The Translator book launch

The Translator:
Reflections on Iran, America and the Looming Crisis in the Middle East

The Jim Bryan story as told to Michael McCarthy

Personal note: I don’t normally recommend too many books, but I’ve had the pleasure of working for Jim’s wife for almost 4 years now. Jim is a very interesting man who has led a fascinating life.


Born in Iran in 1925, Jim Bryan (Motarjemi) immigrated to the U.S. in 1954. Jim is a former Iranian boxing champion, Bay Area radio and TV broadcaster, Persian Community organizer, and business man.

His friendships have included many famous acting, media sports and political figures such as the Shah of Iran, Lowell Thomas Junior, Wilt Chamberlain, former California Governor George Dukmejian, actors Lloyd Bridges, Jane Russell and Robert Culp, and many more fascinating people.

From the Preface:

“Newspaper headlines shout out the warnings: Iran may be developing weapons of mass destruction! Iran joins Iraq and North Korea as countries the American government has identified as the Axis of Evil! Iran is a threat to the peace and security of the planet! Iranian mullahs shout threats that their country will not be pushed around. Will Iran force the world powers to take action?”

“Iranian-American Jim Bryan relates the quintessential success story of a refugee from tyranny who came to America and gained the good life. With the Middle East prominent in American news, Jim’s life story becomes a must read for those interested in how Iranian leaders think, believe and act. Americans need to know about Iran, it’s ancient Persian culture, people, religions, geography and history.”

The Translator is simultaneously the tale of a unique person and an interpretation of Iranian culture and history. Jim Bryan’s amazing life story reads like a Hollywood script. A young boy from a small town in the desert evolves into a national boxing champion, with friends in high places. His gift for languages leads him to become a translator for important American figures like Lowell Thomas Jr. and Supreme Court Justice William O. Douglas.”

“Intrigue and mystery surround political events in the Iranian capital that later shake the world: the CIA engineers a coup that keeps the Shah on the Peacock throne, actions that later lead to the Iranian revolution in 1979 in which the American embassy is overrun, hostages taken and the U.S. embarassed before the world.”

“The young Jim Motarjemi is arrested and thrown into prison for reasons unknown. Was it because the handsome young man was dating Norman Schwartzkof’s daughter? Was it because he talked to Life Magazine about American involvement in Iran? Did the dreaded SAVAK secret police do the dirty deed as a warning? Or was it because the Shah’s own brother hated the handsome young man for stealing his beautiful girlfriend?”

“The young translator flees to Paris to study at the Sorbonne. Then it’s off to San Francisco in the fifties, where the “Paris of North America” is a crazy whirl of parties, dancing, nightclubs and celebrities. The young refugee becomes an actor and media star who forges personal friendships with Hollywood celebrities and famous sports figures.”

“Meanwhile, in the background, the Persian-American community splits into two camps; leftist radicals agitate for social change while the Shah visits America to build support for his dying regime. Jim tries to hold the Persian community together as a radio and TV host, but events spiral out of control.”

“Jim’s early success as a translator in Iran and his subsequent celebrity status in America allows him to speak with authority on relations between two totally different countries. This book is essential reading for anyone concerned about the direction the Middle East is headed, confused about the behavior of radical Iranian leaders, and worried what may happen next.”

The Translator reads as a suspense thriller, but the exotic backdrop only sets the stage for events to come. The Jim Bryan story is essential reading for those concerned about Middle Eastern events that may threaten the stability of the world.”

For more information:

Read previews of the book at

Purchase advance copies at

Contact Jim Bryan at (415) 884-2525.

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