Book Review: Michael Axworthy, Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic

Published date01 December 2015
Date01 December 2015
Subject MatterBook Reviews
Book Reviews 199
… to defy normative linear temporalities and determinalist causalities they
imply. This is neither a denial of human creativity in favour of an older kind
of material determinism, nor a celebration of it in denial of the materialities
that structure, enable and constrain human historicity. It is actually both and
all these things.
Above all, while Fontein should be commended for his extensive use
and correct translation of Shona names and idioms, his efforts in this
regard have been dampened as many of these terms have been misspelt.
This is one of the weaknesses of the book. The following Shona names
and terms, among others, have been spelt wrongly: mhinda mirefu which
should be minda mirefu meaning long fields; kusadza instead of kuzadza
(fill up); varungu venhasi instead of varungu vanhasi (Whites of today);
Sadhunhu instead of Sadunhu meaning headman; Svobgo instead of
Zvobgo; varidzi wenyika instead of varidzi venyika (owners of the land);
mutero wemhinda instead of mutero weminda (field tax); ndenga nemid-
zimu akatsamwa should be denga nemidzimu vakatsamwa (the sky and
ancestors are angry); Chinoyi should be Chinhoyi; Zan should be Zano;
baba nini should be babamunini (young paternal uncle); mweya yetsina
should be mweya yetsvina (evil/bad spirits); hazviti should be hazviiti
(impossible); Mutirikwi is sometimes wrongly spelt Muturikwi; hondo
yemhinda should be hondo yeminda (war of the fields) and migano
should be miganhu meaning boundaries. Besides, the book’s flow is also
disturbed by avoidable grammatical mistakes and wrong spellings,
evident in the appearance of words such as “publically” instead of publicly,
“contouring” ridging instead of contour ridging and “polices” instead of
policies, among others. Let us celebrate with the author for writing an
enriching book that cuts across a number of disciplines. We urge the
author to overcome the weaknesses of this book in its next edition.
Mediel Hove
Lecturer of War, Peace, and Strategic Studies
History Department, University of Zimbabwe
Michael Axworthy, Revolutionary Iran: A History of the Islamic Republic.
London: Allen Lane, 2013, 496 pp., ` 999, ISBN: 978-I-846-14291-8
DOI: 10.1177/0973598415627908

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