Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces
- Immortal: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces
ISBN: 9781589012585 (1589012585)
Purchase here from Georgetown University Press
"This is not only a timely book, and one that fills a gap of information and analysis on the Iranian military, but it also cogently argues that policy makers involved with the Middle East take a cautious approach to Iran ... What sets this historical study apart is the depth of the research, the synthesis of political-military factors relevant to each era, and the quality of the writing, making it possible for non-academics or those without special Middle East backgrounds to profit from reading it."—Proceedings
"Immortal is a superbly written and researched work. Steven Ward has delivered a critically important contribution to understanding the Persian military. This is a must read for those who want to understand Iranian military thinking, heritage, and capability."—General Anthony C. Zinni, United States Marine Corps (Retired), former Commander, U. S. Central Command
"Far too often, Americans ignore history and leave military history to a narrow range of experts. The choice of peace or war in dealing with Iran, however, is far too important to make without an understanding of Iran's military history and how its forces have evolved. Steven R. Ward's Immortal provides essential background to making that choice."—Anthony H. Cordesman, Burke Chair in Strategy, Center for Strategic and International Studies
"Before we rush headlong into another Middle Eastern quagmire, it is critical for Americans to develop a greater appreciation for Iran's military history and capability. Steven Ward's Immortal thus comes at a critical moment, when its subject—the military development of Iran—is one of the most important issues confronting our nation. There are few Westerners who possess Ward's experience and understanding of the Iranian armed forces, and he has done us all a great service by placing his wealth of knowledge at our disposal. Immortal is a thoughtful, fascinating and extremely informative study of Iran's military from the past to the very present that will finally allow us to fill a large gap in our understanding of one of the most pressing foreign policy problems of the twenty-first century."—Kenneth M. Pollack, author of The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America
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 readers 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 build-up 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.
Steven R. Ward is a senior CIA intelligence analyst who specializes in Iran and the Middle East. From 2005 to 2006 he served as the Deputy National Intelligence Officer for the Near East on the National Intelligence Council, and he served on the National Security Council from 1998 to 1999. He received an M.A. in National Security Studies from Georgetown in 1992. He is also a graduate of West Point and a retired U.S. Army Reserve lieutenant colonel.