Blood and Oil: Memoirs of a Persian Prince

Blood and Oil: Memoirs of a Persian Prince

by Manucher Farmanfarmaian, Roxane Farmanfarmaian
     
 
A delightful true story of oil and Islamic revolution, told by Iran's ultimate insider. From his Venezuelan terrace garden, the now-exiled Manucher Farmanfarmaian describes the heady days when he served as the Shah's oil adviser, one of the kingpins in the shadowy world of petroleum politics. 16 pp. of photos. 464 pp. Size C. 15,000 print.

Overview

A delightful true story of oil and Islamic revolution, told by Iran's ultimate insider. From his Venezuelan terrace garden, the now-exiled Manucher Farmanfarmaian describes the heady days when he served as the Shah's oil adviser, one of the kingpins in the shadowy world of petroleum politics. 16 pp. of photos. 464 pp. Size C. 15,000 print.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Iran's first ambassador to Venezuela and a signatory to the agreement that established OPEC, Manucher Farmanfarmaian makes it perfectly clear that he is from a far more aristocratic Persian family than the one that produced the last two shahs. His memoirs, written with his daughter, PW's West Coast correspondent, are as colorful and sometimes as intricate as the design of a Persian carpet. The book not only describes Manucher Farmanfarmaian's public career but also provides a history of modern Iran. His father, a prime minister, had eight wives and 36 children, and Manucher, who was born in 1917, spent his young years in a harem. At age nine he was sent to Europe for schooling and returned 14 years later with a degree in petroleum engineering, which put him in the right business at the right time. The multitudinous details of office and palace politics are probably not as important to readers as the new perspective given on British oil imperialism and its brutal effect on 20th-century history. The Farmanfarmaians' intimate portrait of the last shah is that of a man totally out of touch with his people, who brought on the Islamic revolution by ineptly bending to American pressure for social reform. Coming from such a large and well-connected family, the authors had relatives involved in just about every political faction within Iran except Khomeini's, which gives them numerous anecdotal insights on the revolution. The book opens and closes with Manucher Farmanfarmaian's escape from Tehran's Islamic rebels; today he is a potato-chip manufacturer in Caracas. His memoirs are a revolutionary tale told with grand bon vivant style. Photos not seen by PW. (Apr.)
Kirkus Reviews
In an autobiography coauthored by his daughter, Farmanfarmaian provides intriguing glimpses of upper-class Persian society that more than make up for the occasional ego-stroking.

This man has led an interesting life. Born in a harem in 1917, he studied petroleum engineering in England, held ministerial-level posts overseeing production of oil in Iran from the late 1940s to the early '70s, served as ambassador to Venezuela, escaped form Khomeini's Islamic Republic after the revolution, and currently manages a potato chip factory. He brings technical knowledge of the oil business and familiarity with Western culture to his account of critical events, including the creation of OPEC, but does not place Western interests and values above those of his native country. From his perspective it was the prejudice and stupidity of colonialism that led to the nationalization of the British corporation that monopolized Iranian oil production. Similarly, it was the hypocrisy of American support of the shah without regard to his repressive domestic policies that undermined the popularity of the US in Iran and helped create the conditions for revolution. Blood precedes oil in the title of this book, however, and family is the centerpiece of this story and this society. The pervasive significance of family connections, extended by the practice of polygamy, is evident throughout this book and makes American efforts at networking seem paltry in comparison. Farmanfarmaian accepts this social milieu as a matter of course, but his description of a society in which families are really important and a family's reputation shapes individual opportunities should give American promoters of the family something to think about.

While Farmanfarmaian's apparently lifelong ability to perceive events more clearly than others sometimes strains the reader's credulity, this is nevertheless a fascinating look inside a world not well known or understood by Americans.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780679440550
Publisher:
Random House Publishing Group
Publication date:
04/07/1997
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
514
Product dimensions:
6.52(w) x 9.55(h) x 1.74(d)

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