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The Sum of Us
Bob Woodward, Robert CostaInbunden
Losing Hearts and Minds
American-Iranian Relations and International Education during the Cold War469
Matthew K. Shannon provides readers with a reminder of a brief and congenial phase of the relationship between the United States and Iran. In Losing Hearts and Minds, Shannon tells the story of an influx of Iranian students to American college campuses between 1950 and 1979 that globalized U.S. institutions of higher education and produced alliances between Iranian youths and progressive Americans. Losing Hearts and Minds is a narrative rife with historical ironies. Because of its superpower competition with the USSR, the U.S. government worked with nongovernmental organizations to create the means for Iranians to train and study in the United States. The stated goal of this initiative was to establish a cultural foundation for the official relationship and to provide Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi with educated elites to administer an ambitious program of socioeconomic development. Despite these goals, Shannon locates the incubation of at least one possible version of the Iranian Revolution on American college campuses, which provided a space for a large and vocal community of dissident Iranian students to organize against the Pahlavi regime and earn the support of empathetic Americans. Together they rejected the Shah's authoritarian model of development and called for civil and political rights in Iran, giving unwitting support to the rise of the Islamic Republic of Iran.
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"In telling this fascinating and troubling transnational history, Shannon illustrates to diplomatic historians how much can be gained by attending seriously to the political significance of education." * History of Education Quarterly * "Losing Hearts and Minds is an important intervention in the historiography of US-Iran relations. Shannon's work has broadened our gaze beyond diplomats, soldiers, and spies, in order to consider the significance of activists, students, and technocrats, amongst others, in shaping the relationship between Iran and the United States....This is a long-overdue development that will no doubt influence the future trajectory of the historiography, particularly as historians of US-Iran relations look ahead to the fortieth anniversary of the Iranian Revolution in 2019." * H-Net * "Shannon deserves praise for his impressive archival research, broad scope, and focus on students as transnational actors... Losing Hearts and Minds is an important addition to the literature on U.S.-Iranian relations." * AMERICAN HISTORICAL REVIEW * "In shedding light on the heretofore underappreciated importance of the Iranian student experience in the United States, Losing Hearts and Minds adds to our understanding of the Islamic Revolution and subsequent breakdown in U.S.-Iranian relations. Both a strong self-contained case study and part of a much larger, transnational narrative, it deserves a wide readership." * The Journal of American History * "Shannon has written one of the finest available monographs on students as transnational actors. His book is also required reading for anyone wishing to comprehend the full story of U.S. relations with Pahlavi Iran." * Diplomatic History *
Matthew K. Shannon is Assistant Professor of History at Emory & Henry College.