Who lost Iran? How and why did a country, never richer, never more educated, its women never more liberated erupt in a fundamentalist revolution? The answer can be found in the enthralling life and tragic death of one man. Amir Abbas Hoveyda was a central figure in the historic struggle between modernity and tradition in Iran -- a struggle pitting Western cosmopolitanism against Persian isolationism, secularism against religious fundamentalism, and ultimately civil society and democracy against authoritarianism. "The Persian Sphinx" is biography at its most powerful and reads like a modern-day Shakespearean tragedy. It will reward the general reader and the scholar alike.