The Iranian Revolution, like all political upheavals, will be the subject of endless analysis, but this single book will always stand out as a unique blend of scholarship and insight. By focusing on the education of an Iranian cleric, Ali Hashemi (a pseudonym), Mottahedeh reviews the many strands that went into the revolution -- Shiism, to be sure, but also traditions derived from Iran's rich history. It should be read along with Nikki R. Keddie's excellent Roots of Revolution (1990) and Ervand Abrahamian's Iran Between Two Revolutions (1982). But its special angle is not found elsewhere, and provides a remarkable, nuanced introduction to contemporary Iran through the life of one of its intellectual figures.
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