In this remarkably human portrait of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the last Emperor of Iran, Andrew Scott Cooper examines the life of an infamously complex personality in a bold new light. The recent wave of instability in the Middle East has led Iranians and scholars to reassess the legacy of the Shah-widely denounced as a brutal, corrupt dictator-who championed Western-style reforms and launched Iran onto the world stage as a modern and powerful state.
The Fall of Heaven was written with exclusive access to royalists and revolutionaries-most notably the Shah's widow Empress Farah, other members of the Pahlavi family, and the men who deposed them: Iran's first elected president Abolhassan Banisadr, along with other religious and political figures active in the revolutionary underground. These testimonials are set alongside first-person remembrances of White House officials, along with American diplomats and civilians in Tehran.
Cooper takes readers from the Shah's lavish palace in Tehran to the dusty streets of Najaf, where Ayatollah Khomeini lived in exile, and from the Imperial Family's summer retreat on the Caspian Sea to the back alleys of Beirut, where Islamist revolutionaries plotted the regime's overthrow. Both epic and intimate, The Fall of Heaven re-creates the dramatic final days of a legendary ruling family, the deposition of which started the militant unrest that still affects the Middle East today.
Andrew Scott Cooper is the author of The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East, and an adjunct assistant professor at Columbia University. He is a regular commentator on US-Iran relations and the oil markets, and his research has appeared in many news outlets including The New York Times and The Guardian. He holds a PhD in the history of US-Iran relations and lives in New York City.