An insider's view of one of the events that shaped the modern world.
The Iranian Revolution of 1979 was a turning-point in modern history. The destruction of the Iranian monarchy not only upset the political order in the Middle East and brought on a quarter-century of warfare, but introduced a new way to look at history.
In Days of God James Buchan lives each moment of the revolution through the eyes of ordinary people as he tries to answer his own troubling question: why did his friends, with their peculiar Iranian dreaminess and charm, act the way they did
James Buchan trains a more scientific eye on how Iran's wealth-creator king was replaced with a Shia divine uninterested in modern government. He mines the literature in Persian and English to better effect than any historian so far . . . Why did the shah's subjects not accept his notion of history racing to a conclusion in prosperity's glow? In this fine, elegantly written book, Mr Buchan lays out the answer in detail - The Economist
Marvellous book. It is hard to imagine anyone else possessing the combination of qualities Buchan brings. He has the journalist's analytical eye and the novelist's imagination . . . He can segue between the theology of Qom and the gossip of the Shah's improvised, petrodollar-funded Versailles, swooping all the while onto details either grim or hilarious or both at once that leave the reader scratching his head and wondering how the author can know so much . . . It is written with the ancient historian's ambition - the ambition that Gibbon, Macaulay and Marx would recognise - that the record of humanity's blunders and bloodbaths and half-understandings should itself be an object of elegance and ironic beauty - Francis Spufford, Evening Standard
Buchan's prose is excellent, with the vocabulary, range and atmosphere of a literary master, the clout of the sharp historian, and the ability to leaven history with fascinating snippets of intimate information, delightful, droll or horrifying. His research is thorough . . . This is a compelling, beautifully written history of a country which has produced great literature, art and a warm people whose lives have been manipulated by other countries with ulterior motives and by their own autocratic and theocratic dictators - Independent
This book comes alive with a wonderfully detailed and authoritative account of the Shah's final days and the murder and mayhem that followed - The Spectator
Sharply written and persuasive . . . Days of God offers a number of valuable, if frightening insights - Scotsman
Buchan enlists all his narrative skill, learning and panache in this story of modern Iran - i
Praise for James Buchan:
'James Buchan writes like a dream' - The Times
A succinct elegant book, written in an easy, conversational tone which never makes its big ideas or profound implications seem intimidating - Sunday Telegraph
James Buchan first visited Iran nearly forty years ago. A student of Persian and Arabic, he was for many years a correspondent of the Financial Times in the Middle East, and later in central Europe and the US. He has written more than a dozen works of fiction and history including a portrait of Edinburgh in the eighteenth century (Capital of the Mind), a biography of the Scottish philosopher Adam Smith (Adam Smith and the Pursuit of Perfect Liberty) and a philosophy of money (Frozen Desire). His most recent book is Days of God: The Revolution in Iran and its Consequences. He works a small farm in Norfolk.