To the point
A brief history of the Qajars
By Fathali Qahremani Qajar
June 4, 1999
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 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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Fathali Qahremani Qajar