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Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History by Dylan Baker,Antonio J Mendez

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Size Fb2 book: 1965 kb
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 felt today. But there's a little-known footnote to the crisis: six Americans escaped. And a midlevel agent named Antonio Mendez devised an ingenious yet incredibly risky plan to rescue them. Armed with foreign film visas, Mendez and an unlikely team of CIA agents and Hollywood insiders -- directors, producers, and actors -- traveled to Tehran under the guise of scouting locations for a fake film called Argo. While pretending to find the perfect backdrops, the team succeeded in contacting the escapees and smuggling them out of Iran without a single shot being fired.

Reviews (7)
This book narrates how Tony Mendez, a CIA agent, managed to rescue six American diplomats who were hiding in Tehran after the embassy was taken.

And that’s pretty much, there’s not a lot to add. What annoyed me the most, was a feeling I had once I was done with the book: the feeling that the whole 310 pages-long story could have been told in 50. The book is plagued with personal anecdotes and references of past CIA operations not related at all with the exfiltration from Tehran. In fact, the description in the back cover summarizes perfectly what happens in the book. The book description in Goodreads, is pretty much the book itself: “…six Americans escaped the embassy and hid within a city roiling with suspicion and fear. A top-level CIA officer named Antonio Mendez devised an ingenious yet incredibly risky plan to rescue them before they were detected). The rest are places, names, dates and details.

I didn’t like that the author, whenever he introduced a new character, includes a long (sometimes interesting, sometimes boring as hell) description of how they met, when had they worked before and under what circumstances, and a lot of unrelated details. Another thing that really bothered me: Mendez bragging about how no one in the world could had done a better job than him using humble sentences such as “… an internal nomination for the top fifty officers in the CIA’s first fifty years. Amazingly, I was selected as one of them”.

Anyway, the book has a fast pace and the author offers a good recollection of events. I was happy to know that I was reading how the CIA actually works and not how an author believes the CIA works.

Even though I didn’t like many things about this book, I did enjoy reading it, because of the events and the historical facts and not because of the narration nor the way the book is written. I believe the next time that I have nothing to do, watching Ben Affleck’s Argo, will be a good idea.
I read the book and saw the movie. Tony Mendez is a true life "James Bond". What was fascinating was how ordinary Mr. Mendez makes himself sound like -a wife and kids in the suburbs, an art studio etc. However, after reading the book, you realize how extraordinary he is. Think about how dangerous it was for an American CIA agent to go into Iran at that time or any time since then. In fact in was more dangerous than going into Moscow during the Cold War. In Moscow, you would likely be thrown out of the country but not kiled. In the the movie you see Ben Affleck take off his wedding ring before he goes. The book explains that if you were caught, you wanted your captors to think you were single. Imagine the implications. At the same time the sheer audacity of the cover story was something that you wouldn't believe could come out of a government agency. The movie over dramatizes the events that occur to make it a more interesting story; but what makes this caper so successful in reality was how boring it really was. The elaborate Hollywood backstory was necessary both in case the Iranians checked, but also to sell a sceptical White House on trying it and then to sell the hidden Americans that they could actually pull it off. Part of the message here is that disguise is more than makeup, it is the attitude to support it and the backstory was necessary to make people believe it was real. In many ways this was a true "Mission Impossible" mission in the spirit of the TV series. The intersection between Hollywood and the spy world was also amazing. While there wasn't as much action as there would be in a movie ( or in the movie Argo) the reality was every bit as dangerous and what distinguishes a true professional is pulling off without triggering any suspicion. The cooperation of the Canadians was also extraordinary. They actually held a secret session of parliament to allow the Americans to use false Canadian pasports (but only for the 6 refugee Americans, Mr. Mendez as a CiA agent had to supply his own fake Canadian passport). It is details like this that make this book so interesting for me.

ISBN: 1470832445

Rating: 4.5/5

Votes: 590

Other Formats: lrf txt lrf lrf

ISBN13: 978-1470832445

Publisher: Blackstone Pub; Unabridged edition (September 13, 2012)

Language: English

Subcategory: Politics & Government

Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History
Politics & Social Sciences
Author: Dylan Baker,Antonio J Mendez
Title: Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History