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Publisher's Summary

Immortal is the only single-volume English-language survey of Iran's military history. CIA analyst Steven R. Ward shows that Iran's soldiers, from the famed "Immortals" of ancient Persia to today's Revolutionary Guard, have demonstrated through the centuries that they should not be underestimated. This history also provides background on the nationalist, tribal, and religious heritages of the country to help listeners better understand Iran and its security outlook.

Immortal begins with the founding of ancient Persia's empire under Cyrus the Great and continues through the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988) and up to the present.

Drawing on a wide range of sources including declassified documents, the author gives primary focus to the modern era to relate the buildup of the military under the last Shah, its collapse during the Islamic revolution, its fortunes in the Iran-Iraq War, and its rise from the ashes to help Iran become once again a major regional military power. He shows that, despite command and supply problems, Iranian soldiers demonstrate high levels of bravery and perseverance and have enjoyed surprising tactical successes even when victory has been elusive. These qualities and the Iranians' ability to impose high costs on their enemies by exploiting Iran's imposing geography bear careful consideration today by potential opponents.

©2009 Steven R. Ward (P)2012 Steven R. Ward

What listeners say about Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces

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    4 out of 5 stars

Useful primer on Iranian Military and Political History

This text is comprehensive and easy to assimilate. It provides a helpful linkage between the past and contemporary Iranian political-Military behaviour.

It is full of surprises. I had no idea that Iran was even involved in World War 1 and didn’t realise that the Soviets and British had to conquer rather than simply occupy Iran in WW2. While the Ayatollah Khomeini was entirely ruthless and bloodthirsty, he opposed the use of Chemical and Nuclear weapons.

Two possible improves: It is now somewhat dated late 2000s, an update would be helpful. Second pronunciations seem off. One advantage of audio books is demonstrating correct proper name pronunciation.

All in all worth the effort for military personnel and historians and others wanting to better understand current affairs.

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  • Behzad
  • 21-01-2017

More than a military history

Any additional comments?

As an Iranian I have read more than a few books on Iran, and I am convinced that the writer has a clear and deep understanding of Iran politics/history.

I was searching for a good book on audible dealing with Iran history in 20th century and since I did not find many good ones, I considered this book. Since I was not particularly concerned with military issues, I was not sure if a "military history" will be the right choice. However, I am very glad I got this book because as one may imagine the boundary between military history and political history is vague in many senses, and this book portraits a valid and consistent image of Iran political history specially in 20th century.

The second half of the book, dealing with later years of Shah and onset of revolution, immediate years after the revolution and the details of Iran-Iraq war was priceless to me.

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  • Young Professional
  • 11-06-2020

Thorough Military History

Even those with a lot of background on Iran should learn a lot here. It is a historical, in depth book that I thoroughly recommend and highly enjoy.

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  • Sina Azodi
  • 25-12-2019

Good book but

I think this is an interesting attempt to portray a military history of Iran, but the author at times can’t hide his bias. Overall this is a good book

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  • Rev. David B. Smith
  • 02-07-2015

Informative but uninspiring

This book reminds me of those history classes at school where you couldn't wait for the bell at end of class. There is plenty of detailed information here and the reader will certainly end up with a much deeper knowledge of the Iranian military, proving that they can stay awake.

The author also has an annoying pro-American bias that colours his accounts of post-revolutionary Iran in a way I found quite unhelpful.

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