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The English Job Reviews

The English Job by Jack Straw

The English Job

Understanding Iran and Why It Distrusts Britain

Jack Straw

3.50 out of 5

3 reviews

Imprint: Biteback Publishing
Publisher: Biteback Publishing
Publication date: 1 Jul 2019
ISBN: 9781785903991

A fascinating study of our difficult relationship with Iran from a former Foreign Secretary.

4 stars out of 5
21 Aug 2019

"(a) timely, revealing account of his time in Iran"

Straw’s purpose in The English Job is two-fold. By recounting his negotiating experience and what happened on his 2015 trip – and in particular, how the Iranian police tried to protect him from the Basij – he wants to undermine the idea, put about by American and Israeli supporters of regime change in Iran, that there is no real difference between the theocratic and democratic elements of the Iranian state. He also explores the basis for the grievances put to him by the Basij: as the book’s subtitle puts it, his aim is “understanding Iran – and why it distrusts Britain”.


4 stars out of 5
Andrew Anthony
22 Jul 2019

"...highly readable, full of vivid history, diplomatic anecdotes and personal observation"

The book is highly readable, full of vivid history, diplomatic anecdotes and personal observation. It explains the peculiar circumstances of a country finely balanced between becoming a nuclear power and risking international isolation. It’s written in a manner that is balanced, dispassionate and yet sympathetic to the Iranian people...Straw, who in 2001 became the first senior British minister to visit Iran since the 1979 revolution, is clear-eyed about, and damning of, Britain’s part in empowering the shah. But he’s not about to fall for the flagrant historical revisionism practised by the religious authorities who have held control since Ayatollah Khomeini hijacked the revolution.

3 stars out of 5
Justin Marozzi
7 Jul 2019

"A former foreign secretary’s timely analysis of Iranian hostility to the West"

The English Job deserves a wider audience than it might otherwise have received, because it tells the critical story of Iran’s engagement with, and subjugation by, the Great Powers during the past two centuries — Britain and the US to the fore. This turbulent history is essential reading if we are to appreciate how we got where we are with Iran.