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To the point
A brief history of the Qajars

By Fathali Qahremani Qajar
June 4, 1999
The Iranian

Qajar Iran and the Rise of Reza Khan 1796-1925
By Nikkie R. Keddie
Mazda Publishers, 1999

This is a short history of the Iran prior to the advent of the Pahlavis that gives an over view of the cultural and political environment of the Qajar period.

Qajar Iran is primarily about the Qajars and has very little background on Reza Khan or his actual rise but it discusses the political environment that allowed him to take over the reins of power.

The one area that the book treats very lightly is the economic conditions of Qajar Iran, specifically in the second half of Nasserdin Shah's reign. This is critical in determining the ability of that government to withstand the European onslaught.

The book fails to cover the influence of Western economics on early 20th century Iran. The ability of the English government to buy and bribe government officials is briefly mentioned but the economics that allowed this to happen is not as fully addressed.

Furthermore, nothing is mentioned of the surrogate of the British empire in Iran, i.e., the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC). In fact, AIOC was in a position to make major payoffs and carry out the Britain's policies without directly involving the British government. A brief chapter on this matter would have enhanced the value of this book.

Nevertheless Qajar Iran is a must read for anyone interested in contemporary Iranian history. It is short, to the point, and above all extremely well written.

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