The Associated Press has published a new book on a transformative business and civic leader who became the first prominent civilian executed in the 1979 Iranian Revolution.
“Titan of Tehran: From Jewish Ghetto to Corporate Colossus to Firing Squad - My Grandfather’s Life" is a deeply reported biography recounting the life and death of Habib Elghanian, a self-made industrialist and well-known figure in Iran’s Jewish community. It also brings Iran’s modern-day economic, political and social problems into focus.
Written by his granddaughter, former AP photo editor Shahrzad Elghanayan, the book reconstructs and chronicles Elghanian’s ascent from Tehran’s Jewish quarter – “the edge of the pit” – to his business success, which was instrumental in modernizing the country, to fatefully facing a firing squad. Parts of the book read like passages in a thriller, while exploring universal themes of loss and longing, belonging and identity.
“We are very proud to bring to light an in-depth accounting of the events that occurred before and after this injustice,” said Peter Costanzo, AP director of programming. “The author’s commitment to ensure her grandfather’s legacy is portrayed accurately and not forgotten is palpable and woven throughout the book.”
“Titan of Tehran” serves as a monument to a man who might have disappeared in the mists of history, even though his execution was reported worldwide on newspaper front pages and in broadcast news reports.
The book features a foreword by Pulitzer Prize winner and former AP correspondent Charles J. Hanley and more than 60 photographs from the AP Images archives, the author’s personal collection and other sources.
“Titan of Tehran” is now available wherever books are sold.