100 books like The Shah and I

By Asadollah Alam,

Here are 100 books that The Shah and I fans have personally recommended if you like The Shah and I. Shepherd is a community of 10,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Juan Carlos: Steering Spain from Dictatorship to Democracy

Andrew Scott Cooper Author Of The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran

From my list on modern monarchy.

Who am I?

Andrew Scott Cooper, Ph.D., is passionate about researching and writing narrative history books. He holds a doctorate in history, masters degrees in journalism and strategic studies, and his work has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, NPR and MSNBC. Earlier in his career, Andrew worked as a researcher on landmines at the UN and at Human Rights Watch on behalf of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

Andrew's book list on modern monarchy

Andrew Scott Cooper Why did Andrew love this book?

Despite the scandals that led to his abdication, King Juan Carlos will go down in history as the courageous architect of Spain’s tightrope transition to democracy. But how exactly did he pull it off? Historian Paul Preston answers that question in his judicious, meticulously researched biography. The author recounts the life story of Juan Carlos, the boy prince whose parents essentially “sold him into slavery” to Francisco Franco in the hope that he would one day restore the House of Bourbon and sow the seeds of Spanish liberal democracy. Against all odds, Juan Carlos succeeded––and so too did the people of Spain.

By Richard Preston,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Juan Carlos as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Paul Preston, the author of the definitive biography Franco, explores the political and personal mysteries of the Spanish monarch's life in Juan Carlos, a story of unprecedented sweep and exquisite detail. Handed over to the Franco regime as a young boy, Juan Carlos was raised according to authoritarian traditions designed to make him a cornerstone of the dictatorship. How then did he later emerge as an emphatic defender of the democracy that began to form after Franco's death? In his peerless voice, Preston provides the details necessary to answer this central question, examining the king's troubled relationship with his father…


Book cover of Lion of Jordan: The Life of King Hussein in War and Peace

Andrew Scott Cooper Author Of The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran

From my list on modern monarchy.

Who am I?

Andrew Scott Cooper, Ph.D., is passionate about researching and writing narrative history books. He holds a doctorate in history, masters degrees in journalism and strategic studies, and his work has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, NPR and MSNBC. Earlier in his career, Andrew worked as a researcher on landmines at the UN and at Human Rights Watch on behalf of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

Andrew's book list on modern monarchy

Andrew Scott Cooper Why did Andrew love this book?

Perhaps the biggest surprise of King Hussein’s epic life is that he died in his own bed of natural causes and at a relatively advanced age––Hussein of Jordan always assumed he would die from an assassin’s bullet. Incredibly, his long reign had a happy ending: Hussein surmounted enough tragedies and challenges to fill the Book of Job––he witnessed his grandfather’s murder, his father went insane, his beloved cousin was shot, the wife he adored went down in a helicopter crash––yet steered his country and the people of Jordan to safe harbor through five decades of war, revolt and revolution. This book meets the majesty of the man and his life and times.

By Avi Shlaim,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lion of Jordan as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first major account of the life of an extraordinary soldier and statesman, King Hussein of Jordan.

Throughout his long reign (1953—1999), Hussein remained a dominant figure in Middle Eastern politics and a consistent proponent of peace with Israel. For over forty years he walked a tightrope between Palestinians and Arab radicals on the one hand and Israel on the other. Avi Shlaim reveals that Hussein initiated a secret dialogue with Israel in 1963 and spent hundreds of hours in talks with countless Israeli officials. Shlaim expertly reconstructs this dialogue from previously untapped records and first-hand accounts, significantly rewriting the…


Book cover of The Queen: A Biography of Elizabeth II

William Kuhn Author Of Mrs Queen Takes the Train

From my list on the modern British monarchy.

Who am I?

I’m an American who was taken by his parents to live in England for a year when he was a kid of eleven. The accents? The traditions? The school uniforms? All the traffic tangled up for a day because the Queen was riding to the State Opening of Parliament? It frightened me. It repelled me. I ended up loving it. I wrote my PhD thesis on the Victorian monarchy. A substantial part of all three of my first nonfiction books are about it. My novel on the current Queen of England has been a bestseller. It’s all about setting out to master what first strikes you as incomprehensible.

William's book list on the modern British monarchy

William Kuhn Why did William love this book?

This is another biography of the current queen that shows how the monarchy works. It differs from Sarah Bradford’s biography. Pimlott was a historical expert on the labour party during the twentieth century. He brought to his book all the skepticism about the crown that people on the political left traditionally have in Britain. Perhaps surprisingly, then, he comes out admiring Elizabeth II. He sticks much more narrowly than Bradford does to political crises in which the queen had some noted or decisive influence.

By Ben Pimlott,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Queen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

"There will be no better biography of Elizabeth II as a figure of state until her official one appears-and perhaps not even then."-The Independent. "One of the many merits of Ben Pimlott's superbly judicious biography of Elizabeth II is that it understands this connection between monarchy and masses, and carefully evokes its political importance."-The New York Times Book Review. "The best all-around study of the Queen so far, showing understanding as well as amused irony."-Sunday Telegraph. Written by Ben Pimlott, considered Britain's most respected political biographer, The Queen brings us the most authentic life yet of the reigning monarch. For…


Book cover of Monarchy in Modern Greece

Andrew Scott Cooper Author Of The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran

From my list on modern monarchy.

Who am I?

Andrew Scott Cooper, Ph.D., is passionate about researching and writing narrative history books. He holds a doctorate in history, masters degrees in journalism and strategic studies, and his work has been featured in media outlets including the New York Times, NPR and MSNBC. Earlier in his career, Andrew worked as a researcher on landmines at the UN and at Human Rights Watch on behalf of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, recipient of the 1997 Nobel Peace Prize.

Andrew's book list on modern monarchy

Andrew Scott Cooper Why did Andrew love this book?

How do monarchies begin and why do they fail? Remarkably few serious studies of Greece’s deposed royal family have appeared in print. Monarchy in Modern Greece, now available in this excellent English translation, offers readers a highly informative and thoughtful account of Greece’s experiment with “crowned democracy.” Written in essay form, scholars and general readers alike will find much to illuminate and entertain as Costas Stamatopoulos judiciously reviews the reigns of the seven monarchs whose reigns were buffeted by domestic and international crises. The lengthy footnote section is a veritable gold mine for anyone wanting to explore further and dig deeper.

By Costas M. Stamatopoulos,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Monarchy in Modern Greece as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Distributed by University of Exeter Press. 107 b&w photographs, English language text. For perhaps the first time, a holistic account of the institution of the monarchy in modern Greece. Looks at the political behaviour of the Greek people and their relationship with authority in every form, to explore why this specific type of constitution was chosen in 1832 at the end of the Greek 'Struggle for Independence'. The development of the monarchy is explored in parallel with the quest for popular legitimization and the constitutional dimension, including the contradictions in the constitutional legislation and the fragility of a democratic constitutional…


Book cover of The Last Shah: America, Iran, and the Fall of the Pahlavi Dynasty

Steven A. Cook Author Of The Struggle for Egypt: From Nasser to Tahrir Square

From my list on understanding the Middle East.

Who am I?

Steven A. Cook is the Eni Enrico Mattei senior fellow for the Middle East and Africa studies and director of the International Affairs Fellowship for Tenured International Relations Scholars at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). He is a columnist at Foreign Policy magazine and an expert on Arab and Turkish politics as well as U.S. Middle East policy. 

Steven's book list on understanding the Middle East

Steven A. Cook Why did Steven love this book?

Over the years, there has been a lot of mythmaking about the United States and Iran––often influenced more by politics and ideology than an objective reading of history.  Ray Takeyh’s beautifully written volume takes on the U.S.-Iran relationship with all of its complexities and offers a cogent corrective to the received wisdom about events that have shaped the Middle East in the last four decades.

By Ray Takeyh,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Last Shah as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The surprising story of Iran's transformation from America's ally in the Middle East into one of its staunchest adversaries

"An original interpretation that puts Iranian actors where they belong: at center stage."-Michael Doran, Wall Street Journal

"An extraordinary account. . . . Deeply nuanced and eloquent."-Benjamin Weinthal, Jerusalem Post

Offering a new view of one of America's most important, infamously strained, and widely misunderstood relationships of the postwar era, this book tells the history of America and Iran from the time the last shah, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, was placed on the throne in 1941 to the 1979 revolution that brought…


Book cover of Gharbzadegi: Weststruckness

Arshin Adib-Moghaddam Author Of What is Iran?

From my list on power and resistance.

Who am I?

Arshin Adib-Moghaddam is a world-renowned scholar and author. A double graduate of Cambridge University, he received his Professorship in Global Thought at SOAS as one of the youngest academics in his field. Since then he has been elected to several honorary positions all over the world, some of them with the royal seal and including at Harvard University and Yunnan Academy of Social Sciences in Kunming, China.

Arshin's book list on power and resistance

Arshin Adib-Moghaddam Why did Arshin love this book?

A book which perfectly encapsulates the pulse that delivered the revolution in Iran, and in particular the romanticism behind it. This virtuoso of the Iranian belles lettres, a celebrity intellectual of the 1960s, indicts western imperialism and its modernity for the brutal subjugation of the Global South in the name of the machine, a metaphor for cultural imperialism. Working with an incredibly potent medical analogy that likens western modernity to a disease, al-e Ahmad would have been seriously disappointed with the outcome of the revolution in 1979, which did not bring about the libertarian project that his generation envisaged. I read this book as a PhD student at Cambridge, and I was immediately struck by its powerful concepts that apply even today and beyond Iran.

By Jalal Al-E Ahmad,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Gharbzadegi as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Gharbzadegi [Weststruckness] is a tour de force on social conditions in Iran. It was written in 1962 when the Pahlavi regime seemed to have control over Iran's destiny. For the author, Al-e Ahmad (1923-1969), the result was total national submission to the West and its technology. The Iranian monarchy is portrayed in this work as no more than a native brokerage for Western influence, with no aims and identity of its own. Al-e Ahmad sought to defined in large part by a tradition of conflict with the West. This essay is a document of immense significance for students of Iranian…


Book cover of Daughter of Persia: A Woman's Journey from Her Father's Harem Through the Islamic Revolution

Lois Pryce Author Of Revolutionary Ride: On the Road to Shiraz, the Heart of Iran

From my list on understanding modern Iran.

Who am I?

Lois Pryce is a British author who has travelled extensively in Iran. Her book, Revolutionary Ride tells the story of her 2013 solo motorcycle tour of the country and was shortlisted for the Edward Stanford ‘Adventure Book of the Year’ Award. Her travels have taken her to over fifty countries and her writing has featured in The New York Times, The Guardian, CNN, BBC, The Telegraph and The Independent.

Lois' book list on understanding modern Iran

Lois Pryce Why did Lois love this book?

An astounding 20th century life-story told with honesty and warmth by one of Iran’s most impressive and pioneering women. From growing up as part of her father’s harem before setting sail for the USA during WWII to attend university, then returning to Iran to create a national social care system and finally, the unbearable tragedy of her life’s work being destroyed by the Islamic regime, this is an inspiring but heartbreaking story of bravery and humanity at its best.

By Sattareh Farman Farmaian, Dona Munker,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Daughter of Persia as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Sattareh Farman Farmaian, the daughter of a once-powerful and wealthy Iranian prince, was raised and educated in the 1920s and 1930s in a Persian harem compound, along with numerous mothers and more than 30 brothers and sisters. As a young woman, she broke with Muslim tradition and travelled to America, where she became the first Persian to study at the University of Southern California. Her new life in the West fired a vision to lift her own people out of backwardness and poverty, and she returned to Iran to found the Tehran School of Social Work. For more than 20…


Book cover of The Satanic Verses

Garry Craig Powell Author Of Our Parent Who Art in Heaven

From my list on satirical novels to make you laugh... and think.

Who am I?

I confess I was a serious little boy and used to be an excessively serious writer. Stoning the Devil, which is about desperate Gulf Arab women, was longlisted for major prizes and hailed by the feminist press. Poignant, even heart-breaking, but hardly a barrel full of laughs—though even then I couldn’t resist some black humour. But when I became a professor of Creative Writing at an American university, I found I’d fallen into a world madder than Wonderland, and realised that the best way to tackle woke insanity was through humour—as the great comedians are doing. Nearly all the best British fiction is humorous, so I started letting out my own zany side.

Garry's book list on satirical novels to make you laugh... and think

Garry Craig Powell Why did Garry love this book?

A complex magic realist novel. Two Muslim Indians are on a highjacked plane that explodes over the English Channel. As they fall into the sea, Bollywood superstar Gibreel Farishta, turns into the Archangel Gabriel, while Saladin Chamcha, a voiceover artist, metamorphoses into the Devil. They struggle with their new identities, with rivalry, with life in Britain, and in Gibreel’s case, with mental illness. Like all Rushdie’s work, it is a post-colonial perspective on the metropolis and the identity crises of the ex-colonised. There are long dream sequences about an Arabian prophet called Mahmoudwho resembles the founder of Islam. The Ayatollah Khomeini sentenced Rushdie to death for blasphemy for this. This all sounds deep and portentousand it isbut it’s also unfailingly funny and original. And brave. An inspiration. 

By Salman Rushdie,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Satanic Verses as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'A masterpiece' Sunday Times

Just before dawn one winter's morning, a aeroplane blows apart high above the English Channel and two figures tumble, clutched in an embrace, towards the sea: Gibreel Farishta, India's legendary movie star, and Saladin Chamcha, the man of a thousand voices.

Washed up, alive, on an English beach, their survival is a miracle. But there is a price to pay. Gibreel and Saladin have been chosen as opponents in the eternal wrestling match between Good and Evil. But chosen by whom? And which is which? And what will be the outcome of their final confrontation?

'A…


Book cover of House of Sand and Fog

Allison Levy Author Of House of Secrets: The Many Lives of a Florentine Palazzo

From my list on the psychological interplay between people and houses.

Who am I?

Allison Levy holds a PhD in Italian Renaissance art and architecture from Bryn Mawr College. She has published five books on Italian visual culture, and has taught in the US, Italy, and the UK. She oversees the digital publishing program at Brown University.

Allison's book list on the psychological interplay between people and houses

Allison Levy Why did Allison love this book?

This #1 New York Times bestseller grapples with what houses say about who we are—or want to become. Slip into a tragic entanglement between Massoud Behrani, a recent immigrant from Iran intent on restoring his family’s honor by purchasing a California bungalow up for auction, and Kathy Nicolo, the house’s owner, and a recovering drug addict determined to hold on to her family property. This penetrating novel will satisfy readers’ unquenchable thirst for stories that explore the psychological ramifications of emotional and social overinvestment in the promise of a house.

By Andre Dubus III,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked House of Sand and Fog as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A recent immigrant from the Middle East-a former colonel in the Iranian Air Force-yearns to restore his family's dignity in California. A recovering alcoholic and addict down on her luck struggles to hold onto the one thing she has left?her home. And her lover, a married cop, is driven to extremes to win her love.

Andre Dubus III's unforgettable characters-people with ordinary flaws, looking for a small piece of ground to stand on-careen toward inevitable conflict. Their tragedy paints a shockingly true picture of the country we live in today.


Book cover of Creation and the Timeless Order of Things: Essays in Islamic Mystical Philosophy

Mohammed Rustom Author Of The Essence of Reality: A Defense of Philosophical Sufism

From my list on Sufi philosophy.

Who am I?

I am a Professor of Islamic Thought and Global Philosophy at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada. Perpetually drawn to ideas and concepts that seek to explain the underlying nature of things, I predictably read and write books on such topics as consciousness, self-awareness, mysticism, God, philosophy of religion, metaphysical poetry, and virtue ethics. The titles listed here are in my own area of expertise (Sufi philosophy). Intellectually rigorous and spiritually informed, they each represent perfect points of entry into Sufism, which is an ocean without a shore.  

Mohammed's book list on Sufi philosophy

Mohammed Rustom Why did Mohammed love this book?

Not suitable for the faint of heart, this title offers rare glimpses of insight into the Sufi philosophical worldview, taking in such key topics as the oneness of existence, the nature of light and consciousness, the interrelationship between thought and practice, and points of convergence between Sufism and Zen Buddhism. 

By Toshihiko Izutsu,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Creation and the Timeless Order of Things as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Essays in Islamic Mystical Philosophy CREATION AND THE TIMELESS ORDER OF THINGS Essays in Islamic Mystical Philosophy Toshihiko Izutsu Creation and the Timeless Order of Things brings together Toshihiko Izutsu’s most important essays on Islamic mystical philosophy. Though primarily concerned with Iranian mystics and philosophers, it displays Izutsu’s unique insights in comparative philosophy by comparing and contrasting Islamic Sufism with Vedanta, Mahayana Buddhism, Zen Buddhism, Archetypal Psychology, and modern Existentialism. The studies in this volume explore the deep structures of mystical insight particularly as developed around the key concepts of the unity of existence, “creation” and “being” within Islamic mystical…


5 book lists we think you will like!

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