On August 19, 1953, the American and British intelligence agencies launched a desperate coup in Iran against Muhammad Mossadegh, a bedridden seventy-two-year-old man. His crimes had been to flirt with communism and to nationalize his countrys oil industry, which for forty years had been in British hands. But the countries that overthrew Mossadegh would, in time, deeply regret siding with his great foe, Shah Muhammad-Reza Pahlavi. Mossadegh was one of the first liberals of the Middle East, a man who wanted friendship with the West--but not slavish dependence.
Who was this political guerrilla of noble blood, so adored in the Middle East and so reviled in the West? Schooled in Europe and pitted against dictatorship at home, Mossadegh had become the nations conscience by the time of the Shahs ascension. Written by our foremost observer of Iran, Patriot of Persia reveals a man who embodied his nations struggle for freedom and whose life serves as a warning to the White House and Downing Street as they commit to further intervention in a volatile and unpredictable region.