The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran / Edition 1

The Unthinkable Revolution in Iran / Edition 1

by Charles Kurzman
     
 

ISBN-10: 0674018435

ISBN-13: 9780674018433

Pub. Date: 09/06/2005

Publisher: Harvard

The shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, would remain on the throne for the foreseeable future: This was the firm conclusion of a top-secret CIA analysis issued in October 1978. One hundred days later the shah--despite his massive military, fearsome security police, and superpower support was overthrown by a popular and largely peaceful revolution. But the CIA

Overview

The shah of Iran, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, would remain on the throne for the foreseeable future: This was the firm conclusion of a top-secret CIA analysis issued in October 1978. One hundred days later the shah--despite his massive military, fearsome security police, and superpower support was overthrown by a popular and largely peaceful revolution. But the CIA was not alone in its myopia, as Charles Kurzman reveals in this penetrating work; Iranians themselves, except for a tiny minority, considered a revolution inconceivable until it actually occurred. Revisiting the circumstances surrounding the fall of the shah, Kurzman offers rare insight into the nature and evolution of the Iranian revolution and into the ultimate unpredictability of protest movements in general.

As one Iranian recalls, "The future was up in the air." Through interviews and eyewitness accounts, declassified security documents and underground pamphlets, Kurzman documents the overwhelming sense of confusion that gripped pre-revolutionary Iran, and that characterizes major protest movements. His book provides a striking picture of the chaotic conditions under which Iranians acted, participating in protest only when they expected others to do so too, the process approaching critical mass in unforeseen and unforeseeable ways. Only when large numbers of Iranians began to "think the unthinkable," in the words of the U.S. ambassador, did revolutionary expectations become a self-fulfilling prophecy. A corrective to 20-20 hindsight, this book reveals shortcomings of analyses that make the Iranian revolution or any major protest movement seem inevitable in retrospect.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780674018433
Publisher:
Harvard
Publication date:
09/06/2005
Edition description:
New Edition
Pages:
304
Product dimensions:
5.06(w) x 7.93(h) x 0.81(d)

Table of Contents

Prefacevii
1Introduction1
2The Emergence of Protest: Political Explanations, 197712
3Mobilization of the Mosque Network: Organizational Explanations, Early 197833
4Shi'i Appeals: Cultural Explanations, Mid-197850
5General Strike: Economic Explanations, Fall 197877
6Failure of the Fist: Military Explanations, Winter 1978-1979105
7A Viable Movement: Anti-Explanation, Winter 1978-1979125
8Conclusion163
About the Sources175
Notes187
References239
Acknowledgments281
Index283

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