The Reign of the Ayatollahs; The Government of God: Iran's Islamic Republic; The State and Revolution in Iran

In This Review

The Reign of the Ayatollahs

By Shaul Bakhash
Basic Books, 1984
276 pp. $18.95

The Government of God: Iran's Islamic Republic

By Cheryl Benard and Zalmay Khalilzad
Columbia University Press, 1984
240 pp. $25.00

The State and Revolution in Iran

By Hossein Bashiriyeh
St. Martin's, 1984
203 pp. $27.50

Five years have now provided additional perspective on the Iranian revolution and the nature of Khomeini's Islamic Republic. Bakhash's book is a detailed account of what happened in those years, and especially of the personal and political conflicts in which the clerical fundamentalists defeated all their rivals. In "The Government of God", two political scientists begin by addressing their professional colleagues in the language of the trade, testing theories of development, modernization and revolution as they do or do not seem to apply to the reality of Iran; by the time they have finished, however, they have told us a great deal about the internal problems of the regime and its relations with the outside world. Bashiriyeh's study is concerned above all with how Iran's experience fits classical theories and patterns of revolution and class struggle: he finds the new regime, with its authoritarianism and mass mobilization, a continuation of existing indigenous nationalism re-expressed in terms of Islam. All three books make ample use of Iranian sources.

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