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Our Man in Tehran: The True Story Behind the Secret Mission to Save Six Americans during the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Foreign Ambassador Who Worked with the CIA to Bring Them Home

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For the true story behind Argo, read Our Man in Tehran The world watched with fear in November 1979, when Iranian students infiltrated and occupied the American embassy in Tehran. The Americans were caught entirely by surprise, and what began as a swift and seemingly short-lived takeover evolved into a crisis that would see fifty four embassy personnel held hostage, most fo For the true story behind Argo, read Our Man in Tehran The world watched with fear in November 1979, when Iranian students infiltrated and occupied the American embassy in Tehran. The Americans were caught entirely by surprise, and what began as a swift and seemingly short-lived takeover evolved into a crisis that would see fifty four embassy personnel held hostage, most for 444 days. As Tehran exploded in a fury of revolution, six American diplomats secretly escaped. For three months, Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador to Iran—along with his wife and embassy staffers—concealed the Americans in their homes, always with the prospect that the revolutionary government of Ayatollah Khomeini would exact deadly consequences. The United States found itself handcuffed by a fractured, fundamentalist government it could not understand and had completely underestimated. With limited intelligence resources available on the ground and anti-American sentiment growing, President Carter turned to Taylor to work with the CIA in developing their exfiltration plans. Until now, the true story behind Taylor’s involvement in the escape of the six diplomats and the Eagle Claw commando raid has remained classified. In Our Man in Tehran, Robert Wright takes us back to a major historical flashpoint and unfolds a story of cloak-and-dagger intrigue that brings a new understanding of the strained relationship between the Unites States and Iran. With the world once again focused on these two countries, this book is the stuff of John le Carré and Daniel Silva made real.


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For the true story behind Argo, read Our Man in Tehran The world watched with fear in November 1979, when Iranian students infiltrated and occupied the American embassy in Tehran. The Americans were caught entirely by surprise, and what began as a swift and seemingly short-lived takeover evolved into a crisis that would see fifty four embassy personnel held hostage, most fo For the true story behind Argo, read Our Man in Tehran The world watched with fear in November 1979, when Iranian students infiltrated and occupied the American embassy in Tehran. The Americans were caught entirely by surprise, and what began as a swift and seemingly short-lived takeover evolved into a crisis that would see fifty four embassy personnel held hostage, most for 444 days. As Tehran exploded in a fury of revolution, six American diplomats secretly escaped. For three months, Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador to Iran—along with his wife and embassy staffers—concealed the Americans in their homes, always with the prospect that the revolutionary government of Ayatollah Khomeini would exact deadly consequences. The United States found itself handcuffed by a fractured, fundamentalist government it could not understand and had completely underestimated. With limited intelligence resources available on the ground and anti-American sentiment growing, President Carter turned to Taylor to work with the CIA in developing their exfiltration plans. Until now, the true story behind Taylor’s involvement in the escape of the six diplomats and the Eagle Claw commando raid has remained classified. In Our Man in Tehran, Robert Wright takes us back to a major historical flashpoint and unfolds a story of cloak-and-dagger intrigue that brings a new understanding of the strained relationship between the Unites States and Iran. With the world once again focused on these two countries, this book is the stuff of John le Carré and Daniel Silva made real.

30 review for Our Man in Tehran: The True Story Behind the Secret Mission to Save Six Americans during the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Foreign Ambassador Who Worked with the CIA to Bring Them Home

  1. 4 out of 5

    Patrick Nichol

    Our Man In Tehran by Robert Wright is fascinating, compelling and revelatory. It's a page-turner, including new information about just how cosy Ambassador Ken Taylor was with the U.S. Government during the Hostage Crisis. It's incredible that Taylor actually ran the CIA Iran station while operating our embassy, and hiding six American diplomats. If he'd been caught and accused of espionage, Taylor could've been a prisoner himself. Instead he, supported by the short-lived Joe Clark government, opted Our Man In Tehran by Robert Wright is fascinating, compelling and revelatory. It's a page-turner, including new information about just how cosy Ambassador Ken Taylor was with the U.S. Government during the Hostage Crisis. It's incredible that Taylor actually ran the CIA Iran station while operating our embassy, and hiding six American diplomats. If he'd been caught and accused of espionage, Taylor could've been a prisoner himself. Instead he, supported by the short-lived Joe Clark government, opted to rescue the "houseguests" with fake Canadian passports and cover stories. We already know the basics - all six were flown out safely on commercial aircraft posing as Canadian movie producers. Taylor closed the Canadian embassy and was feted as a hero all over the world. And Canadians travelling anywhere in the U.S. received rock star treatment. I received some of that generosity myself while serving with the Canadian Navy in Hawaii. I still have photos of hula dancers sporting a banner saying 'Mahalo Canada." Wright's book reads like a thriller, drawing on extensive documentation from U.S. and Canadian sources. Although Taylor agreed to pass intel onto Washington via his Ottawa cables, he was never a "paid informant." But he was the man calling the shots - even former CIA Director Stansfield Turner deferred to Taylor's threat assessments. Readers also gain a fresh insight into Clark's brief P.C. government. Although it lasted only 38 days, Clark and his External Affairs Minister Flora MacDonald performed expertly under terrific pressure. Clark approved of the houseguest rescue without hesitation, leaving MacDonald to coordinate with Taylor and the CIA. In fact, we now know Clark could keep a secret a secret and launch a rescue successfully. Remember, this is the same man the national media regularly ridiculed as a wimp, short on foreign affairs experience. That he acted decisively and discreetly is noted well by Wright. What is also clear is the opportunism of Pierre Trudeau, then Leader of the Opposition. Although Trudeau was briefed on the houseguest mission, he refused to stop hammering away at Clark in Question Period. Wright quotes MacDonald and other sources who said they were mystified by Trudeau's attitude. Our Man in Tehran should be required reading for students of recent Canadian history. I heartily recommend it.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Celia

    I decided to try and educate myself on my commute, since otherwise I'll never learn anything about anything. This was easy to listen to! I had liked the movie (Argo) when I saw it in school, and it was cool to hear the story again. This version focuses a LOT more on the history of the conflict and the resolution, my knowledge of the middle east is almost nonexistent, so it was cool to hear basically the whole history of Iran. Plus, I had no idea they did so much running around trying to escape be I decided to try and educate myself on my commute, since otherwise I'll never learn anything about anything. This was easy to listen to! I had liked the movie (Argo) when I saw it in school, and it was cool to hear the story again. This version focuses a LOT more on the history of the conflict and the resolution, my knowledge of the middle east is almost nonexistent, so it was cool to hear basically the whole history of Iran. Plus, I had no idea they did so much running around trying to escape being taken hostage, and it was neat hearing how all the different embassies played into things. It was a little long (I think I had the unabridged version) but I was sad when I finished and had to go back to talk radio until I make it to the library again. Note: Went with three stars, but I think a lot of that could be because I was driving when listening, so it was hard to pick out specific really cool things about this book that I remember.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Tina Siegel

    Like a lot of people, I suspect, my introduction to Ken Taylor and the Canadian Caper was Argo. I was totally taken with the movie, even though I knew it was inaccurate, so I'm a bit embarassed by how long it took me to get to Our Man in Tehran. But I finally did. For anyone who isn't familiar: Iranian militants took the American embassay, and about 50 staffers, hostage in late 1979. Six embassy staff escaped and, after some bouncing around, ended up hiding in the Canadian ambassadors villa, and Like a lot of people, I suspect, my introduction to Ken Taylor and the Canadian Caper was Argo. I was totally taken with the movie, even though I knew it was inaccurate, so I'm a bit embarassed by how long it took me to get to Our Man in Tehran. But I finally did. For anyone who isn't familiar: Iranian militants took the American embassay, and about 50 staffers, hostage in late 1979. Six embassy staff escaped and, after some bouncing around, ended up hiding in the Canadian ambassadors villa, and the house of one Canadian staffer. They ended up staying there for three months, while Ambassador Taylor passed vital intelligence back to Ottawa and, later, Washington. He was vital to planning and executing the exflitration that eventually got the six hide-aways safely home. I'm not overly-inclined to be kind to America, generally, these days, which I realize is unfair. But it has to be said that, for whatever else has gone in in that country in the last forty years, nobody ever forgot what Ken Taylor did until the day he died last year. I appreciate that. As for the book: Wright goes to a lot of trouble to lay the groundwork for the crisis, and it is necessary. We need to know how things go so bad, and why. But I felt like he lingered a little too long on the preamble. As much as I enjoy the nitty-gritty details of international diplomacy - and I'm not being sarastic, I really do - my eyes started glazing over at a certain point. I would have prefered a more concise history, and a more extensive examination of the actual crisis. My other issue was the way Wright hops back and forth between time and narrators. It gets a little confusing, particularly since he spends a fair bit of time discussing obscure memebers of the Cater administration. I got a little lost in it all. On the other hand, I thought his portraits of Joe Clark and Jimmy Carter were sympathetic and insightful. I got the sense that he feels a bit sorry for those two, that they got a raw deal in terms of history, and wanted to right that wrong. Equally clear is his disdain for Pierre Trudeau, or at least Trudeau's public handling of the hostage crisis. I've always been a fan of Trudeaus, and I was quite disturbed by the things he (apparently deliberately) did - I'm definitely going to look a bit deeper into this part of the book. In terms of the prose, there's not much to say. It's perfectly competent, generally clear, and it moves the story forward. Other than that, it feels like very standard, slightly academic writing. So would I recommend this book? To history buffs, sure. To anyone else, probably not.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ciera

    I think my favorite part about books written by white men about Iran is the fact that they conveniently leave out actual Iranian narratives. I would be interested to hear the real story about how those same embassy personnel in conjunction with the CIA and UK government + MI5 literally overthrew Iran's fledgling democracy so they could get cheap oil and created this very situation that they blame the Iranians for. I'd be interested to know how the people of Iran actually helped the hostages, and I think my favorite part about books written by white men about Iran is the fact that they conveniently leave out actual Iranian narratives. I would be interested to hear the real story about how those same embassy personnel in conjunction with the CIA and UK government + MI5 literally overthrew Iran's fledgling democracy so they could get cheap oil and created this very situation that they blame the Iranians for. I'd be interested to know how the people of Iran actually helped the hostages, and the students themselves who took over the embassy were basically kids who admitted their folly and just needed someone to help them escape the desperate situation the Americans had put them in. I wanna hear how America at once villainized these young kids and condemned them to a fate worse than death while maintaining their own innocence in this abhorrent situation we found ourselves in. I want to know how the Americans, and only the Americans, were responsible for what happened during those 444 days. Wait I don't have to hear it my family actually lived it lol my grandfather was there on the streets of Tehran when the CIA destroyed his country. But no one asked me. Or any Iranian, for that matter. Because America always was, still is, and always will be a xenophobic white supremacist state that regularly keeps brown countries down in the dirt while they step on our backs to rise.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Paige

    It's history written like a fast-paced novel... that's my kind of history. It's history written like a fast-paced novel... that's my kind of history.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Adam

    This is an excellent book that gives a broad overview of the 1979 Iran-Hostage crisis, historical relations with Iran prior to the revolution, and how diplomats from both America and Canada strived to release the hostages. Above all, this book is the story of Canadian diplomat Ken Taylor and how he covertly provided safe haven to six Americans who fled the besieged American embassy in November 1979. Taylor served as a conduit to the C.I.A. and President Jimmy Carter by relaying confidential infor This is an excellent book that gives a broad overview of the 1979 Iran-Hostage crisis, historical relations with Iran prior to the revolution, and how diplomats from both America and Canada strived to release the hostages. Above all, this book is the story of Canadian diplomat Ken Taylor and how he covertly provided safe haven to six Americans who fled the besieged American embassy in November 1979. Taylor served as a conduit to the C.I.A. and President Jimmy Carter by relaying confidential information about the situation in Tehran while devising a plan with the C.I.A. to send his six "house guests" home. This book is a useful and detailed source on the 1979 Iran-Hostage crisis and it is largely told from the perspective of how Canada heroically played a major role diplomatically that carried significant risk. America has a wonderful neighbor in Canada and this book should serve as a historical reminder about the ties shared and sacrifices made.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Joe

    Very thorough history of the Iran Hostage Crisis and particularly the Canadian Caper. This is a well-crafted treatment of the subject, although at times, particularly in the beginning, it can drag a bit. Still a very good book, but perhaps didn't require quite as much of a deep dive into the background of Iranian history. That aside, Mr. Wright has obviously done his homework and then some, and does a good job of depicting one of the crazier incidents in American foreign diplomacy. Very thorough history of the Iran Hostage Crisis and particularly the Canadian Caper. This is a well-crafted treatment of the subject, although at times, particularly in the beginning, it can drag a bit. Still a very good book, but perhaps didn't require quite as much of a deep dive into the background of Iranian history. That aside, Mr. Wright has obviously done his homework and then some, and does a good job of depicting one of the crazier incidents in American foreign diplomacy.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer C.

    I was in college at the time of the Iranian hostage crisis. I never realized there were six other hostages hiding in Tehran. This was a fascinating look at their history and the behind the scenes political wrangling that ultimately freed them.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Pete Zilla

    The Canadian side of the famous ‘Argo’ story that details the courage of Ambassador Taylor and his staff and what it took to get the ‘houseguests’ home. A good read for diplomatic and intelligence folks.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Mark

    Kudos to Canada! Having lived through the period of the Iran hostage crisis many years ago this book has been a good test of recall. There are also many areas of interesting information and other sources to help the reader get a better understanding of the crisis.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen Hagen

    Our Man in Tehran, by Robert Wright, narrated by Mike Chamberlain, produced by Blackstone Audio, downloaded from audible.com. The True Story behind the Secret Mission to Save Six Americans during the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Foreign Ambassador Who Worked with the CIA to Bring Them Home. The world watched with fear in November 1979, when Iranian students infiltrated and occupied the American embassy in Tehran. The Americans were caught entirely by surprise, and what began as a swift and seeming Our Man in Tehran, by Robert Wright, narrated by Mike Chamberlain, produced by Blackstone Audio, downloaded from audible.com. The True Story behind the Secret Mission to Save Six Americans during the Iran Hostage Crisis and the Foreign Ambassador Who Worked with the CIA to Bring Them Home. The world watched with fear in November 1979, when Iranian students infiltrated and occupied the American embassy in Tehran. The Americans were caught entirely by surprise, and what began as a swift and seemingly short-lived takeover evolved into a crisis that would see 54 embassy personnel held hostage, most for 444 days. As Tehran exploded in a fury of revolution, six American diplomats secretly escaped. For three months, Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador to Iran - along with his wife and embassy staffers - concealed the Americans in their homes, always with the prospect that the revolutionary government of Ayatollah Khomeini would exact deadly consequences. The United States totally misunderstood and underestimated the fundamentalists taking over the government. With limited intelligence and resources available on the ground and anti-American sentiment growing, President Carter turned to Taylor to work with the CIA in developing their exfiltration plans. Until recently, the true story behind Taylor's involvement in the escape of the six diplomats and the Eagle Claw commando raid has remained classified. In Our Man in Tehran, Robert Wright takes us back to a major historical flashpoint in recent history. The strained relationship between the United States and Iran, in some ways paralleling recent problems between the two countries, makes for compelling reading.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Glenda

    Fascinating and thorough account of the six Americans who escaped the American embassy takeover in Iran in 1979. Their harrowing experiences and eventual escape are a part of our history that has been overshadowed by the hostages that were in captivity for over 400 days. This book includes the stories of all the Canadians, Iranians and Americans who made their stay in hiding more tolerable and helped them out of Iran. It is a fascinating read on foreign relations, the history of Canadian-America Fascinating and thorough account of the six Americans who escaped the American embassy takeover in Iran in 1979. Their harrowing experiences and eventual escape are a part of our history that has been overshadowed by the hostages that were in captivity for over 400 days. This book includes the stories of all the Canadians, Iranians and Americans who made their stay in hiding more tolerable and helped them out of Iran. It is a fascinating read on foreign relations, the history of Canadian-American ties, and the true story behind the movie ARGO. The quote that has really stuck with me is from the Ayatollah Khomeini in response to a possible American military rescue mission at the embassy. "Our youth have announced that is such a thing[an attack] happened they would destroy all the hostages together with the embassy," he said. "We would not be able to restrain our youty because o an upsurge of their feelings. Let [the Americans] try and we shall wipe them out. We shall die but we shall kill them as well" Wow! Our collective reaction to this and subsequent negative interactions has been to remember the fanatical leader's comments, not the amazing efforts of the Iranian people who risked their lives to preserve and aid the Americans. I would not want to be aligned with many comments made by American leaders and will strive to separate political rhetoric and inflated threats from the real heart of the people.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

    This is the story of the rescue of six Americans who were not in the American embassy when the radical students took it over and took 50 Americans hostage under abysmal conditions, contrary to international law, when the shah was deposed and Ayatollah Khomeini came to power and established Iran as an Islamic Republic. The six came under the protection of the Canadian embassy, with the heroic ambassador from Canada to Iran, Ken Taylor, making wise but gutsy decisions at the risk of the safety of This is the story of the rescue of six Americans who were not in the American embassy when the radical students took it over and took 50 Americans hostage under abysmal conditions, contrary to international law, when the shah was deposed and Ayatollah Khomeini came to power and established Iran as an Islamic Republic. The six came under the protection of the Canadian embassy, with the heroic ambassador from Canada to Iran, Ken Taylor, making wise but gutsy decisions at the risk of the safety of the Canadians in Iran. Of course he had help, but he consistently did the right and smart thing for Canada, the United States, and the American "houseguests" on his own initiative and responsibility. Much of what happened at the time was kept secret lest it endanger the hostages at the embassy, who were not released until some time later. The author does a good job of putting things in historical context for those of us who don't remember all the details. He has the benefit of interviews with many important players, including Ambassador Taylor, and the diaries of President Jimmy Carter, which were published recently. This is real-life suspense--a page-turner in places--and worth the time as an interesting and read and a brush-up on this era of history.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dawn

    A very readable and unfortunately coherent, retelling of the Iranian hostage crisis during Carter's administration. The author is Canadian, the book was first published in Canada and the focal point of the book is the efforts of the Canadian embassy staff, particularly Ambassador Ken Taylor, behind the scenes to keep six Americans who had avoided being taken hostage safe and provide information regarding the political atmosphere to the US administration. There's a nice lead in that quickly outli A very readable and unfortunately coherent, retelling of the Iranian hostage crisis during Carter's administration. The author is Canadian, the book was first published in Canada and the focal point of the book is the efforts of the Canadian embassy staff, particularly Ambassador Ken Taylor, behind the scenes to keep six Americans who had avoided being taken hostage safe and provide information regarding the political atmosphere to the US administration. There's a nice lead in that quickly outlines the history of the US, British and Soviet Union influences in Iran. I'd forgotten too that the Soviets invaded Afghanistan while the hostages were held. It's infuriating to read this, recall the outrage at the time and yet realize that we (the US) seem to have learned and remember nothing from that experience. Pete Seeger said it best with "When will we ever learn?" and he took inspiration from a Cossack marching song. So maybe it should be "when will we learn" instead. Never? Reading this, and recalling that on 9/11 Canada quickly allowed US flights to land without much whooha, I wonder if we appreciate our alliance with them as much as we should. Highly recommend this, particularly if your knowledge of Iranian history is a little sketchy.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    Great description of the Canadian efforts, in particular Ambassador Taylor, to support the US during the Iran Hostage crisis. The book lays out the context for Canadian-Iranian relations, the activities Taylor and others did on behalf of the US, like directly collecting intelligence for the failed Eagle Claw rescue operation. It gets a little dry at times, but is pretty riveting. Things I didn't know - the US embassy in Tehran was about 23 acres. People inside the Iranian government knew there we Great description of the Canadian efforts, in particular Ambassador Taylor, to support the US during the Iran Hostage crisis. The book lays out the context for Canadian-Iranian relations, the activities Taylor and others did on behalf of the US, like directly collecting intelligence for the failed Eagle Claw rescue operation. It gets a little dry at times, but is pretty riveting. Things I didn't know - the US embassy in Tehran was about 23 acres. People inside the Iranian government knew there were US diplomats who escaped from the students. The Embassy takeover wasn't supported by everyone in the government, but the Ayatollah did (eventually). Argo, the movie, simplifies the facts, so there were more than 6 not picked up during initial takeover of the embassy, but ultimately only 6 were not picked up. 3 diplomats, including the charge, we're at the ministry of foreign affairs and had regular diplomatic contact with other ambassadors up until the 6 were smuggled out of Iran and the account appeared in the news. I definitely recommend the book.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jean-Paul Adriaansen

    In November 1978, Iran dumbfounded the international diplomatic scene when students overrun the American Embassy and took nearly the whole staff hostage with the support of their spiritual, religious, and de facto political leader, Ayatollah Khomeini. Six Americans were able to avoid being captured and found refuge in the Canadian Embassy. They were saved and finally smuggled out of Iran thanks to the brave actions of Ken Taylor, the Canadian Ambassador. While the CIA failed to see the writing on In November 1978, Iran dumbfounded the international diplomatic scene when students overrun the American Embassy and took nearly the whole staff hostage with the support of their spiritual, religious, and de facto political leader, Ayatollah Khomeini. Six Americans were able to avoid being captured and found refuge in the Canadian Embassy. They were saved and finally smuggled out of Iran thanks to the brave actions of Ken Taylor, the Canadian Ambassador. While the CIA failed to see the writing on the wall (where everyone else knew what was going on), Ken Taylor was basically the only one who could deliver President Carter useful information. His actions in the midst of the Iranian fury, the actions of the Canadian government, the behavior of the President and his advisers, the silencing of the press - all of this is so interesting and in the same time so relevant to the current situation in Iran that this book became a high level non-fiction thriller.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sean Kottke

    I picked this up as prelude to seeing Argo later this fall (and possibly reading the upcoming tie-in book by the agent who conceived the scheme). What I got was a detailed - and very timely - discussion of the history of Iranian-American relations, an international relations tragedy if ever there was one. The story moves at a fast clip, and while I did get lost in the sea of diplomats' names, the main thrust of the historical narrative remained strong, thanks to the excellent focus on the activi I picked this up as prelude to seeing Argo later this fall (and possibly reading the upcoming tie-in book by the agent who conceived the scheme). What I got was a detailed - and very timely - discussion of the history of Iranian-American relations, an international relations tragedy if ever there was one. The story moves at a fast clip, and while I did get lost in the sea of diplomats' names, the main thrust of the historical narrative remained strong, thanks to the excellent focus on the activities of Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor. The Argo affair is actually a pretty brief portion of the book, reflecting the degree to which back story and careful preparation are critical to the success of such operations. Having seen some of the artifacts from this operation at the International Spy Museum, I got a kick out of reading an extended account of this real-life spy operation, and my appetite is whetted for the movie!

  18. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    As a citizen of both Canada and the US, I almost *had* to read this book, but diplomacy has always fascinated me anyways, and real-life 'spy' stories with happy endings are much better than novels. It's always encouraging to see that people can work together when it has to be done, and that occasionally self-interest doesn't win out: Although the Canadians were the ones who ultimately sheltered the 'houseguests', they had plenty of help from the Danes and New Zealanders, and in a more limited bu As a citizen of both Canada and the US, I almost *had* to read this book, but diplomacy has always fascinated me anyways, and real-life 'spy' stories with happy endings are much better than novels. It's always encouraging to see that people can work together when it has to be done, and that occasionally self-interest doesn't win out: Although the Canadians were the ones who ultimately sheltered the 'houseguests', they had plenty of help from the Danes and New Zealanders, and in a more limited but still risky way, the Germans and Swedes independently stepped up. Even a handful of Khomeini's people did what they could behind the scenes, not least those who knew what was going on and chose to say nothing. It was remarkable all round, and it makes a great read.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Paula

    It was interesting to read this book after reading ARGO. That book was strictly about the exfiltration operation for the 6 US houseguests. Our Man in Tehran was much more extensive in it's scope. This book gave a thorough but concise background of Iran under the Shah's rule & downfall and the ensuing governments in Iran, and the problems faced by President Carter and Joe Clark in the Canadian government. This book then related the story of the exfiltration operation, but it was part of a bigger It was interesting to read this book after reading ARGO. That book was strictly about the exfiltration operation for the 6 US houseguests. Our Man in Tehran was much more extensive in it's scope. This book gave a thorough but concise background of Iran under the Shah's rule & downfall and the ensuing governments in Iran, and the problems faced by President Carter and Joe Clark in the Canadian government. This book then related the story of the exfiltration operation, but it was part of a bigger story, putting the escape in a historical perspective. I worried that this book would seem repetitive, after reading ARGO, but that wasn't the case at all, and I found this book very informative, giving a good picture of the whole Iranian hostage crisis, including the lead-up the aftermath.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ellin

    An impressive and thought provoking book! This was a fascinating story of what took place behind the scenes during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. There was a lot I didn't recall including the story of the Americans who escaped capture and were secretly sheltered by the Canadian Embassy. This book makes one think about diplomacy, both the difficulties and importance of the job....after finishing this book, I think a great diplomat is worth his weight in gold and then some. If you like reading a An impressive and thought provoking book! This was a fascinating story of what took place behind the scenes during the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis. There was a lot I didn't recall including the story of the Americans who escaped capture and were secretly sheltered by the Canadian Embassy. This book makes one think about diplomacy, both the difficulties and importance of the job....after finishing this book, I think a great diplomat is worth his weight in gold and then some. If you like reading about history, I highly recommend this book.

  21. 5 out of 5

    David

    Very interesting and well paced. I'd rate it 4.5 stars if possible. The author provides a good background into U.S. and Iranian relations in the years before the hostage crisis as well as relationships between Iran and Israel and Iran and Canada. The story of the exfiltration of the six American diplomats is ultimately the main focus of the book and it's an interesting story. This book is an excellent companion to Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowden which focuses the attention on the hostages Very interesting and well paced. I'd rate it 4.5 stars if possible. The author provides a good background into U.S. and Iranian relations in the years before the hostage crisis as well as relationships between Iran and Israel and Iran and Canada. The story of the exfiltration of the six American diplomats is ultimately the main focus of the book and it's an interesting story. This book is an excellent companion to Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowden which focuses the attention on the hostages and their captors.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Glen Chern

    While the film 'Argo' attempts to simplify the exfiltratration of six US diplomats from Tehran, 'Our Man in Tehran' portrays a much more complex scenario in which Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor played such a significant role. Taylor and the Canadian government in Ottawa were equally courageous and committed in making sure the Americans got out alive. I applaud Robert Wright's account of the valuable role Taylor played and his commitment to keeping the CIA's involvement out of the post-rescue narr While the film 'Argo' attempts to simplify the exfiltratration of six US diplomats from Tehran, 'Our Man in Tehran' portrays a much more complex scenario in which Canadian Ambassador Ken Taylor played such a significant role. Taylor and the Canadian government in Ottawa were equally courageous and committed in making sure the Americans got out alive. I applaud Robert Wright's account of the valuable role Taylor played and his commitment to keeping the CIA's involvement out of the post-rescue narrative.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Heleen

    After seeing Argo I wanted the real story so I picked this book up from my local library. I was only four in 1979 so I really know nothing about this hostage crisis beyond that it happened. Robert Wright presents the events in a straightforward and concise way. He gives just enough background for a clear perspective but not so much that it's overwhelming. A bit dry at times, but worth it if the topic interests you. After seeing Argo I wanted the real story so I picked this book up from my local library. I was only four in 1979 so I really know nothing about this hostage crisis beyond that it happened. Robert Wright presents the events in a straightforward and concise way. He gives just enough background for a clear perspective but not so much that it's overwhelming. A bit dry at times, but worth it if the topic interests you.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Denise

    Written about Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador to Iran during the hostage crisis at the American embassy. The story about how he sheltered 6 US diplomats who hadn't been captured, but were being hunted, and the extensive arrangements he put together to get them out of Iran. It was interesting to learn the details of how the Shah was deposed and Komeni took over also. Great book! Written about Ken Taylor, the Canadian ambassador to Iran during the hostage crisis at the American embassy. The story about how he sheltered 6 US diplomats who hadn't been captured, but were being hunted, and the extensive arrangements he put together to get them out of Iran. It was interesting to learn the details of how the Shah was deposed and Komeni took over also. Great book!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Kyla Denae

    An interesting look at a rarely-seen part of the Iranian hostage crisis - the help we received from Canada to get six escaped diplomats out of the country. It's always interesting to look at something like this from the outside, since we Americans can get so hung up on certain details. This was well-written, and easy to read. So overall, very good. An interesting look at a rarely-seen part of the Iranian hostage crisis - the help we received from Canada to get six escaped diplomats out of the country. It's always interesting to look at something like this from the outside, since we Americans can get so hung up on certain details. This was well-written, and easy to read. So overall, very good.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jess

    Theme of this book: Canadians are awesome. (That's not a complaint.) A well-written look at a less known part of the hostage crisis in Iran, the fate of six Americans who managed to avoid being taken hostage, and the Canadians who worked secretly and tirelessly to get them home. The author has an almost hagiographic take on the Canadian Ambassador, Ken Taylor. Theme of this book: Canadians are awesome. (That's not a complaint.) A well-written look at a less known part of the hostage crisis in Iran, the fate of six Americans who managed to avoid being taken hostage, and the Canadians who worked secretly and tirelessly to get them home. The author has an almost hagiographic take on the Canadian Ambassador, Ken Taylor.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Chris Wilson

    Great book that provides the historical background of US-Iran relations and describes the conditions in Iran that led to the revolution. We were lucky to have Canada's Ambassador Ken Taylor to not only shepherd our 6 people out but to assist in so many ways during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. This is a must read for anyone interested in foreign policy and the Mideast. Great book that provides the historical background of US-Iran relations and describes the conditions in Iran that led to the revolution. We were lucky to have Canada's Ambassador Ken Taylor to not only shepherd our 6 people out but to assist in so many ways during the Iranian Hostage Crisis. This is a must read for anyone interested in foreign policy and the Mideast.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nancy

    Excellent. If you are listening to the audio book, a good companion is the Our Man in Tehran Canadian documentary film, adapted from the book. It's good to see the faces, then and now. The story was more affective hearing from what happened from the people who experienced the Iran hostage crisis. A big "Thank you" goes to everyone who helped get everyone home. Excellent. If you are listening to the audio book, a good companion is the Our Man in Tehran Canadian documentary film, adapted from the book. It's good to see the faces, then and now. The story was more affective hearing from what happened from the people who experienced the Iran hostage crisis. A big "Thank you" goes to everyone who helped get everyone home.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Ellen

    Spotted this on the display table at the library The storyline is how 6 US Embassy personnel escaped being captured by the Iranian students when the American Embassy was taken over. I put it on hold. Will update when I have read it.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Skip

    Finally I got to hear the story about what happened, and all that brought it about, in Iran, starting with the complicity of the US government. A good read for the information. It is well written for details.

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