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Ayatollah's Democracy

Hooman Majd offers a dramatic perspective on a country with global ambitions an elaborate political culture and enormous implications for world peace Drawing on privileged access to the Iranian power elite Majd argues that despite the violence of the disputed 2009 elections a group of influential ayatollahs including a liberal almost secu While this book moves through time according to perhaps the author s whim there is a lot here that the lay reader would not have access to in any other way Hooman Majd is an Iranian American bi lingual and connected to key players in Iranian politics He de mystifies Iran and presents it in a way that enables outsiders to understand its people and leadersHis earlier book The Ayatollah Begs to Differ The Paradox of Modern Iran draws a social portrait of Iran This new book is a political portrait Majd reveals about himself than he does in the previous volume In his youth as the child of a diplomat for the Shah s Iran he moved about internationally and saw the intrusiveness of the Shah s surveillance programThe backdrop of this book is the 2009 election which he visits and revisits with the themes that Everything is true Nothing is permittedMajd describes Iran s 4 maybe 5 branches of government He frames the election as a dramatic play and writes of events in the aftermath that the average American might not otherwise discover For instance he tells of the difficulties of a government representative attempting to explain the repression on the streets of Tehran to an audience of US based ex pats Ahmadinejad in an attempt to make himself look perhaps modern fired 3 cabinet members and attempted to replace them with womenThe book flips back in time for an informed perspective on how the regime couldwoulddid internally react to the newly elected President Obama and then flips back farther to describe modernization under the Shah There is some information on the difference between Pahlavi father and son vis a vis the clergy before rejoining the narrative of Iran s recent historyIran s international outreach program is fascinating with information that is easily accessible to those who read dry State Department documents but not the average American Majd has an interesting series of interviews with Iranian Jews again insight not readily available to most Americans As with his other book there is a lot of discussion of the man on the street and they ARE all men such as his attitudes towards the election the clergy minorities and insight into how Ahmadinejad positions himself and how he is vulnerable to the forces of internal politicsFavorable press for Majd s relative by marriage past President Khatami is sprinkled throughout be it that Khatami graciously stepped aside for Mousavi to run although he d be a weaker president than Khatami Khatami is difficult for the hard liners to control Khatami provided a widely recognized framework for civil rights for Jews etcIt s had to assign stars to something like this since the insight is rare and important The organization the use of Persian terms sometimes defined and sometimes not the lack of female voices and its general ramble give this book an air of haste I m going to give this one 4 stars and hope that Majd s next book which I will read is carefully thought out

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Lar opposition still believes in the Iranian republic; for them “green” represents not a revolution but a civil rights movement pushing the country inexorably toward democracy albeit a particular brand of “Islamic democracy” With witty candid and stylishly intelligent reporting Majd himself the grandson of an esteemed ayatollah in Undoubtedly an excellent study of the currents of Iranian politics as they came to a head in 2009 I m a little skeptical of Majd s insistence that ta arouf explains much of the misunderstanding between the Islamic Republic and the United States but the point is interesting all the same The author s principal reliance on his cousin Khatami as a source is both a valuable asset and potentially a liability so I wouldn t read this book in a vacuum All the same very well written the section on Judaism in Tehran is particularly enlightening

Hooman Majd ë 6 Free read

Troduces top level politicians and clerics as well as ordinary people even Jewish community leaders all expressing pride for their ancient heritage and fierce independence from the West In the tradition of Jon Lee Anderson’s The Fall of Baghdad The Ayatollahs’ Democracy is a powerful dispatch from a country at a historic turning point So poorly written obviously it s just a bunch of writing haphazardly thrown together as no doubt you ll find in the first chapters At the same time it brought up perspectives and brought light to the complexity of the Iranian system I definitely need to read about Iran what an interesting country and people I haven t yet found a good book on the politics of Iran so until I do I suppose I have to work my way through books like this to get the understanding I want


10 thoughts on “Ayatollah's Democracy

  1. says:

    As in his first book The Ayatollah Begs to Differ Hooman Majd's latest effort gives Westerners a valuable look int

  2. says:

    While this book moves through time according to perhaps the author's whim there is a lot here that the lay reader would no

  3. says:

    The Ayatollahs' Democracy is a good refreshingly personal yet still analytic look on Iran Hooman Majd's book draws from a number of sources including his own past as the son of an Iranian diplomat and avoids a major pitfall of political books; dullness This is partially due to the book being written as a reporter's view instead of a

  4. says:

    Perhaps in 2009 you remember cheering for the Greens hoping for global peace with the vibrant youth of Iran A deeply connected sympathetic and neutral journalist tries to document the facts which is useful for i

  5. says:

    I was excited for Majd's second book as I found his first The Ayatollah Begs To Differ incredibly insightful and informative While The Ayatollah's Democracy does offer glimpses into the Persian psyche that would otherwise be hidden from Westerns I was somewhat disappointed in this book The first half of the book is uite chaotic jump

  6. says:

    Undoubtedly an excellent study of the currents of Iranian politics as they came to a head in 2009 I'm a little skeptical of Majd's insistence that ta'arouf explains much of the misunderstanding between the Islami

  7. says:

    I read this in company with Kenneth Pollack's Persian Puzzle and Elaine Sciolino's Persian Mirrors The book gave me interesting insights into how reformist and conservative politicians navigate the tricky terrain of the Islamic Republic and how everyday people are forced to deal with the difficulties of an everchanging set of rulesThere's an informative chapter on the dealings of President Obama with Iran and another on the minority religi

  8. says:

    Not as poignant or prolific as his first book but still an interesting read on Iran's version of democracy from a very well informed and meticulously researched perspective I like that Majd has the uniue perspective of having been born in Iran raised in the US worked and lived in Iran for many years including for the form

  9. says:

    So poorly written obviously it's just a bunch of writing haphazardly thrown together as no doubt you'll find in the first chapters At the same time it brought up perspectives and brought light to the complexity of the Iranian system I definitely need to read about Iran what an interesting country and people I haven't yet found a good book on the politics of Iran so until I do I suppose I have to work my way through books like this to get

  10. says:

    Fairly interesting ruminations on the current state of Iranian politics Majd is obsessed with the alleged unpopularity of pr

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