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All the Shah's Men: An American Coup & the Roots of Middle East Terror

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  3,748 ratings  ·  457 reviews
This is the first full-length account of the CIA's coup d'etat in Iran in 1953-a covert operation whose consequences are still with us today. Written by a noted New York Times journalist, this book is based on documents about the coup (including some lengthy internal CIA reports) that have now been declassified. Stephen Kinzer's compelling narrative is at once a vital piec ...more
ebook, 272 pages
Published June 1st 2011 by Wiley, John & Sons, Inc. (first published 2003)
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I just re-read this book in preparation for a book club. This book is the tragic story of a CIA operation that removed one of the only democratically elected leaders in the Middle-East. Mossadegh came into power and angered the British by nationalizing Iranian Oil and the British were determined to oust him from office. After Truman (who opposed a coup) left office and Eisenhower came to office, the Americans also signed on and actually conducted the coup. This story is so tragic (especially if ...more
Erik Graff
May 14, 2013 Erik Graff rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Americans
Recommended to Erik by: Einar Graff
Shelves: history
Although over ninety, Dad is unusually active. He is a docent at the Dundee Historical Society and, thanks to the influence of his Danish wife, Lene, takes courses as a non-degree-seeking student at the Roosevelt University campus out in dreary Schaumburg, Illinois. He tends towards history and political science, having said at one time that he enjoys ganging up with the liberal teachers against his mostly right-wing, fellow suburban students. (Dad always was a pinkish Democrat.) This book was r ...more
Steve Kettmann
My S.F. Chronicle review from 2003:

Nearly two years after the shock of Sept. 11, 2001, it's fair to start poking through the legacy of U.S. foreign policy and raise troubling questions about the extent to which our own past misdeeds ultimately boomeranged on us. Few readers of "All the Shah's Men," by longtime New York Times foreign correspondent Stephen Kinzer, can come away without grave suspicions that Sept.
11 was in many ways a self-inflicted wound.

What American crime could explain so sens
Ronald Schoedel
An alternate title of this book could be "United States: Strangler of Infant Democracies". It is pretty well known among scholars and international relations experts that anti-American Mideast terrorism has its roots in the US coup that overthrew Iran's first-ever democratically elected prime minister in 1953. This book explains the history of Iran, its governments, its oppression at the hands of colonialists, its exploitation by the British oil industry, and how Britain talked the United States ...more
"All the Shah's Men" serves as the second book I have read by Stephen Kinzer, and it was full of intrigue, micro-histories, and biographies that left me with the desire to research and read more about the Middle East as well as additional books by this author.

It is not unusual for history books to discuss timelines and people; but, what I appreciated most in this text was Kinzer's differing approach to historical data. He was generous with details about a significant array of people that were in
Exhaustive account of the 1953 coup that deposed nationalist Iranian Mohammad Mosaddeq, who was anti-British but mildly pro-American, in order to install the oppressive regime more directly controlled by Shah Reza Mohammed Pahlavi, whom this book portrays as about the most gutless dictator ever born. A direct path is drawn between the pro-American attitude of the Iranian people, and Mosaddeq in particular, before the British were expelled for what Mosaddeq called "meddling" in Iranian politics b ...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
All the Shah's Men, Stephen Kinzer
عنوان: همه مردان شاه (کودتای 28 مرداد و ریشه های ترور در خاورمیانه)؛ نویسنده: استیون کینسر (کینزر)؛ مترجم: حسن بلیغ؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، دانشگران محمود، 1382، در 364 ص، مصور، شابک: 9647992033؛ کتابنامه دارد، موضوع: سیاست و حکومت، ایران، ایالات متحده، خاور میانه

عنوان: همه مردان شاه؛ نویسنده: استیون کینسر (کینزر)؛ مترجم: شهریار خواجیان؛ مشخصات نشر: تهران، اختران، 1382، در 367 ص، مصور، شابک: 9789647514422؛ کتابنامه دارد، موضوع: سیاست و حکومت، ایران، ایالات متحده، خا
In 1953, the CIA, aided by the British, engineered a coup to overthrow the secular, democratically elected government of Mohammed Mossadegh in Iran, as Mossadegh had committed the "crime" of nationalizing the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (now British Petroleum). Before then, Americans had been regarded favorably in Iran and much of the Middle East, and veteran journalist Kinzer makes a strong case that this coup led directly to the hatred and distrust of the U.S. in this part of the world, various ...more
A must-read for anyone who wants to be able to put current events into perspective (4.5 stars)

All the Shah's Men: An American Coup and the Roots of Middle East Terror was a terrific book - a detailed and well-balanced historical non-fiction that at times reads like a spy thriller and throughout made me unbelievably angry and sad. Stephen Kinzer does a wonderful job of taking you behind the scenes of Mossadegh's overthrow and includes information from all the key players. He provides an enlighten
Jack D. Riner
**Spoiler Alert**

This is going to shock a lot of people. Several years ago there was a Republican administration that completely failed to understand a foreign nation and its people. However, they didn't let such a small detail stop them from inducing a regime change favorable to Western big business interests at that moment.

While the need for immediate gratification was fulfilled, the Eisenhower Administration stole Iran’s future away from its people and planted the seeds of Islamic fundamenta
Anyone interested in U.S.-Iran relations or the 1953 Coup d'etat in Iran will find "All the Shah's Men" to be an interesting read. Kinzer's language is quite simple, and I can see how this might frustrate more intellectual readers. However, for a student or young person interested in learning more about the history of the coup, Kinzer's simple language is an asset; his book is probably the easiest way to quickly learn about the coup.

The reader should bear in mind that even sixty years after t
An absolutely fascinating story, and one that I really enjoyed reading about, but something about the writing style bugged me throughout this book.

It was sometimes as though Kinzer was trying to ratchet up the drama of the story by dramatic story-telling and colourful description. Maybe he was worried of having it read like a dry fact-stuffed historical account, but I don't think he needed too. It's the CIA manipulating an entire country to engineer the downfall of a highly popular prime minist
I wish more people read books like this. I think it is important for every citizen of the US to understand why people from other countries feel the way they do about us, particulary in the Middle East. I think most Americans are simply unaware of what our government does under the broad and vague umbrella of what is deemed "classified" information. As we are supposed to be a government "of the people" and our government therefore, in effect, represents us and our interests, I think Americans sho ...more
Ahmad Hafez
الكتاب حلو جدا
بيقدم برنامج أمريكا في صناعة واحتواء الثورات
وبيحصل في مصر حاجات مشابهة
مصدق شبه عصام شرف شبه محمد مرسي
المجلس العسكري شبه الشاه الإيراني أو اللواء زاهدي

المظاهرات الفئوية اللي بتظهر لعصام شرف ومرسي وما ظهرتش للجنزوري شبه المظاهرات التي أطاحت بمصدق

أيضا أمريكا استخدمت الصحافة لتشويه مصدق مع نشر صورته على واجهة أشهر المجلات والإشادة به
ونفس الكلام بيتكرر مع مرسي !

عامة الإطاحة بمصدق أعادت الشاه لفترة لكن ساعدت الجماعات الإسلامية المتشددة في السيطرة على الحكم
واستبعدت الوسطي الليبرالي مصدق

Wes F
Thoroughly enjoyed reading this historical look at the events leading up to and surrounding the coup/overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh's Iranian government in 1953, engineered by the CIA. The book does an excellent job, I think, of showing how the British Iranian Oil Company--precursor to British Petroleum (BP)--was intricately involved & heavily responsible for the events that finally transpired in the coup d'etat on Aug 19, 1953. The unending pressure from the British, in response to Mossade ...more
One of those events in out history which should have been much different.
I can not say I enjoyed reading this book because of the things that happened in that era of Russia phobia. We are still paying for the misdeeds of our leadership of that time, well meant or not. Another fine kettle of fish the English drug us into that caused us dearly over the years since 1953. Small wonder I have no love for G.B.
Shirin Abdel Rahman
يقول لنا التاريخ ان الملك فاروق عندما علم ان عامه المصريين لا يريدونه حاكما للبلاد فانه وقع على وثيقه التنازل عن العرش في هدوء تام ثم نراه يخطو نحو الباخره المحروسه في خطوات ثابته متجها الى منفاه إيطاليا ليموت هناك كمدا!


الا ان التاريخ أيضا يروى لنا ان في بداية الخمسينات تلك الفترة التي انتشرت فيها حركات الاستقلال كانت ايران تموج برياح الغضب و يتزعم تلك الحركة رجلا يعرف باسم محمد مصدق(زى الشارع اللى في الدقي)
الا ان محمد رضا بهلوي قرر ان يأخذ مسار مخالف لصهره الملك فاروق ( محمد بهلوي كان متزوج من
I didn't know anything about these events before reading this book. This tells a frustrating and saddening story about the roots of Iran's resentment of the United States--the CIA-led coup to overthrow Mossadegh, a popular (I won't say democratically elected) prime minister of Iran. It was a very compelling read from start to finish--it's getting a star knocked off only because I didn't feel like there was sufficient detail about some things that I would have liked to have heard more about to un ...more
I think it's a shame that most Americans remain ignorant of the role our government played in overthrowing Iran's moderate, liberal and secular government in the 1950s, led by Mohammed Mossadegh. This book does its part to fill that gap. However, contrary to many others who reviewed this book on Goodreads, I didn't come away with a conclusion in my mind that the United States perpetrated a manifest injustice on the people of Iran. This was not an indictment of US foreign policy, as some others h ...more
Regina Lindsey
All the Shah's Men by Stephen Kinzer
5 Stars and a heart

In 1979, Iranian students stormed the American Embassy and held fifty-two Americans hostage for 444 days. Americans were shocked because, in their minds, the U.S. and Iranians still held the mutual affinity shared pre-1953. Prior to 1953, “Americans were regarded with nearly universal admiration and affection.” Iranians saw Americans as allies, supporters of their fragile democracy, and remembered martyrs such as Howard Baskerville, the “Ame
John Hood
Bound: Iran So Far Away

Stephen Kinzer Chronicles the Coup That Could Come Again

John Hood
Miami SunPost 2/18/08

It those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it, what about those who’ve made history and not learned from their mistakes? Are they equally doomed? When it comes to the United States and Iran, well, that just may be the case.

Of course, we’d have to assume our current administration is aware of its history; then we’d have to hope against hope that it knows history is still in its h
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
This book is historical nonfiction at its finest. All the Shah’s Men chronicles the American-organized coup of Iran in 1953 and events that led up to it. It goes over the history of both Britain and the United States in Iran and profiles one of Iran’s – indeed, one of the world’s – most fascinating and admirable leaders, Mohammad Mossadegh.

I knew that I would like the book because the topic itself is timely and interesting. I was pleasantly surprised to find it was also so well written. Kinzer
It is my understanding that this book is quite controversial. I can't say I really understand why. The CIA has admitted involvement in the coup and took it as a blue print for foreign policy during the following 50 years. Needless to say, perhaps you can disagree with the estimated consequence of the overthrow of Mossadegh in Middle East relations, but you can't really deny the act itself.

I could probably digress on the dangers of empire, the risks of meddling in what you don't understand and th
Over a couple of drinks at my firm retreat this year, a partner who used to be the director of a large federal agency and I got to talking about spies and spy books. "Come on, you MUST have rubbed elbows with the intelligence folks," I prodded. Alas, all he'd tell me was that yes, he'd participated in CIA briefings and the like, but that stuff is still classified anyway so he wasn't going to give me any more, well, 'intel.'

"You should read All the Shah's Men, though," he said. "That's some real
Farsheed Ferdowsi
Growing up in Iran, I always heard whispers about Mossadegh and how the CIA orchestrated a coup against him. I didn't understand how or why. I often dismissed the rumors thinking it was another manifestation of Iranian xenophobia and love of conspiracies. Until I read Kinzer's book, All the Shah's Men. He masterfully details the tumultuous events of the post-war Persia and the role it played in the petro-politics of the world. And how the CIA, indeed overthrew Mossadegh. The fascinating detail, ...more
A prime introduction to the works of Stephen Kinzer. This book is a wonderful example of learning the good and the bad of one's country's history. I don't see how one can have a frank discussion about the merits or lack thereof of the CIA without discussing their role in the 1950 coup of Mossadegh -- one of the brightest leaders in Iranian history (according to Kinzer), changing the political landscape for generations and putting into place the perfect environment into which the Ayatollah would ...more
Amr Fahmy
منعني من وضع النجمة الخامسة أمران: الأول هو المبالغة في الاحتفاء بمصدق لدرجة تشبه التقديس، هو شخصية عظيمة بلا شك والمؤلف اعترف بخطأه ربما ولكنه كان مبالغا جدا عند الحديث عنه، أما الأمر الآخر فهو أن العنوان مضلل.. فالقضية ليست أتباع الشاه بل أتباع كيرمت روزفلت فيما يبدو والشاه كان أحدهم.. ربما كان الحلقة الأضعف خلال الانقلاب وليس بعد ذلك.. وبما أن الانقلاب هو موضع حديث الكتاب فكان الأجدر اختيار عنوان آخر.
Narrated by Michael Prichard

10 hrs and 24 mins

Half a century ago, the United States overthrew the democratically elected prime minister of Iran, Mohammad Mossadegh, whose "crime" was nationalizing the country's oil industry.

In a cloak-and-dagger story of spies, saboteurs, and secret agents, Kinzer reveals the involvement of Eisenhower, Churchill, Kermit Roosevelt, and the CIA in Operation Ajax, which restored Mohammad Reza Shah to power. Reza imposed a tyranny that ultimately sparked the Islamic
All the Shah's Men is an interesting play-by-play account of the 1953 CIA-sponsored coup d'etat in Iran. While not bringing any new information to the fold, Kinzer is able to organize all available knowledge into a swift and informative read. He has a successful balanced approach to writing non-fiction by mixing historical account with political analysis.

The story and its characters are extremely interesting yet I do believe a bit more information on Mosaddegh's up-bringing would have made this
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Stephen Kinzer is an award-winning foreign correspondent who has covered more than 50 countries on five continents. His articles and books have led the Washington Post to place him "among the best in popular foreign policy storytelling." (source)
More about Stephen Kinzer...
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“the thirteenth-century mystic Jelaluddin Rumi, reject orthodoxy of any kind: I hold to no religion or creed, am neither Eastern nor Western, Muslim or infidel, Zoroastrian, Christian, Jew or Gentile. I come from neither land nor sea, am not related to those above or below, was not born nearby or far away, do not live either in Paradise or on this Earth, claim descent not from Adam and Eve or the Angels above. I transcend body and soul. My home is beyond place and name. It is with the beloved, in a space beyond space.” 0 likes
“Acheson immediately understood the urgency of this message. He summoned Ambassador Franks and told him that the United States resolutely opposed “the use of force or the threat of the use of force” against Iran, and that Truman himself had “stressed most strongly that no situation should be allowed to develop into an armed conflict between a body of British troops and the Persian forces.” 0 likes
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