Cover: The Quest for Democracy in Iran: A Century of Struggle against Authoritarian Rule, from Harvard University PressCover: The Quest for Democracy in Iran in PAPERBACK

The Quest for Democracy in Iran

A Century of Struggle against Authoritarian Rule

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Product Details


$24.50 • £19.95 • €22.00

ISBN 9780674057067

Publication Date: 09/30/2010


512 pages

6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

20 halftones


For Azimi, all Iranian history after 1905 is an attempt to fulfill, partially accommodate or circumvent the ideals of a constitutional movement that placed popular representation at the fore of its priorities. He traces how at various moments public alienation and resentment have been articulated or expressed and finally, how ‘a culture of confrontation’ emerged. His book goes a long way toward recuperating a history of Iranian democracy that has been expunged by Orientalists who wonder aloud if there is something about Muslim lands that makes them inhospitable to democracy or, alternatively, those who have dismissed periods of hectic parliamentary activity as mere chaos.—Negar Azimi, The Nation

Fakhreddin Azimi’s The Quest for Democracy in Iran is particularly strong on retrieving the importance of the Constitutional Revolution and threading it through to the Islamic Republic’s current dialectic between republicanism and theocracy.—David Gardner, Financial Times

The sophistication of [Azimi’s] concepts of democracy and authoritarianism, his command of the sources, and his intellectual clarity and energy have combined to produce an insightful book that will draw the attention of all interested in Iranian culture and history.—L. J. Alderink, Choice

The Quest for Democracy in Iran is a book of immense erudition, yet it is also a work of passion and sympathy for the Iranian people. A rigorous and fair-minded assessment of the Pahlavi dynasty and the revolution under Khomeni, it will command the attention of the general public as well as scholars.—William Roger Louis, The University of Texas at Austin

Twentieth-century Iranian history provides wonderful examples of recurring themes of revolution, authoritarian rule, and the attempt to create democratic institutions. In this landmark book, Fakhreddin Azimi illuminates a subject of the greatest importance to Iran, the Middle East, and, indeed, the rest of the world. Elegantly written and deeply informative, The Quest for Democracy in Iran is a must read.—Roger Owen, Harvard University

Azimi’s impressive book offers a penetrating analysis of what sustained authoritarian rule in Iran over the last one hundred years and how the aspirations and quest for social justice, the rule of law, and freedom have remained both frustrated and resilient. He shows that the key hopes and agendas associated with the 1906 Constitutional Revolution remain as salient as ever.—Ehsan Yarshater, Columbia University

Awards & Accolades

  • 2010 Mossadegh Prize, Mossadegh Foundation
  • 2008–2009 Saidi-Sirjani Award, International Society for Iranian Studies
  • Finalist, 2009 Connecticut Book Award, Non-Fiction Category, Connecticut Center for the Book
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