Muhammad Mossadegh and a Very British Coup

320pp ILLUS 2012 OUT OF PRINT B780



On 19 August 1953 the British and American intelligence agencies launched a successful coup against a cussed, bedridden 72-year-old. His name was Muhammad Mossadegh and his crimes had been to flirt with communism and nationalise his country's oil industry, which had been in British hands for forty years. To Winston Churchill, the Iranian prime minister was a lunatic, determined to humiliate Britain; to President Dwight Eisenhower, he was delivering Iran to the Soviets. Mossadegh was imprisoned for three years, put under house arrest until his death and was buried in his own home so as to prevent a political furor. Drawing on sources in Tehran and the West, de Bellaigue paints a very different picture. He reveals a remarkable patriot who not only embodied his nation's struggle for freedom but is also one of the great eccentrics of modern times.

De Bellaigue is an outstanding journalist and you can tell why. HISTORY TODAY