Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces

Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces

by Steven R. Ward

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Overview

Immortal is the only single-volume English-language survey of Iran’s military history. CIA analyst Steven R. Ward shows that Iran’s soldiers, from the famed “Immortals” of ancient Persia to today’s Revolutionary Guard, have demonstrated through the centuries that they should not be underestimated. This history also provides background on the nationalist, tribal, and religious heritages of the country to help readers better understand Iran and its security outlook.

Immortal begins with the founding of ancient Persia’s empire under Cyrus the Great and continues through the Iran-Iraq War (1980–1988) and up to the present. Drawing on a wide range of sources including declassified documents, the author gives primary focus to the modern era to relate the build-up of the military under the last Shah, its collapse during the Islamic revolution, its fortunes in the Iran-Iraq War, and its rise from the ashes to help Iran become once again a major regional military power. He shows that, despite command and supply problems, Iranian soldiers demonstrate high levels of bravery and perseverance and have enjoyed surprising tactical successes even when victory has been elusive. These qualities and the Iranians’ ability to impose high costs on their enemies by exploiting Iran’s imposing geography bear careful consideration today by potential opponents.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781626160651
Publisher: Georgetown University Press
Publication date: 01/15/2014
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 400
Sales rank: 441,525
File size: 3 MB
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Steven R. Ward is a senior CIA intelligence analyst who specializes in Iran and the Middle East. He was the CIA Visiting Professor to the US Naval Academy from 2010 to 2012, and he previously served as the deputy national intelligence officer for the Near East on the National Intelligence Council and on the staff of the National Security Council. He is a graduate of the US Military Academy at West Point and a retired US Army Reserve lieutenant colonel.

Table of Contents

Preface

Introduction: The Iranian Phoenix

1. Heritage of Greatness, Legacy of Loss 2. Powerful Predecessors: The Safavids and Nader Shah 3. Laughingstock: The Qajar Military 4. Nationalism Unleashed: From Revolution to the Great War 5. Two Paths: The Birth of the Modern Iranian Armed Forces 6. Sidelined: The World at War in Iran7. Cold War Pillar: The Rise of the Imperial Armed Forces 8. Old Guard, New Guard: Iran’s Armed Forces in the Islamic Revolution9. Horrible Sacrifice: The Iran-Iraq War 10. Despise Not Your Enemy: Iran’s Armed Forces in the Twenty-first Century

Notes

Bibliography

Index

What People are Saying About This

Anthony H. Cordesman

Far too often, Americans ignore history and leave military history to a narrow range of experts. The choice of peace or war in dealing with Iran, however, is far too important to make without an understanding of Iran's military history and how its forces have evolved. Steven R. Ward's Immortal provides essential background to making that choice.

Kenneth M. Pollack

Before we rush headlong into another Middle Eastern quagmire, it is critical for Americans to develop a greater appreciation for Iran's military history and capability. Steven Ward's Immortal comes at a critical moment, when its subject—the military development of Iran—is one of the most important issues confronting our nation. There are few Westerners who possess Ward's experience and understanding of the Iranian armed forces, and he has done us all a great service by placing his wealth of knowledge at our disposal. Immortal is a thoughtful, fascinating and extremely informative study of Iran's military from the past to the very present that will finally allow us to fill a large gap in our understanding of one of the most pressing foreign policy problems of the twenty-first century.

General Anthony C. Zinni

Immortal is a superbly written and researched work. Steven Ward has delivered a critically important contribution to understanding the Persian military. This is a must read for those who want to understand Iranian military thinking, heritage, and capability.

From the Publisher

"Before we rush headlong into another Middle Eastern quagmire, it is critical for Americans to develop a greater appreciation for Iran's military history and capability. Steven Ward's Immortal comes at a critical moment, when its subject—the military development of Iran—is one of the most important issues confronting our nation. There are few Westerners who possess Ward's experience and understanding of the Iranian armed forces, and he has done us all a great service by placing his wealth of knowledge at our disposal. Immortal is a thoughtful, fascinating and extremely informative study of Iran's military from the past to the very present that will finally allow us to fill a large gap in our understanding of one of the most pressing foreign policy problems of the twenty-first century."—Kenneth M. Pollack, author of The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America

"Immortal is a superbly written and researched work. Steven Ward has delivered a critically important contribution to understanding the Persian military. This is a must read for those who want to understand Iranian military thinking, heritage, and capability."—General Anthony C. Zinni, United States Marine Corps (Ret.), and former commander, U.S. Central Command

"Far too often, Americans ignore history and leave military history to a narrow range of experts. The choice of peace or war in dealing with Iran, however, is far too important to make without an understanding of Iran's military history and how its forces have evolved. Steven R. Ward's Immortal provides essential background to making that choice."—Anthony H. Cordesman, Burke Chair in Strategy, Center for Strategic and International Studies

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Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Shrike58 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In this general survey of Persian military history, Ward takes you all the way from the classical empire of Xerxes and Darius up to the current situation with Islamic Republic of Iran. In the process Ward does find some trends, such as a tendency towards creating dueling militaries as a way by the central government to keep control, with allied tendencies towards combat inefficiency. Poor resource allocation and cultural backwardness are other trends traced by Ward that are sporadically overcome by the valor and patience of the Persian fighting man. All in all a workmanlike book that seems to give a good overview of the subject.