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James Clavell's Whirlwind por James Clavell
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James Clavell's Whirlwind (original 1986; edição 1986)

por James Clavell

Séries: The Asian Saga (6)

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1,619158,305 (3.59)35
The sixth book in James Clavell's epic Asian Saga tells the story of three weeks in Tehran in February 1979-three weeks of passion, self-sacrifice, and heartbreak. When the shah is thrown out of Iran, the nation's turmoil becomes world headlines. Caught in this shifting world of fanaticism, ambition, duplicity, and violent death are the foreign helicopter pilots who have been servicing the oil fields up and down the country. Their one objective is to make a bold, concerted escape to safety across the Gulf.… (mais)
Membro:HectorLector
Título:James Clavell's Whirlwind
Autores:James Clavell
Informação:William Morrow (1986), Edition: Book Club (BCE/BOMC), Hardcover
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Book Club Associates London 1987

Pormenores da obra

Whirlwind por James Clavell (1986)

  1. 10
    On Wings of Eagles por Ken Follett (sneuper)
    sneuper: A story about escaping from Iran during the revolution of 1978-1979.
  2. 00
    The Triumph of the Sun por Wilbur Smith (karatelpek)
    karatelpek: Westerners under siege in a country undergoing an Islamic religious awaking
  3. 00
    Pomegranate Soup por Marsha Mehran (sneuper)
    sneuper: Books about escaping Iran before and during the revolution of 1979-1979. Although very different in approach (thriller vs. romance), the setting is the same.
  4. 11
    Jackdaws por Ken Follett (kempoman)
    kempoman: Great read , Great characters.
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James Clavell writes epic novels and this is last of them. The sixth epic novel in his Asian Saga takes place in Iran in the days of the Iranian revolution in 1979, where a popular uprising led by the Shia Islamic Ayatollah Khomeini results (as in real life) in a total overthrow of the temporary regime created to appease the population when the Shah fled.

In Iran, Noble House connected aviation company SG Helicopters operate a fleet of a two dozen helicopters from half a dozen bases all over the country, helping with oil production, lumbering and anything else needing a helicopter. SG Helicopters is mostly employing non-Iranian personnel and these become the target of a lot of the violence and hatred in Iran.

At the same time, most other foreign companies have already evacuated so the regime and other factions are desperate to prevent more leaving. They also need, or need to prevent, quick air transportation, making SG Helicopters and the people working for it, especially pilots, pawns in the power struggle.

In the middle of all this there are humans and several pilots have strong ties to Iran or Iranians. Two of them are married to beautiful Iranian women in rich and powerful families, letting the reader see events from their angle as well.

The book is very believable. We meet people in a country torn between the agrarian past and the urban future. Between a central power and a nation of tribes. Between the secular and the everyday religious and the fundamental religious. Between the rich and the poor. Between men and women. Between the honest and the corrupt. Between the educated and the poorly educated. Between Islam and Islam Marxists and regular communists.

It is a bit hard to know what is factual and what is fiction, but the book seems very realistic and should give any presumptuous revolutionary reason to think again. In a populist revolution based on fear and hate, that fear and hate might hit anyone, even those that thought they were on the winning side. Because that lesson can be learned from many revolutions, once the common enemy is dead, the revolutionaries start feeding on their own until only one is left. Sometimes even before the common enemy is dead.

Whirlwind doesn’t obviously take sides apart from the human side of survival of the main characters, but it does show both the ugly and the good in the revolutionaries. The thing that stood out the most for me is how crude many of the men are. They see women as objects that need to be covered to not distract them. Few if any reflects on this being a flaw in themselves rather than in the women. There is also a strong patriarchal tradition in Iran where especially daughters and wives are to do what their husbands dictate.

Meanwhile, in the novel, many of the women are strong-minded, well educated, rich and of course incredibly beautiful, making them part of the 0.001%

Much goes wrong for a lot of people, but everywhere it’s either “As God Wills” (Inshallah) or blaming it on lesser functionaries. Religion is a strong drug and few, if any, believes anything is the fault of Ayatollah Khomeini

I do wish there had been some sort of epilogue to say how each remaining life thread wound its way into the future, but maybe Clavell had planned one more book. After this one he wrote Gai-Jin (the third book chronologically, taking place in the 19th century). One year later he died.

The book did awake a strong desire to learn more about the Iranian revolution. Whirlwind, after confirming through Wikipedia, told me that Iran and the revolution was much more complex than “Khomeini overthrew the Shah installed by MI6 and CIA”. Oh, yes, both cold war powerblocks operate in Iran during (and before and after?) the revolution and we get to see those clash as well.

I cannot give this book anything but the highest rating, five stars, but it’s not something that is a quick read. 1200 pages, or over 50 hours as an audiobook awaits the reader. ( )
  bratell | Dec 25, 2020 |
Whirlwind es una novela de James Clavell, publicada por primera vez en 1986. Forma parte de The Asian Saga y cronológicamente es el último libro de la serie.
  PPLL2020 | Sep 8, 2020 |
I had read Clavell's other novels earlier this year. But it took me several months to get around to reading Whirlwind, the last of his Asian Saga chronologically. I simply didn't want to take on the Iranian Revolution, especially having dealt with its ramifications over the span of several decades earlier in my life.

Yet this turned out to be a mistake. Whirlwind is one of his better works, superior to Noble House and Gai-Jin and on a par with Shogun and a notch below Tai-Pan. It's also a departure in both style and format from Clavell's other works. Shogun and Tai-Pan were Occidental forays into the exoticism of the Orient. And at the same time, they were hard edged philosophical works expounding upon Clavell's libertarianism. Gai-Jin was a somewhat disappointing sequel to those two. Meanwhile, Nobel House is pure soap opera, a 1400 page story, as one wag put it, of Ian Dunross getting a loan. Aside from these, there is Clavell's first published book in the series, King Rat, which stands apart as a work of serious literature.

Whirlwind is different from all the above. Its epic scope is grander; its story more multifaceted; its genre, an historical political intrigue, something new as well. All of it weaving in six separate stories. In fact, Whirlwind could be said to contain six interrelated separate novels brought together under one overarching drama. Too, this is Clavell's only published novel that is contemporaneous to the events it described--Clavell having undertaken its writing in the immediate aftermath of the Iranian Revolution.

What of Whirlwind itself? As usual with Clavell, the story is compelling, an addicting read. Clavell is a master of the "and then" moment which most successful popular authors must have. No purple prose, here. Just raw, pithy descriptions served on a platter of adventure and mystery. There is a little romance as well, although that is by far the weakest element of the book.

And the most interesting figure of novel? Perhaps the mullah Hussain, whose ambiguous thoughts carry us through the last few pages. A threat or a promise? Both? How odd, finally, to have the chronological story of the Struans end on a mountainside in northwestern Iran. Leaving the reader to deal with chaos breaking out back in the home berth of the saga, Hong Kong and the Far East. Would that Clavell had had the opportunity to tell us more about the Noble House. What would he have made of his precious China in the year 2018? ( )
  PaulCornelius | Apr 12, 2020 |
From Library Journal Andrew Gavallan, based in Scotland, runs a helicopter company operating in Iran during the Shah's reign. When Khomeini comes to power, Gavallan must get his pilots and their families, and his valuable helicopters, out of the riot-torn country. Complicating matters is his power struggle with his company's secret owner, the Noble House of Hong Kong. The pilots' escape efforts form the basic story but as usual in a Clavell novel the action sweeps across many lives: lovers, spies, fanatics, revolutionaries, friends and betrayers. British, Finnish, American, and Iranian, all are caught up in a deadly religious and political upheaval. Clavell effectively portrays the chilling and bewildering encounters when Westernized lifestyle clashes with harsh ancient traditions. This novel, the fifth in what he calls his Asian Series ( Noble H o use, King Rat, Tai Pan, Shogun ) is certain to be in much demand. A.M.B. Amantia, Population Crisis Committee Lib., Washington D.C.
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. Review "* 'So abundant in sub-plots, characters, intrigue and atmosphere that its 1,000-plus pages seem barely adequate. Some of the most enjoyable reading around.' - Daily Mail * 'Clavell seems to creep inside the very soul of the land and the people... A damn good read' - Boston Herald * 'WHIRLWIND is strongly structured, skilfully plotted, rich in detail and very entertaining. Clavell brings the grimness and grandeur of an ancient land to life' - San Francisco Chronicle * 'James Clavell does more than entertain. He transports us into worlds we've not known, stimulating, educating, questioning... a wonder of detail' - Washington Post" ( )
  Hans.Michel | Sep 13, 2013 |
Bought and read it several years ago. Liked it a lot and want to re-read it, to be able to write a proper review.
  BoekenTrol71 | Mar 31, 2013 |
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Want wind zaaien zij, en stormen oogsten zij. - Hosea 8:7
Deze avonturenroman speelt in het revolutionaire Iran, in de periode van 9 februari tot 4 maart 1979, lang voor de gijzelingsaffaire in de Amerikaanse ambassade begon. Ik heb geprobeerd de werkelijkheid zoveel mogelijk te benaderen - maar het verhaal is verzonnen, met denkbeeldige personages en tal van denkbeeldige plaatsen. Het was niet mijn bedoeling te zinspelen op mensen of bedrijven die in deze periode werkelijk een rol hebben gespeeld. Vanzelfsprekend worden mijn personages, als een essentieel bestanddeel van dit verhaal, overschaduwd voor de gestalten van de elkaar bestrijdende giganten, Z.K.H. sjah Mohammed Pahlevi (en diens vader, Reza Sjah) en ayatollah Khomeini, maar deze leiders worden niet persoonlijk ten tonele gevoerd. Ik heb geprobeerd deze periode op realistische maar niettemin denkbeeldige wijze weer te geven, met de verschillende mensen die haar hebben beleefd en met de uiteenlopende meningen die toen heersten en zouden zijn verwoord - maar niets in dit boek is oneerbiedig bedoeld. Kortom, dit is geen relaas van de ware gang van zaken, maar een verhaal van de gebeurtenissen in die vierentwintig dagen zoals ik me voorstel dat ze zich hebben voltrokken...
They have sown the wind,
and they shall reap the whirlwind.

--Hosea 8:7
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The sixth book in James Clavell's epic Asian Saga tells the story of three weeks in Tehran in February 1979-three weeks of passion, self-sacrifice, and heartbreak. When the shah is thrown out of Iran, the nation's turmoil becomes world headlines. Caught in this shifting world of fanaticism, ambition, duplicity, and violent death are the foreign helicopter pilots who have been servicing the oil fields up and down the country. Their one objective is to make a bold, concerted escape to safety across the Gulf.

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