The Turban for the Crown: The Islamic Revolution in Iran
The Iranian revolution still baffles most Western observers. Few considered the rise of theocracy in a modernized state possible, and even fewer ... Show synopsis The Iranian revolution still baffles most Western observers. Few considered the rise of theocracy in a modernized state possible, and even fewer thought it might result from a popular revolution. Moreover, the Shah's well-equipped army was still intact when he fled, oil-rich Iran faced no financial crisis, and the peasantry had no part in the rebellion. In The Turban for the Crown, Said Amir Arjomand provides a thoughtful and painstakingly researched account that makes the turmoil in Iran intelligible to the general reader and that explains the import of this singular event for our understanding of revolutions. To provide crucial historical background, Arjomand traces the history of Shi'ism in Iran, ranging from its establishment as the state religion in 1501 to the ascendency of Reza Shah and the threat his creation of a modern state bureaucracy posed to Shi'ite institutions. He then describes how, when the state built by Reza Shah began to crumble, the millenarianism inherent in Shi'ism, combined with Khomeini's charismatic leadership, facilitated the emergence of Khomeini as a messianic anti-monarch...how the Shah's indecisiveness neutralized the Army and allowed the revolution to gain momentum...how the massive infusion of petrodollars into the economy--and the blatant political corruption that resulted--turned the urban middle-class against the Shah...and how Khomeini disposed of Bakhtiar, Bani-Sadr, and Bazargan, consolidated clerical rule, and established a constitution based completely on a new interpretation of Islamic principles. Unmatched in originality, historical depth, and accuracy, The Turban for the Crown is filled with insight into the Iranian revolution, the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East, and their implications for American foreign policy.