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 piece of history, a cautionary tale, and a real-life espionage thriller.
The newest edition of the bestseller chosen as one of the best books of the year by the Washington Post and the Economist begins with a powerful new essay that warns against an American attack on Iran. As the drumbeat of threats against Iran intensifies in Washington, Kinzer argues that they are based on fantasies that are as dangerous as they are delusional. Any attack, he warns, would usher in another era of upheaval in Iran and the surrounding region, this time with the overlay of nuclear-tinged terror. There is more fertile ground for democratic change in Iran than in almost any other Muslim country, and Kinzer presents an alternate strategy for dealing with the burgeoning crisis there. “As militants in Washington urge a second American attack on Iran, the story of the first one becomes more urgently relevant than ever,” Kinzer writes in his new essay. “It shows the folly of using violence to try to reshape Iran.”