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Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  83 ratings  ·  20 reviews
On August 19, 1953, the American and British intelligence agencies launched a desperate coup in Iran against a cussed, bedridden seventy-two-year-old man. His name was Muhammad Mossadegh, and his crimes had been to flirt with communism and to nationalize his country's oil industry, which for forty years had been in British hands. To Winston Churchill, the Iranian prime min ...more
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published May 15th 2012 by Harper (first published February 1st 2012)
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Behzad
On August 19, 1953, invading soldiers destroyed a neighborhood in Tehran. The soldiers were Iranian, their target the prime minister’s home. As recounted in Christopher de Bellaigue’s recent book, Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup, that day was filled with bizarre events. To pick one example that gives a jolt to the contemporary American reader, the New York Times correspondent in Tehran, Kenneth Love, later boasted about his own involvement in coup. Love cla ...more
Adam Morris
I bought this book because I knew the basic story line of a popular elected Prime Minister chased out of office and a despised Shah propped up by US and British operatives but wished to learn more. Since the writer's credentials seemed impressive I was looking forward to a scholarly and well researched work. Although there is much to learn from this book about the situation in Persia/Iran at the beginning on the twentieth century and about the life of Muhammad Mossadegh there is an overwhelming ...more
Pamela Wetherill
If you enjoy discovering how the seeds of today's problems were planted in our past actions, this is an excellent read. It illustrates quite graphically the unintended consequences of "fixing" problems abroad.
Simon Zohhadi


An excellent biography of the extraordinary politician and human-being, Dr Muhammad Mossadegh. He was truly a great Iranian patriot. Being English-Iranian, I am embarrassed by Britain's "colonial" role in Iran at that time and its exploitation of Iranian oil. I have to side 100% with Mossadegh on this matter and his distrust of the British at that time was understandable. British officials of the period come across as extremely pompous and out of touch, not only with a changing world but also a
...more
Jonathan Noe
It's a great work of history but it cannot help but to provide context and insight on current relations between Iran and the United States (or lack thereof). While Shia Islam has always played a role in Iranian society, Mohammad Mosaddegh's early 1950's Iran was profoundly secular. Christopher de Bellaigue is not without reason to predict that Iran would have kept moving toward democracy and away from the West-backed autocracy of the Shah had the 1953 Coup not taken place. Women's rights (includ ...more
Nicholas
I enjoyed this book very much. It is very well written and on the whole easy to read. Fortunately the author is concerned to maintain a coherent narrative that is accessible to the general educated reader, without drowning the reader in details that books of this kind often do. It's also the ideal length too.
I agree with the author's interpretation of events too, and although clearly an admirer of Mossadegh this is no hagiography. No doubt the author's background in both the UK and Iran greatly
...more
J
6/10 This biography is sympathetic to Mossadegh, but it does point out some of his failings and quirks. This is the second book I've read surrounding the Iran coup of 1953, and I don't know if I know much more about the coup. So much has been lost to the mists of time and bended by word of mouth. This book has lots and lots of names of people that don't seem important enough to mention, but they were related to Mossadegh somehow so they get mentioned. This covers the politics of Iran, but it's m ...more
Kurishin
I would not recommend this volume as a conduit to learning more about the coup and the reasons for that led to the Shah's return. There is too much space allotted to Mossadegh's rather uninteresting life and other politics that are not necessarily related to the event that defined Mossadegh's life. Also, we have no idea what would've become of Iran had Mossadegh remained in power no matter what we know of his character and past. Speculation is pointless. As usual, the biographer becomes infatuat ...more
Musashi
An excellent book for a reader's first foray into modern Iranian history. Mossadegh was Iran's best chance to become a westernized republic but ironically it was the United States that prevented its blossoming by supporting the Shah's authoritarian regime. By ousting Iran's greatest republican leader the United States paved the way for the explosive Islamic Revolution of 1979.
Urmila
A really fascinating book that captures a critical moment in Iran's history that's essential to understand what came afterwards for that country in the 20th century. It's truly affecting to learn how close one statesman came to shaping a true constitutional democracy. Most of what you see about Iran in the news is completely western-centric - this book gives good insight into the internal forces and viewpoints that have shaped the country's history.
Lawrence Mulkerin
The book reveals the imperfect man that America demonized or dismissed. It helps the reader to understand a hypochondriacal zealot. Iran loved him and we stood with on the side of a tyrant to protect British oil interests. I served there as a Green Beret and came to know a physician who was imprisoned because he supported Mossadegh. The book helps explain a American great mistake, an embarrassment, and moral weakness.
Mshelton50
An informative read. Muhammed Mossadegh was an ardent Iranian nationalist who captured the spirit of his times, and the United States made a grievous error launching the CIA-backed coup that toppled him from power in 1953. The more I read, the more I think the Eisenhower administration's foreign policy was a disaster.
Javier Bonafont
OK, I couldnt finish this book. Despite being interested in the topic, this is a very un-engaging biography that bogs down in gossip and offers little insight or explanation for things that happen, nor is even particularly clear when describing what IS happening. I just gave up, having gained nothing from this at all.
Osama Abusitta
Well written book about events that took place in Iran over half a century ago. It is relevant now because the same sort of intervention by UK and US to prevent real democracy from forming in the Middle East still persists. Perhaps we will read about what is really happening now in about half a century.
Gavin
If you want or need to know about Iran and its mixed relationship to the West (specifically the U.K., the Soviet Union, and the U.S.) this book explains it through the long life and political career of Muhammed Mossadegh.
Barbara
Well researched,history with a personal touch of the books subject,which makes it entertaining as well as educational.It reads like a crimi and makes you want to read more about this tragic time of Iran
Martin
This book explains why everyone in Iran knows the name Mossadegh but few in America would recognize his name. The Anglo-American coup was tragic indeed -- for everyone. Full review to come.
Reneduterroil
This is a great "companion" to Stephen Kinzer's "All the Shah's Men". I purchased the book after hearing a podcasted talk of De Bellaigue on the subject. Highly recommended!
Babak Fakhamzadeh
Superb biography on Mossadegh.
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