The Story of the Exile, Misadventures and Death of the Emperor
Chatto & Windus, UK, 1989

The Shah's Last Ride

In January 1979, the Shah of Iran flew out of Teheran, taking with him members of his family, loyal retainers, and a planeload of household effects.

Some months earlier widespread rioting had broken out, fermented by supporters of the exiled Ayatollah Khomeini, and the Shah was - ostensibly - taking an extended holiday: in fact he was leaving Iran for the last time, an ill, uncomprehending man, baffled by the ingratitude of a people he had ruled with increasingly absolute power since 1941.

William Shawcross combines his account of the Shah in exile with a vivid evocation of Iran as it was before life began to go sour for the Shah, from the celebrations at Persepolis to mark the climax of his rule to the torture cells of Savak, fom the corruption of the royal court and the call-girls flown in from Paris to the revolutionary puritanism of the Shi'ite mullahs, from Mossadeq's defiance of the British to the cheque book politics of Nixon and Kissinger. At once comical and tragic, sumptuous and seedy, The Shah's Last Ride is the most bizarre and terrible of cautionary tales.

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