Friday, June 7, 2013


How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History

Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio

The true account of the 1979 rescue of six American hostages from Iran

On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the American embassy in Tehran and captured dozens of American hostages, sparking a 444-day ordeal and a quake in global politics still reverberating today. But there is a little-known drama connected to the crisis: six Americans escaped. And a top-level CIA officer named Antonio Mendez devised an ingenious yet incredibly risky plan to rescue them before they were detected. Disguising himself as a Hollywood producer, and supported by a cast of expert forgers, deep cover CIA operatives, foreign agents, and Hollywood special effects artists, Mendez traveled to Tehran under the guise of scouting locations for a fake science fiction film called Argo. While pretending to find the perfect film backdrops, Mendez and a colleague succeeded in contacting the escapees, and smuggling them out of Iran. Antonio Mendez finally details the extraordinarily complex and dangerous operation he led more than three decades ago. A riveting story of secret identities and international intrigue, Argo is the gripping account of the history-making collusion between Hollywood and high-stakes espionage. (from Netgalley)

My Thoughts

The debate I always have when dealing with a book-to-movie situation is this - do I read the book first and then see the movie? See the movie first and then read the book? Maybe read the book while trying to watch the movie?!?!?!?!

Since I really want to see the movie, I decided that I would read the book first and I am so glad I did. While I remember the Iran hostage crisis, I have to honestly say I had no idea that six people had escaped being taken hostage and where hiding out with the help of some folks with the Canadian embassy (THANK YOU CANADA!!!!).
This book reviewed the time period leading up to the hostage crisis, which was very helpful in understanding the circumstances under which the six Americans in hiding where trying to survive. Americans where not being held in kind regards and neither was anyone who was perceived as trying to help them. The author gave quite a bit of background regarding espionage and exfiltrations. It was quite an undertaking to make this a successful operation and I found the story to be very entertaining.

Many thanks to Penguin Group USA, via Netgalley, for allowing me to read this in exchange for an unbiased review.

Publish date: September 17, 2012.

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