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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) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
From Booklist, Copyright © American Library Association. Used with permission.
Beyond the drama of the 444-day ordeal of the American hostages held in the U.S. embassy in Iran that began in November 1979 is the little-known fact that six escaped to safety in the Canadian embassy. The six were smuggled out of Iran by a team of CIA operatives led by Mendez, who had been with the CIA 14 years, working in its disguise section. Mendez provides historical context for the hostage drama; the alliance between Iran and the U.S., aided by the CIA; and the revolution that brought down the shah of Iran. He details the art of misdirection used in espionage, in this case his disguise as a Hollywood producer scouting for locations for a fake sf movie called Argo. With the aid of CIA operatives, foreign agents, and Hollywood special-effects artists, Mendez led the intriguing mission to smuggle the six embassy staffers out of Iran. This is an amazing and dramatic story of intrigue and deception set against the backdrop of international tension.--Bush, Vanessa Copyright 2010 Booklist