Vali Nasr reviews Iran Awakening: A Memoir of Revolution and Hope by Shirin Ebadi and Azadeh Moaveni, in The New Republic:
The book is a powerful condemnation of the dictatorship of the ayatollahs, at its best when it recounts the suffering of those whom Ebadi represented. The gross injustices and the everyday cruelties of the Islamist regime in Iran would be comical were they not so tragic.
But the narrative loses its poignancy when it shifts to the writer herself. As commendable as her efforts on the part of the victims of injustice in Iran have been, Ebadi’s confused rendition of Iranian history, which vacillates between celebrating the revolution and condemning its consequences, makes it difficult to regard her as a symbol of democracy. Still, it is possible to look beyond her perplexing tentativeness and regard her story as emblematic of the paradox of a revolution that mobilized, educated, and ultimately frustrated Iranian women. Revolutionary fervor promised to break down traditional patriarchy, but in its place there appeared new discriminations. Ebadi hopes that the unfulfilled promises of revolution will finally bring a fury down upon the Islamic Republic and fracture its pious edifice. But this hope, however fond, is a distant one–more distant than Ebadi seems to understand.