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.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-07-16
- Reviewer: Staff
Tied to the October release of the political thriller film Argo (starring Ben Affleck as Mendez), this is a fast-paced account of a 1979 rescue operation during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979–1981. Iranian militants entered the American Embassy in Tehran and held dozens of Americans hostage for 444 days. Six diplomats managed to escape and fled to the Canadian ambassador’s home, avoiding discovery and possible execution by militants for two months. After a recap of the hostage situation at the American embassy, the narrative follows the six step-by-step as they moved through several hideout locations. CIA operative Mendez (Spy Dust), in charge of creating and maintaining myriad false identities and disguises for the CIA, relates, with the aid of journalist Baglio (The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcism), how he concocted a clever but risky plan to get the six Americans safely out of the country. Posing as a film producer, he set out to disguise the six as a Hollywood production crew scouting locations for a fake science fiction movie titled Argo: “It’s like Buck Rogers in the desert.” Details of this dangerous operation inject strong suspense and excitement into the closing chapters. Agent: Christy Fletcher. (Sept. 17)