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

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  164 ratings  ·  32 reviews
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
ebook, 400 pages
Published January 11th 2011 by Other Press (first published January 13th 2010)
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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
It's history written like a fast-paced novel... that's my kind of history.
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
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 ...more
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
Kathleen Hagen
Our Man in Tehran, by Robert Wright, narrated by Mike Chamberlain, produced by Blackstone Audio, downloaded from

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
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 ...more
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
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 ...more
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 big ...more
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 ...more
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 ...more
David Quinn
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 ...more
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
The real story behind the movie "Argo".
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.
Massimo Monteverdi
Contrassegnato dal ritmo sincopato dell'action movie, questo resoconto dettagliato e molto documentato getta il lettore dentro la crisi degli ostaggi USA in Iran dopo la caduta dello Shah: 444 giorni di tira e molla insostenibile. Sullo sfondo, il ruolo decisivo della diplomazia canadese e dell'Ambasciatore Taylor in particolare: fu lui ad agevolare la fuga di 6 americani già raccontata in "Argo".
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
Stephen Holiday
At first I was bored by all the background the author was discussing. Now I realize how important it is to understand the context in which these decisions were made. Fascinating!
Yvonne Belanger
I actually didn't quite finish this book because we moved and it had to go back to the library. Definitely worth a read. Love the Canadian perspective on the Iranian revolution.
Argo missed some fascinating aspects of the Canadian embassy's houseguests. Robert Wright tells the captivating story of what really happened.
This books shares with us the feel of the times, the workings of diplomats and the machinations of governments. It is readable and informative.
Carol Hoenig
I gave my thoughts on this book on The Huffington Post:
Amazing what you aren't taught in history class. Engrossing story of one facet of the Iran Hostage Crisis.
Dan Rad
A very good insight into a very negative period in international relations.
Janet Shelton
Enjoyed reliving the history with much more information.
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