Iran News ...


02/11/08

Ahmadinejad: The Secret History of Iran's Radical Leader by Kasra Naji

By Syma Sayyah, Tehran

 


Kasra Naji

Many of you may not know that a new book by Kasra Naji has been published.  Kasra, an old friend of ours, has worked as a journalist for major news media such as The Guardian, LA Times, The Economist, BBC, The Financial Times, CNN, ABC and many others about the Middle East and Asia.  His book is called Ahmadinejad: The Secret History of Iran's Radical Leader

 

Kasra lived in Tehran before and after Mr Ahmadinejad came to power and worked very hard on his research for the book.

 

Here is a synopsis of the book followed by comments made about the book by Professor Fred Halliday from London School of Economics, Dr. Ali Ansari from St. Andrew's University in Scotland and Richard Beeston of the Times. I shall not be surprised if you rush to your local bookshop to buy it, I think it is a fascinating read.  Happy reading!!

 

 

Synopsis

 

"When Ahmadinejad was elected President in June 2005, anxiety replaced election fever amongst many Iranians. To let off steam they told jokes. Why did the new President part his hair so straight? To segregate the male and female lice. But while the laughter died down, the anxiety never went away..."As Iran's nuclear programme accelerates, all eyes are on the blacksmith's son who could have his finger on the trigger. Who is Mahmoud Ahmadinejad? What drives him?

 


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What formed him? To whom, if anyone, does he answer? Internationally acclaimed journalist Kasra Naji, a native Persian speaker, has spent years in Iran interviewing friends, family and colleagues of the firebrand President to tell for the first time the true story of how he came to power. A picture emerges far more compelling than any of the caricatures offered up so far. While Naji documents the often strange behaviour of Ahmadinejad, with his visions of the Hidden Imam and diatribes against Israel, he also shows him to be full of contradictions: a strange and complex man, at once gripped by apocalyptic beliefs, yet capable of switching spiritual allegiance in the quest for power; a man tough enough to fight street battles in the name of Ayatollah Khomeini during the revolution, who was described by former army comrades as a "coward"; and a man crude enough to invite the German Chancellor to join him in an anti-Jewish alliance, yet sophisticated enough to win the political support of the all-powerful Revolutionary Guard. The unknown Ahmadinejad - revealed here by Naji - is much more of a force to be reckoned with than the bogeyman conjured up by Washington.  Naji takes us inside the shadowy council chambers of Tehran, and shows us the plots, passions and personalities that will influence Ahmadinejad's next move, while the world waits with baited breath.

 

 

Fred Halliday of London School of Economics: 

"An excellent biography, one that is lively and informative, and at the same time sets the President in his international and domestic contexts. In so doing, Naji provides a most informative portrait of Iran today, and of the many, conflicting, forces that are at play within it."

 

Ali Ansari of University of St Andrews:

"In this excellent biography, Kasra Naji seeks to restore some balance to the narrative of Ahmadinejad's ascent to power.  Naji comes to his subject as an Iranian who witnessed the process from within. Exaggeration from wherever it originates, be it the pen of foreign opponents seeking a mighty foe or the propagandists in the Iranian Presidential office, is swiftly laid to rest as the author lays bare Ahmadinejad's life and ideas."

 

Richard Beeston of The Times: 

"Kasra Naji, an Iranian journalist who lived in Tehran during Ahmadinejad's rise to power, has produced a valuable book that fleshes out who the President is and how he rules."

 

Internationally acclaimed journalist Kasra Naji, a native Persian speaker, has spent years in Iran interviewing friends, family and colleagues of President Ahmadinejad and now tells the real story of his rise to power.

 

In a journalistic career spanning two decades he has reported from the Middle East and Asia for CNN, the BBC, The ABC, the Financial Times, the Guardian, the Los Angeles Times and the Economist.

 

The book describes Ahmadinejad as a man of contradictions: at once gripped by apocalyptic beliefs, yet capable of switching spiritual allegiance in the quest for power.  A man tough enough to fight street battles in the name of Ayatollah Khomeini, yet described by former army comrades as a "coward".  A man crude enough to invite the German Chancellor to join him in an anti-Jewish alliance, yet sophisticated enough to win the political support of the all-powerful Revolutionary Guard.

 

Related Article:

 

TIMES Online Review of Naji's book

... Payvand News - 02/11/08 ... --



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