Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History
Antonio J. Mendez and Matt Baglio
Viking, 2012. 310 pages. Nonfiction.
Tehran, 1979. The shah has fled the country; the Ayatollah Khomeini has created an Islamic state; and, in November, the American Embassy is overrun by terrorists bent on forcing the US government to return the shah to Iran for justice, launching the horrific 444 day ordeal for those trapped inside that was seen around the world. But this is not their story. This is the story of 6 diplomats who, by some miracle, were able to escape the embassy undetected just as the terrorists were streaming in and were hidden by Canadian diplomats for months until they were extricated by the CIA and removed from Tehran under the noses of the Revolutionary Guard. The book is the foundation of the recent movie, Argo, which won a lot of awards in the industry.
If you pick up this book thinking it will be the action-packed movie, you are going to be disappointed. Mendez, the CIA operative who ran the entire extrication process, is very clinical in his explanation of the processes behind the rescue. If you pick up this book because you are interested in history, this is going to give you a lot of background information about a little-known incident in American history, as well as into how the CIA operated during this period. I found it absolutely fascinating.