Class Notes

“Great themes run through Iranian history and shape it to this day.  One is the continuing and often frustrating effort to find a synthesis between Islam, which was imposed on the country by Arab conquerors, and the rich heritage of pre-Islamic times.  Another, fueled by Shiite Muslim tradition to which most Iranians now belong, is the thirst for just leadership, of which they have enjoyed precious little.  A third, also sharpened by Shiite beliefs, is a tragic view of life rooted in a sense of martyrdom and communal pain.  Finally, Iran has since time immemorial been a target of foreign invaders, victim of geography that places it astride some of the world’s most important trading routs and atop an ocean of oil, and it has struggled to find a way to live with powerful outsiders.”

Stephen Kinzer, All The Shah’s Men

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