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Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History Hardcover – September 13, 2012
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“Fresh and engaging…A solid choice for fans of thrillers and international intrigue.”
“[A] fast-paced account of a 1979 rescue operation during the Iran hostage crisis of 1979–1981…
Details of this dangerous operation inject strong suspense and excitement into the closing chapters.”
“One of the most daring and courageous clandestine operations during my career involved efforts to rescue Americans taken hostage in Tehran after our embassy was seized on November 4, 1979. Six Americans managed to escape the U.S. compound and flee to the Canadian embassy, where they were hidden. A very brave CIA officer, Tony Mendez, using commercial cover, entered Iran with false identities for the six and, using techniques that ought to remain secret so they can be used again, managed to get them out of Iran.”
—Robert M. Gates, former Director of the Central Intelligence Agency and former U.S. Secretary of Defense, in his book From the Shadows
“This is a fascinating story about how Tony Mendez and the CIA used a bit of technical expertise and a lot of daring and courage to rescue American hostages in Iran. Tony is emblematic of the extraordinary men and women of CIA. Most of their stories cannot be told—but fortunately, in ARGO, Tony has been able to lift the veil of secrecy—just a bit.”
—George J. Tenet, former director of Central Intelligence Agency
“James Bond’s Q comes to life. This gripping, true story of a white-knuckle operation by a little known part of the CIA reads like a thriller. Full of authentic detail and characters, of bravery and drama, it’s a must-read for all spy enthusiasts and CIA watchers.”
—Dame Stella Rimington, former general director, MI5, British Intelligence
“The CIA and Hollywood in cahoots, a painter turned spy, an impossible rescue mission with no guns and only one chance at success—ARGO has everything. This remarkable white-knuckle spy story is torn from the pages of real life, and will have you up past your bedtime to discover its thrilling endgame.”
—Eric Blehm, author of Fearless
“Forget your spy novels, here’s how this stuff really works: Two secret agents quietly enter the enemy camp, unarmed but for their wit and experience. Hiding in plain sight, they rescue six virtual hostages under the eyes of their captors, a covert operation seemingly devised in Central Casting. Now their story can be told – and it makes for one hell of read.”
—Peter Earnest, retired CIA officer and Executive Director, International Spy Museum
“This true spy story has it all: guile, audacity, and bravery in a struggle with a fanatic and lethal enemy, a crucial role played by a loyal ally, and a marvelous conspiracy with Hollywood.”
—R. James Woolsey, former director of the Central Intelligence Agency
“Artist-spy Tony Mendez paints a dramatic portrait of unlikely collaborators—Hollywood, the CIA and Canada—allied in the common cause of freedom. Mendez fills Argo with the drama, pressure and tension of one of CIA’s most spectacular rescue operations. ARGO is proof that espionage reality is more riveting than spy fiction.”
—Robert Wallace, former director, CIA Office of Technical Service
“Tony Mendez is a spy’s spy. His work saved my neck on numerous occasions. I laugh quietly to myself when I watch Hollywood’s version of disguise technology in today’s spy movies—because Tony did it better. What he did in the Argo operation was spine-tingling espionage at its very best.”
—James M. Olson, former director of CIA Counterintelligence
“ARGO is a must-read to understand how dangerous risks have been successfully managed by men and women like Tony Mendez operating in secrecy for our protection.”
—William H. Webster, former director, Central Intelligence and Federal Bureau of Investigation
About the Author
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.
Top Customer Reviews
If you see the movie Argo, this book will go in to some amazing and interesting details that the movie does not cover. It is good that Mendez gives some background on his craft - how agents are able to exfiltrate men and women from situations and countries where their lives are in danger.
There is also excellent insight to the mindset and the thinking of both the Iranian militants and the Americans, both the hostages and the U.S. government officials. The recounting of other similar exfiltrations lets the reader know what difficulties are faced by these operations. To compound matters in Argo, were the extreme conditions in Iran at the time. The step by step elements that went into this rescue of the 6 Americans that had been able to get out of the embassy are breathtaking. The escape in the book is not as dramatic as that which is presented in the movie, but is still an amazing feat.
There are good descriptions of Carter's failed rescue mission and the subsequent actions and events of Iran.
This is indeed a fascinating account and would be of interest to those who wish to learn more about recent history and a remarkable and disturbing time in history.
A dozen or so Americans managed to exit the embassy during the siege. Most were captured and brought back, but six ended up on the run. Eventually, they were sheltered by Canadian diplomats in their homes for weeks of boredom from nothing to do and terror at the risk of being discovered.
Antonio Mendez and others at the CIA created an outlandish scheme to explain why the six were in Iran and as cover to get them out. Even in the midst of a military crisis, Hollywood rolls on, and Hollywood execs are crazy enough to visit war-torn countries seeking places to film. Using a script for a science fiction movie project that had fallen through a few months earlier, the CIA created the elusion of a production company scouting locations in Iran.
The logistics of such an operation seem overwhelming. The book is thorough without bogging down. Without getting lost, I understood the incredible amount of coordination and attention to detail that was required. One of the parts that struck me had to do with acquiring Canadian passports. The six Americans were to pose as Canadians, and Mendez expected getting permission from Canada to create fake Canadian passports to be a major obstacle. Instead, on arriving in the office of a Canadian official, he and a colleague were astonished to discover that the Canadians had already done the background work necessary to make that happen.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting story, but could have used better editing. I didn't even realize the author had a cowriter. The cowriter/editor could have tightened up the writing considerably. Read morePublished 27 days ago by SG
My copy had a huge stain a crossed the top of the pages. Not sure if it's good or blood. I wish that each book had to be parked special.Published 1 month ago by Jared Moss
I liked it better than the movie, especially since I had lived there as a teenager.Published 2 months ago by shelley kincaid
A true-to-life thriller that's better than most fiction. Certainly a rewarding read.Published 2 months ago by Jack
Couldn' the put it down
Better than the movie which stuck fairly close to the book
This was a fast read for me. I liked following this operation from beginning to end and enjoyed learning how Hollywood helped to achieve the success of this difficult action. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Carmonita