In This Review

The Iranian Revolution: Thanatos On A National Scale
The Iranian Revolution: Thanatos On A National Scale
By Gholam R. Afkhami
Middle East Institute, 1985, 258 pp

Why and how the shah's rule collapsed has been explored by various authors, Iranians and outsiders, but many questions remain. Afkhami, who was an Iranian government official and political scientist before the revolution, has some strong and well-conceived ideas of his own: in the main, he finds that the shah failed because the political structure had not adapted to the economic and social change of the past 30 years; Khomeini, with a well-timed strategy and helped by the negligence of others, was there to pick up the pieces. Afkhami analyzes the roles of the shah, the military, the middle class, the clergy, the United States and other elements in the events leading up to the revolution. As for the Khomeini regime, which is covered summarily but decisively, the author equates it with "total destruction" and finds it wholly alien to the reality of contemporary Iran.