November 1979, Iranian revolutionaries, many of them students,
stormed the American Embassy in Tehran and took
than sixty staff hostage. The attack
was condoned by the Ayatollah Khomeini
who, only months earlier, had formed a provisional
government after the exile of the shah, and
although several hostages were later released the majority remained
captive for 444 days.
Unbeknown to the revolutionaries six Embassy staff were outside of
the Embassy when it was attacked, and they managed to keep themselves
hidden until the Canadian Embassy gave
them refuge. The fact that they had avoided capture and that the
Canadians were now harbouring them had to be kept secret, but
everyone knew that it was only a matter of time before the
revolutionaries would flush them out.
Mendez, working in the disguise and extrication section of the CIA,
was given the job of getting the six Americans out of Iran. He knew
that his chances of success were extremely slim, but he was prepared
to try even if it meant that he could lose his life in the process.
He came up with the
of a film company producing a film ‘Argo’, and the six Americans
were to be Canadian film crew checking possible locations
for the film. Mendez hoped that the airport immigration authority
would accept the story – evident from all the forged paperwork –
that the Americans had only been in the country for a few days and
were now on their way elsewhere.
Photo of Antonio Mendez from
amount of background work that went into building up this story is
amazing, and from this point of view the book is extremely
interesting. However, excluding
are some nail-biting scenes,
could be the
is very mediocre,
be due to the fact
that there is
idea of his
impacts negatively on the story as a whole.
was followed almost
Since reading the book, I have
thankfully it does