An important, urgently needed book--a hugely ambitious, illuminating portrait of the two-centuries-long entwined histories of Iran and America, and the first book to examine, in all its aspects, the rich and fraught relations between these two powers--once allies, now adversaries. By an admired historian and the author of Untapped: The Scramble for Africa's Oil ("he would do Graham Greene proud"--Kirkus Reviews).

In this rich, fascinating history, John Ghazvinian traces the complex story of the relations of these two powers back to the Persian Empire of the eighteenth century--the subject of great admiration of Thomas Jefferson and John Quincy Adams--and an America seen by Iranians as an ideal to emulate for their own government.

Drawing on years of archival research both in the United States and Iran--including access to Iranian government archives rarely available to Western scholars--the Iranian-born, Oxford-educated historian leads us through the four seasons of U.S.-Iran relations: the "spring" of mutual fascination; the "summer" of early interactions; the "autumn" of close strategic ties; and the long, dark "winter" of mutual hatred.

Ghazvinian, with grasp and a storyteller's ability, makes clear where, how, and when it all went wrong. And shows why two countries that once had such heartfelt admiration for each other became such committed enemies; showing us, as well, how it didn't have to turn out this way.

"An expert on Iran delineates the massive rift between the erstwhile 'closest of allies' ... relevant, highly elucidating ... an evenhanded, revelatory narrative in which the author avoids muddying the waters with an overtly political agenda. An excellent single-volume history of a fraught international relationship."--Kirkus (starred review)

"Ghazvinian describes in exquisite detail the relationship between Iran and the United States--from its inception in the years before the American Revolution to the present day. Beautifully laid out and at time reading like a thriller you don't want to put down ... Ghazvinian deftly shows us when, where, and why things went (and still do go) wrong. If ever the question 'why do they hate us' arises in the Iranian context, just read this book."--Hooman Majd, author of The Ayatollah Begs to Differ

"History in the hands of a master. Ghazvinian leads us far beyond the mindless shouting of recent decades to tell a story of friendship, sacrifice, and discovery. Should be required reading in both Tehran and Washington."--Ambassador John Limbert, US Deputy Secretary of State for Iran (2009-10); former hostage in the US Embassy in Tehran (1979-81)