For more than twenty-five years, the United States and Iran have been diplomatically estranged, each characterizing the other not only as a political adversary, but also as devious, threatening, and essentially evil. According to William O. Beeman’s provocative book, The “Great Satan” vs. the “Mad Mullahs,” such demonization is a self-fulfilling prophecy, as both countries have embraced exactly the policies and rhetoric that would particularly threaten or insult the other. Drawing on his experience as a linguistic anthropologist, Beeman parses how political leaders have used historical references, religious associations, and the mythology of evil to inflame their own citizens against the foreign country, and proposes a way out of this dangerous debacle.
“William Beeman’s analysis of dissonant perceptions of Iran and the USA is compelling and important. . . . I am particularly grateful for this work.”—James Peacock, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
“[Beeman] is more interested in informing the reader than in impressing his peers. The other strength of the book lies in the author’s knowledge of Iranian history and culture. . . . It challenges the reader and forces him to question stereotypes about Iran and Washington’s perspective on the country.”—Abbas William Samii, Middle East Journal