In This Review

Days of God: The Revolution in Iran and Its Consequences
Days of God: The Revolution in Iran and Its Consequences
By James Buchan
Simon & Schuster, 2013, 432 pp.
Revolutionary Iran
Revolutionary Iran
By Michael Axworthy
Allen Lane, 2013, 0 pp.

There is something irresistible about the story of Iran’s last shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. The pampered, foreign-educated son of a dour autocrat, Mohammad Reza ascended to the Peacock Throne in 1941, at age 21. He was weak and malleable, surrounded by sycophants and schemers, beholden to foreign powers that treated him with contempt. Nearly unseated by his popular prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq, in 1953, the shah retained his throne with American and clerical connivance. That crucible hardened him into something both brittle and shrewd. He fancied himself a nationalist beloved by his people, but in truth he scarcely knew them; he grew

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  • LAURA SECOR is a journalist who has reported from Iran for The New Yorker and The New York Times Magazine.
  • More By Laura Secor