In This Review

Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran
Mohammad Mosaddeq and the 1953 Coup in Iran
Edited by Mark J. Gasiorowski and Malcolm Byrne
Syracuse University Press, 2004, 408 pp

More books should have such a pedigree. This study grew out of an international conference held in Tehran in June 2000 and a follow-up meeting at Oxford two years later. The results are impressive: seven polished studies that speak to each other. The first three treat the topic as it is seen from within Iran; the first concentrates on Mosaddeq and his government, the second on various domestic forces in play, and the third on the Tudeh Party. The next three chapters treat the British role, the international oil boycott, U.S. policy toward Iran (set in its Cold War context), and, finally, a detailed reconstruction of U.S. involvement in the days leading up to the coup in August 1953. There are no surprises here, but the book does provide a richly detailed and tightly reasoned setting out of what might be dubbed the emerging scholarly synthesis: the British started it, but the United States took it over; Cold War concerns about "losing" Iran were a greater factor than was oil nationalization; and Mosaddeq faced growing domestic opposition and made important tactical mistakes in his final days-but he was toppled only because of outside intervention.