreign Relations Committee

Robin Wright, the acclaimed Mideast expert and foreign correspondent, returns to Iran, which she has visited more frequently than has any other American since the fall of the shah, to give us a portrait of the revolution — a generation after Ayatollah Khomeini returned from exile to end 2,500 years of monarchy.

She shows us how the Iranian revolution has taken on even greater importance since Khomeini's death, and how it transformed Iranian society as well as Islam. She describes the revolutions within the revolution that have resulted in a movement as radical in the world of Islam as Luther's Reformation was in the Christian world — empowering women, modernizing social traditions, creating a fiesty, independent cinema and arts industry and giving birth to a new generation that is redefining Iran's political agenda.

Wright makes abundantly clear why she believes the Iranian revolution will stand along with the French and the Russian as one of the three innovative revolutions — and the last great revolution — of the Modern Era.

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Review:

There is probably no person better suited to write this book on Iran's cultural and political transformation than Robin Wright. She has traveled to Iran as a reporter since 1973, when the country was "one of the few comfortable places for foreigners"--including women--to live and work, a place where "short skirts were acceptable" and women "wore bikinis on the beach." But the revolution in 1979 changed all that: "For anyone who'd been to Iran before, the new Islamic Republic of Iran seemed almost like a different country." There was the revival of religious fundamentalism, the hostage crisis, a costly war with Iraq, the sponsorship of terrorism, and Iran-Contra. Iran became one of the most perplexing and vital beats in all of journalism, a touchstone for Middle Eastern politics and an emerging presence on the world stage--and Wright has been there for more of it than any other foreigner.

The Last Great Revolution is a sweeping portrait of a misunderstood country. Much of it is anecdotal rather than analytical, but all is in the service of illuminating what Wright calls "the world's only modern theocracy." She writes of an airline stewardess who gave Wright Band-Aids to cover her nail polish before entering the country and a customs official who ripped up her deck of playing cards one by one. But there are also unexpected opportunities for women (they can become engineers and lawyers), plus a measure of religious freedom (there are communities of Christians and Jews). Old and new ways are in constant conflict: "All the current signs indicate that the Islamic Republic is not likely to survive in its current form." --John J. Miller

From the Publisher:

"Anyone interested in Iran can only rejoice in the riches unearthed... Wright's reporting is comprehensive and meticulous... Her analysis offers an invaluable context for understanding the changes that seem imminent in Iran... An exceptional contribution to the understanding of a mysterious and maligned nation."
-- Washington Post

"Wright succeeds both in presenting a reasoned critique of a climactic 20th-century event and in making us sympathize with a people struggling to grasp the slippery veins of history... Blending interviews, acute observation and informed analysis, Wright explores the changes wrought by two decades of revolutionary turmoil... The mosaic that emerges is convincing, both as an intimate portrait of Iranian society and an interpretation of Iran's experiment with Islamic governance."
-- New York Times Book Review

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