The photograph on this book’s cover betokens an image from Federico Fellini’s “La Dolce Vita”—a tanned, haute couture-d couple rejoicing in the good life. The title, “The Fall of Heaven,” elevates the splendors of pre-revolution Iran to something Olympian—and the calamity of its aftermath to nothing short of the twilight of the gods.
A less grandiose reading—and one more relevant to the actual history of Iran—might be to see the revolution as a fall from heaven. In the traditional narrative of the fall, Adam and Eve lose the serene security of paradise when they choose to reject divine law. Islamist forces in Iran have often described the rise of modernity as a sort of second fall. The Islamic Revolution of 1979 was, to them, an effort to halt the fall by ending the Shah’s modernizing efforts and establishing a divinely sanctioned theocracy.
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