Andrew Scott Cooper


The Fall of Heaven

The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran

The Fall of Heaven
  • Information
    • Published by Henry Holt & Co. (New York 2016)
    • 583 pages
    • ISBN 978-1-250-30485-8
    • Available here
    • First edition 2016: hard back, e-book, audio
    • Second print 2018: paperback
    • Translated to Farsi, Arabic and Mandarin
  • Reviews
    “Mr. Cooper’s work is thoroughly researched and documented; it is also highly readable and does justice to the tragic grandeur of his subject.”
    USA Today
    “Engaging… [A] sympathetic, nuanced portrait. A convincing narrative about who the [shah] was and the dynamics that led to his downfall.”
    Washington Post
    “Riveting… Based on various documentary sources as well as impressive access to royalists, revolutionaries, Queen Farah Pahlavi, and various US officials, this thorough work is immensely detailed yet readable and continuously engaging.”
    Publishers Weekly
    “A must-read for anyone looking to understand Iran.”
    Manhattan Book review
    "This detailed attempt to rehabilitate the shah looks back at Iranian history and the 1979 revolution with fresh eyes.”
    New York Times Book Review, Editor's Choice
    “Mesmerizing… Cooper is fair and factual… an amazing new account of how a modernizing monarch of 37 years led his country from impoverished obscurity into prosperity and power…”
    “[Cooper] delves into the life of the leader who believed firmly in the separation of church and state and who seemed stern and humorless to the public yet was a devoted father of five children… A thorough new appraisal of an enigmatic ruler who died believing his people still loved him.”
    Kirkuk Reviews (starred review)
  • Description

    Recent instability in the Middle East has led Iranians and scholars to reexamine the infamous legacy of the last Emperor of Iran. Mohammad Reza Pahlavi has been widely denounced as a brutal and corrupt dictator, but he arguably launched Iran onto the world stage as a modern state. In this deeply human portrait, Andrew Scott Cooper illuminates one of the twentieth century’s most complicated personalities.

    The Fall of Heaven gives us exclusive access to the Shah’s widow, Empress Farah, and other members of the Pahlavi family, as well as the men who deposed them––namely Iran’s first president, Abolhassan Banisadr. Set alongside first person remembrances of White House officials, American diplomats, and civilians living in Tehran, these accounts of royals and revolutionaries take us from the Shah’s lavish palace in Tehran to the back alleys of Beirut, where Islamist revolutionaries plotted the regime’s overthrow. Both epic and intimate, The Fall of Heaven re-creates the final days of Iran’s ruling family, the deposition of which still affects the Middle East today.

The Oil Kings

How the US, Iran and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East

The Oil Kings cover
  • Information
    • Published by Simon & Schuster & Co. (New York 2011) and One World (Oxford 2011)
    • 530 pages
    • ISBN 978-1-4391-5518-9
    • Available here
    • First edition 2011: hard back, e-book, audio
    • Second edition 2012: paperback
    • Translated to Farsi, Arabic and Mandarin
  • Reviews
    “Unquestionably the best historical record of the Middle East energy crisis.”
    Defense & Foreign Affairs Strategic Policy Journal
    “Incredibly well researched… [with] significant insight into one of the most important periods in the American relationship with petroleum…The Oil Kings adds depth and nuance to the event that defined the end of the 20th century and very likely the start of the 21st… Excels by virtue of focus, discipline, and original research…[and] adds crucial human texture to the historical record.”
    The Christian Science Monitor
    “A compelling chronicle of American involvement with Middle East petroleum states.”
    The Los Angeles Times
    “Cooper skillfully mines previously classified documents to make clear that the high-profile inmates were running the foreign-policy asylum.”
    The Philadelphia Inquirer
    “A very detailed and fascinating narrative history of selected US-Iranian-Saudi relations during a short but extremely turbulent period three-and-a-half decades ago.”
    The Middle East Journal
  • Description

    While America struggles with a recession, oil prices soar, revolution rocks the Middle East, European nations risk defaulting on their loans, and the world teeters on the brink of a possible global financial crisis. This is not a description of the present, however, but the 1970s. In The Oil Kings, Andrew Scott Cooper tells the story of how oil came to dominate US domestic and foreign policy.

    Drawing on newly declassified documents and interviews with some of the key figures of the time, including former US secretary of defense James Schlesinger and former US national security adviser Brent Scowcroft, Cooper follows the political posturing and backroom maneuvering that led the US to switch to OPEC as its main supplier of oil from the Shah of Iran, a loyal ally and leading customer for American weapons. The subsequent loss of US income destabilized the Iranian economy, while the US embarked on a long relationship with with the autocratic Saudi kingdom that continues to this day.

    Brilliantly reported and filled with astonishing revelations – including how close the US came to sending troops into the Persian Gulf to break the Arab oil embargo and how US officials offered to sell nuclear power to the Shah – The Oil Kings is the history of an era that we thought we knew, an era whose momentous reverberations still influence events at home and abroad today.


Andrew Scott Cooper, Ph.D, is a historian, analyst and the author of two books on the history of the modern Middle East. His first book, The Oil Kings: How the US, Iran and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East (2011), provided readers with a richly detailed account of America’s relations with oil producers Iran and Saudi Arabia during the 1970s energy crisis. His second book, The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran (2016), explored the rise and downfall of the Shah of Iran from the perspectives of family members, courtiers, revolutionaries and diplomats. Both books were republished in paperback, translated into Farsi, Arabic and Mandarin, and optioned by entertainment production companies.

Born and raised in Wellington, New Zealand, Dr. Cooper moved to the United States in the 1990s where he began his career as a researcher and writer working on the issue of landmines and unexploded ordnance at the United Nations and Human Rights Watch, a founding member of the International Campaign to Ban Landmines, the grass-roots organization awarded the 1997 Nobel Prize for Peace. Cooper returned to New York in the early 2000s where he began the part-time research project on pre-revolutionary Iran that eventually morphed into two history books, a doctorate in the history of US-Iran relations, and two years at Columbia University as an adjunct assistant professor. In 2017, he moved to Brussels to start a research and writing consultancy and continue his history research.

Cooper has been interviewed many times and spoken before audiences at a variety of institutions including the Nixon and Ford presidential libraries, the New York Council on Foreign Relations, US Central Command, Third Army, at Fort Shaw Air Force Base, and Al Mustafa University in Qom, Iran. His articles, essays and research have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Economist, The Guardian and The Los Angeles Times.

Cooper holds a Ph.D in the history of US-Iran relations (Victoria University, 2012), a masters degree in journalism (Columbia University, 1994), and a masters degree in strategic studies (University of Aberdeen, 2008). He completed a short-term sabbatical at the University of Al-Mustafa in Qom, Iran, in 2013.

Public Speaking

KADOC Documentation and Research Center on Religion, Culture and Society, University of Leuven, Belgium, March 26, 2019.
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Ann Arbor, May 15, 2017.
US Department of State Ralph Bunche Library, Washington, DC, February 28, 2017.
Columbia University Middle East Seminar, New York, NY, September 28, 2016.
Richard M. Nixon Presidential Library, Los Angeles, CA, September 19, 2016.
Council on Foreign Relations, New York, NY, June 6, 2016.
New York Republican National Women's Club, New York, NY, March 11, 2016.
American-Iranian Council (AIC), New York, NY, February 8, 2016.
Columbia University Middle East Seminar, NY, January 21, 2015.
Georgetown University, Washington, DC, November 13, 2014.
British Petroleum, London, September 8, 2014.
Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism, NY, April 26, 2014.
US Central Command, Third Army, Fort Shaw Air Force Base, SC, January 2014.
Qom Association of Political Scientists, Iran, July 2013.
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, Ann Arbor, MI, September 2011.

Articles and Essays

“Saudi Arabia’s First Step is Admitting It Has an Oil Problem,” Foreign Policy, June 7, 2016.
“How Saudi Arabia Turned Its Greatest Weapon on Itself,” New York Times, March 13, 2016.
“Is Putin's Demise Spelled Out in New York's Real Estate Listings?" Foreign Policy, February 11, 2015.
“General Huyser’s Secret Orders,” Guardian, February 11, 2015.
“Why Would the Saudis Deliberately Crash the Oil Markets?” Foreign Policy, December 18, 2014.
“Bad Romance: The Curious Case of the Shah and the Neoconservatives,” Guardian, July 15, 2012.
“A Tale of Two Oil Shocks: Part II 2007-12,” Guardian, July 1, 2012.
“A Tale of Two Oil Shocks: Part I 1973-76,” Guardian, June 15, 2012.
“Iran, Saudi Arabia, and a Global Game of Risk,” Guardian, June 4, 2012.
“Iran’s Economy: Once More to the Precipice,” Guardian, May 17, 2012.
“The Oil Wars,” The Daily Beast, October 15, 2011.
“Showdown at Doha: The Secret Oil Deal That Helped Sink the Shah,” The Middle East Journal, Vol. 62, No. 4 (Autumn 2008).


© Andrew Scott Cooper
© Andrew Scott Cooper
© Andrew Scott Cooper
© Andrew Scott Cooper

Andrew Scott Cooper, Historian ©2018