A quarter century ago, a group of Iranian students swept into the United States embassy in Tehran, overpowering the Americans there and taking them hostage. The crisis that ensued would last for 444 days. It would define the Carter presidency and help give rise to the Reagan administration. It would begin as a rebellion against one brutal dictator and end with another in place. It was the turning point, the moment when radical Islam first rose up against America - the beginning of a clash that continues to define our times today.
Now, for the first time, drawing on unprecedented interviews with American, Iranian, and European participants, acclaimed historian David Harris tells the full story of these 444 days. At the center of it were three men who had come to power as outsiders and who were driven by a sense of divine right: the shah of Iran, President Jimmy Carter, and Ayatollah Khomeini. But this is not just a story of presidents and rulers; it is the story of hundreds of other people who played essential roles, including CIA agents, Iranian dissidents, White House officials, enigmatic French intermediaries, Special Forces operatives, Panamanian strongmen, and of course the hostages themselves.
This is a story that could not have been told until now. THE CRISIS utilizes groundbreaking discussions with American leaders from Carter on down, as well as previously classified documents and interviews with people in Europe and Iran who had never spoken in detail about their experiences during the hostage-taking. Harris's gripping narrative races from Washington to Tehran to Paris to Panama, tracking a dying shah, a flailing Carter, an ascending Khomeini, the disastrous Desert One rescue attempt, and the lives of the Americans held in blindfolds amid a revolution like none other.
With THE CRISIS, David Harris has written an essential work of modern history that is also a breathtaking narrative of passion, politics, and faith.
THE CRISIS was originally published by Little Brown in 2004.
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