Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled off the Most Audacious Rescue in History

( 73 )

Overview

The true, declassified account of CIA operative Tony Mendez's daring rescue of American hostages from Iran that inspired the critically-acclaimed film directed by and starring Ben Affleck, and co-starring John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Bryan Cranston.

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 ...

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

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Overview

The true, declassified account of CIA operative Tony Mendez's daring rescue of American hostages from Iran that inspired the critically-acclaimed film directed by and starring Ben Affleck, and co-starring John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Bryan Cranston.

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. 

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
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)
Library Journal
In 1979, after Iranian militants stormed the American Embassy, creating a hostage situation that lasted 444 days, six Americans escaped. Then a CIA agent, Mendez arranged for their rescue by bringing in a bunch of Hollywood types, ostensibly to scout locations for a film they dubbed Argo but in fact to smuggle out the escapees. Yes, a real film about the rescue is forthcoming.
Kirkus Reviews
A real-life tale of intrigue and deception from a former CIA agent. When the U.S. embassy in Tehran was overrun in 1979, a small group of American employees escaped from an outlying building and took to the streets in an attempt to evade capture. Mendez (Spy Dust: Two Masters of Disguise Reveal the Tools and Operations that Helped Win the Cold War, 2002, etc.) was the CIA man who got them out of the country without being discovered. With the assistance of Baglio (The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist, 2009), he tells the story of the exfiltration from beginning to end. Though no one knew about the escapees in the immediate aftermath of the hostage crisis, Mendez was actively involved in drafting a plan to free the hostages. He gives an overview of the situation from the moment students entered the embassy grounds. With plenty of background information on how the CIA practices its deception, Mendez leaves no guesswork for readers. The difficulty of operations in hostile territory is clear, as is the work that goes into disguises. Occasionally, the story slows--real spies spend much more time in the office than fictional ones--but the writing remains fresh and engaging. The Hollywood portions of the book are peppered with recognizable names and unexpected spycraft, but they are a smaller part of the narrative than the subtitle indicates. While the eventual ending is no surprise, the journey is always enjoyable. A solid choice for fans of thrillers and international intrigue.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780670026227
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Publication date: 9/13/2012
  • Pages: 320
  • Sales rank: 420,359
  • Product dimensions: 6.42 (w) x 9.08 (h) x 1.12 (d)

Meet the Author

Antonio Mendez served in the CIA for twenty-five years and is a highly decorated CIA officer, one of the top 50 officers in its first 50 years and a recipient of the Intelligence Star for Valor for the ARGO operation. The author of The Master of Disguise and Spy Dust, Mendez lives with his family in rural Washington County, Maryland.

Matt Baglio has worked for a variety of news organizations and magazines. Author ofthe bestselling The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist, he divides his time between California and Italy.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1

1 Welcome to the Revolution 7

2 Picking Up the Pieces 27

3 Diplomacy 45

4 Nowhere to Run 61

5 Canada to the Rescue 87

6 Lessons from the Past 107

7 Assembling the Team 131

8 Cover Story 143

9 Hollywood 159

10 Studio Six 183

11 A Cosmic Conflagration 199

12 Getting Ready to Launch 213

13 On Location in Iran 231

14 Final Preparations 249

15 The Escape 265

16 Aftermath 279

Acknowledgments 299

Notes 303

Bibliography 309

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 73 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(33)

4 Star

(24)

3 Star

(7)

2 Star

(4)

1 Star

(5)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 73 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 17, 2012

    AFTER ENJOYING THIS FIRST RATE TRUE SPY THRILLER, YOU CAN CONCLU

    AFTER ENJOYING THIS FIRST RATE TRUE SPY THRILLER, YOU CAN CONCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:FIRST ,DEALING WITH IRAN IS A FOOLS ERRAND. SECOND, WE HAVE INCREDIBLE PEOPLE WHO WORK AT THE CIA LIKE MR. MENDEZ AND HIS STAFF, WHO RISK THEIR LIVES FOR ALL OF US. THIRD , THANK YOU CANADA. FOURTH, I WISH MR. MENDEZ CAN SHARE WITH ALL OF US THE OTHER STORIES OF THE CIA LIKE THIS AUDACIOUS ONE PORTRAYED IN THIS EXCELLENT BOOK,

    21 out of 29 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2012

    Recommend if espionage intrigues you

    This is a very well written account of an actual CIA scheme to exfiltrate 6 "house guests" from a hostile environment. The planning that goes behind the scenes is incredible. Mind-boggling to me what kind of technology is out there. I questioned revealing this information to the general public but I suspect it is common knowledge to those in the "business." It was good to hear something good about the CIA, which has seen some bad press over the years. As always, the book is better than the movie. I went on to read Antonio Mendez' Master of Disguise which was equally intriguing.

    13 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 22, 2012

    Fascinating

    Remarkable insight into the real world of the CIA. Hard to put down. Liked this book a bit more than Tony Mendez's Master of Disguise.

    7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013

    Great read - well done.

    Wanted to read before I saw the movie. Haven't found the time to do that yet....but I definitely will. Tears you up that people find themselves in these kinds of situations in this world.....glad there are good people to lend a hand for those trying times when there is no where left to turn. Thank you Canada once again.

    5 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    quick read

    nice short read. not surprisingly the movie was quite a bit different as i suspected. good insight into what actually happened during the dark days of American History. Brought back a lot of memories of how a weak leadership can fail the country.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 1, 2013

    its an OK story, but too bad it is historically inaccurate

    The author must have been sleeping through that crisis. he didn't know that the CIA played only a minor role in that escapade. The real hero was Ken Taylor, Canada's Ambassador to Iran at the time. And his staff also played super human roles as well. Canada's Parliament even went so far as to meet surreptitiously at a private setting to agree to provide the six Americans with false Canadian passports. The correct version would have been preferable. These facts were recently corroborated by President Jimmy Carter. But of course Americans prefer to belive in the heroics of Americans.

    4 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 14, 2013

    I Also Recommend:

    Fascinating and gut wrenching. I suggest Our Man in Tehran for

    Fascinating and gut wrenching. I suggest Our Man in Tehran for the story from the inside of the Canadian Embassy.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 27, 2012

    O.k. no lasting impression. Just anothe government story

    Nothing special

    4 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 10, 2012

    it's remarkable that these 6 survived at all given the open viol

    it's remarkable that these 6 survived at all given the open violence toward any american in iran then. it should be noted that there were a number of iranians that helped out, at risk of their own deaths, and made it possible for the americans to survive until the cia got in there and got them out. i wish there had been a similar story regarding the hostages. 444 days of abuse and terror at the hands of the ignorant young 'students' in iran who had zero understanding of their own history and blamed the americans for everything while believing the most ridiculous paranoid rumors about them. the ayatollah's in iran need to be removed by the people so they can get back to being a leading civilization again.

    4 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 2, 2013

    Not

    Boring

    2 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 30, 2012

    Excellent Book. Glad I read it!!

    Exciting story.

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 28, 2012

    What a Great Look at the CIA

    This is a fascinating book. Mr. Mendez career in the CIA and his detailing of the workings of the CIA make for an indepth view of operation that rescued the 6 Americans from Tehran. The movie really follows the the actual events that made this rescue a reality.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 31, 2013

    Great Read!

    This book was a great read. I couldn't put it down. I am sure there are parts that were not totally as it happened due to security preservation, but the glimpses into the operations of the various governments was thought provoking . Well worth reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 31, 2013

    It is written in first person viewpoint. Highly informative of our unseen It is written in first person view point, an example of our front line people......

    Very well presented, and a viewpoint to remember.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 29, 2013

    Great book!

    I couldn't put it down! If you like suspense, this is the best.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 20, 2013

    A Fantastic Read.

    Even though the reader knows from history how this story turns out, it is a suspenseful account. The couraqge ,ingenuity, and resources employed by the CIA is fabulous. The author captures the various personalities of the six embassy people rescued. I highly recommend Argo.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted March 18, 2013

    I was wicked excited about digging into this book but I must say

    I was wicked excited about digging into this book but I must say that at this point, I'm just going through the motions.  Three quarters of the way into a book and still introducing all the players - some of which do not really need their 3 pages of description - is a bit too long.  I'm a patient reader but I actually have been getting annoyed reading this.  I would just opt for the movie on this one.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 14, 2013

    Kill 'em dead

    What did i do?

    1 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 5, 2013

    Good read

    Finished this book in one day ... couldnt put it down

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 26, 2013

    An interesting read

    Even though this book has been made into a movie which I have not seen, I was curious how Argo really happened. There was a lot of detail about Iran, our government and what was happening in the counties at the time. The details involved to successfully pull off the rescue were amazing. The cover was so well done it was almost a letdown in the book for the lack of drama, but I am sure there was plenty of drama for the actual hostages during this time. Bravo to the CIA and Canada!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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