In This Review

Reinventing Khomeini: The Struggle for Reform in Iran
Reinventing Khomeini: The Struggle for Reform in Iran
By Daniel Brumberg
University of Chicago Press, 2001, 306 pp.

Ever since Max Weber introduced the theory of the charismatic revolutionary leader whose appeal must at some point be "routinized" by new rules, scholars have sought to explain how revolutions wind down. Here Bromberg makes three points regarding Iran. First, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's political strategy was more nuanced -- even at times more contradictory -- than scholars often realize. Second, all major political contenders in Iran claim to be true to Khomeini's message. Third, their differences have been institutionalized and epitomized in today's awkward cohabitation between President Mohammad Khatami and Khomeini's official successor, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameinei. The resulting "dissonant" institutionalization is likely to continue. Reinventing Khomeini, awash with the argot of sociological theory and many Iranian names and terms, is not an easy read; a chronology, a glossary, and short biographical sketches would have helped. Yet it provides a useful road map to Iran's ongoing "routinization of the charisma."