Christopher de Bellaigue

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Christopher de Bellaigue (born 1971 in London) is a journalist who has worked on the Middle East and South Asia since 1994. His work mostly chronicles developments in Iran and Turkey.


De Bellaigue, who attended Eton College,[1] is from an Anglo-French background. He obtained a BA and MA in Oriental Studies from the University of Cambridge, where he was a student at Fitzwilliam College.[2] His first book, In the Rose Garden of the Martyrs: A Memoir of Iran, was shortlisted for the Royal Society of Literature's Ondaatje Prize. In 2007-2008, he was a visiting fellow at St Antony's College, Oxford, where he began work on his biography of the Iranian prime minister, Mohammad Mossadegh.

De Bellaigue is a frequent contributor to The Guardian, New York Review of Books, Granta, and The New Yorker, among other publications. He was formerly the Tehran correspondent for The Economist. He lives in London with his wife Bita Ghezelayagh, who is an Iranian architect, and two children.[3]

In 2012, de Bellaigue's book about Prime Minister of Iran Mohammad Mossadegh, Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup, was published.[4][5]

Rebel Land[edit]

De Bellaigue's 2009 book Rebel Land: Unraveling the Riddle of History in a Turkish Town is based largely on research he conducted in Varto, a small town in southeastern Turkey.[6] The book begins with a story of de Bellaigue's essay published in the New York Review of Books, whose allusion to the Armenian Genocide prompted a letter from the Harvard Professor James R. Russell accusing de Bellaigue of promoting denialist views, as well as criticism from the magazine's editor Robert Silvers.[6][7][8] Dismayed to realize that he had gotten his information on these events only from Turkish and pro-Turkish writers, de Bellaigue set out to find out the truth through his own research.[6][7] In his book de Bellaigue criticizes the Turkish historians who, he argues, have whitewashed the history surrounding the Armenian Genocide, and also "worries that 'a genocide fixation' has blinded both sides to all shades of gray".[6]

In a New York Times review, Dwight Garner calls the book "murky and uneven" and "as much memoir as proper history".[6] In another New York Times review, Joseph O'Neill writes that de Bellaigue investigates the situation on the ground "brilliantly and evenhandedly (if occasionally emotively). Analytically, however, he can be abrupt."[9] Reviewing Rebel Land in The Telegraph, Sameer Rahim called it "a fascinating book".[10]


  • De Bellaigue, Christopher (2005). In the rose garden of the martyrs : a memoir of Iran. New York: HarperCollins.
  • The Struggle for Iran (2007)
  • Rebel Land: Among Turkey's Forgotten People (2009)
  • Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup (2012)
  • The Islamic Enlightenment: The Modern Struggle Between Faith and Reason (2017)
  • — (22 February 2018). "Half-baked revolt in Iran". The New York Review of Books. 65 (3): 12, 14–15.


External links[edit]


  1. ^ de Bellaigue, Christopher (August – September 2016). "Eton and the making of a modern elite". 1843 Magazine. Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  2. ^ "Cambridge in America Books". Cambridge in America. 2010. Retrieved 30 November 2010.
  3. ^ "Diary". London Review of Books. 5 July 2001. Retrieved 27 August 2010.
  4. ^ Patriot of Persia by Christopher de Bellaigue – Review by James Buchan, The Guardian, 2 March 2012.
  5. ^ The New York Review of Books, 16 August 2012, "A Crass and Consequential Error," reviewing the book "Patriot of Persia: Muhammad Mossadegh and a Tragic Anglo-American Coup" by Christopher de Bellaigue.
  6. ^ a b c d e Garner, Dwight (3 March 2010). "A Look as the Snarled Past of Armenians and Turks". New York Times.
  7. ^ a b Christopher de Bellaigue (2010). Rebel Land: Unraveling the Riddle of History in a Turkish Town. Penguin. pp. 12–15.
  8. ^ Russell, James R. (9 August 2001). "Massacres of the Armenians". The New York Review of Books.
  9. ^ Joseph O'Neill (3 March 2010). "Turks, Kurds, Armenians: View From a Small Town". New York Times.
  10. ^ Sameer Rahim (7 May 2009). "Rebel Land: Among Turkey's Forgotten Peoples by Christopher de Bellaigue: review". The Telegraph.