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Book Review: Operation Ajax – Daniel Burwen and Mike de Seve

Donna Brown1271 views
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About Operation Ajax: The Story of the CIA Coup that Remade the Middle East (Book)
Operation AjaxGraphic true-life spy thriller about the CIA mission that overthrew Iran’s democracy

The year is 1953. As the value of oil skyrockets, global power brokers are taking an increased interest in the ruling political regimes of the Middle East. British agents have controlled Iranian oil exports for a generation, with the tacit approval of the Shah, but the landscape there has started to change.

Democratically elected prime minister Mohammed Mossadegh’s calls to overthrow the elites and take back Iran resonates among the people, and immediately American, British, and Persian agents begin to hatch plans for insurrection. Deals are made behind closed doors. Every actor has a stake. Iran’s oil will flow to the West, by any means necessary.

Operation Ajax is the story of the CIA coup that removed Mossadegh and reinstalled the monarchy. Produced by a team of award-winning artists and based on an award-winning interactive storytelling app, Operation Ajax is a thrilling tale of real-life intrigue.

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About CIA: Operation Ajax (App)

Cognito is proud to present, in collaboration with best-selling author Stephen Kinzer, the true life spy thriller, CIA: Operation Ajax. As the value of oil explodes in world markets, global power brokers begin to take interest in the ruling political regimes of the Middle East. In Iran, British agents have controlled oil exports for a generation. The shah is holding on to a shaky peace as a new charismatic leader enters the scene. Secret deals, underground rumors of revolt, and dark plots of government overthrow are employed by American, British, and Persian agents. Iran’s oil would flow, by any means necessary. Every actor has a stake in the game. No one can be trusted. Nothing is as it seems.

Learn about the incredible true history of the CIA plot to stage a coup of Iran’s government. Recently declassified documents, historic photos, and video film reels from the era are embedded into the story. See Eisenhower, Churchill, the Dulles brothers, Mossadegh, and the Shah in a whole new light.

Technical Specs:

CIA : Operation Ajax is a revolutionary new way to experience a graphic novel. Combining subtle animation with a full film score, the story unfolds in a groundbreaking cinematic reading experience.

– 210 page interactive comic with sound and animation
– 22 character dossiers loaded with historical photos and notes
– 9 historical newsreel videos
– Authentic CIA documents
– Extra content embedded throughout.

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Review: Operation Ajax

As a rule, I don’t read graphic novels. It’s not that I don’t appreciate the great talent that goes into bringing a story to life so visually. I just don’t seem to see that many graphic novels with stories that capture my interest.

Operation Ajax did, covering a part of history I know still has an impact today but which I didn’t know a huge deal about. The graphic novel looks into a CIA plot to stage a coup in Iran, in order to control the price and supply of oil. This is a warts and all portrayal of the US and UK involvement in a plot that put lives and livelihoods at risk for the sake of greed and lust for power. And it’s brilliantly portrayed through the pages of Operation Ajax.

Having enjoyed the graphic novel in ebook form via Netgalley, I wanted to dig deeper. I’d noticed that there was an app – receiving great reviews and fantastic praise – and decided to go beyond the book and access the app as well. I’m so glad I did. The graphic novel alone is excellent but once you throw in the interactive elements of the app and the wealth of detail, it really brings this story to life.

Operation Ajax has certainly made me think twice about graphic novels. This approach – bringing history to life through visual and interactive mediums – has a huge role to play in the future of teaching and learning about our past. Operation Ajax is a perfect example of how our changing technology can be used to make our past more accessible and interesting, something that’s vital if we’re going to continue to learn important lessons. This book shows that something can be both educational and entertaining, handling a brutal subject with brutal honesty, but also with the sensitivity to avoid sensationalism. I’d love to see similar approaches to other historical or political events in future graphic novels from Verso or other publishers.

Verdict: 5/5

Source: Netgalley

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Donna Brown
Avid reader/audiobook listener, fan of podcasts, prone to the odd Netflix binge. Mum to six crazy and incredible rescue cats. Occasional writer of short stories and poetry.

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