Tanya's Reviews > Guests of the Ayatollah: The First Battle in America's War With Militant Islam

Guests of the Ayatollah by Mark Bowden
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Aug 21, 10

really liked it
bookshelves: history
Read from August 09 to 20, 2010

I found "Guests of the Ayatollah" a bit labored and lengthy, but at the same time I don't know what I would change. Bowden did an amazing job of gathering facts; he must have interviewed every living hostage, rescuer, and even several of the Iranian hostage-takers. His treatise was an attempt to tell the complete story of the 1979 Tehran embassy take-over and subsequent hostage crisis, and in that he succeeded mightily. I have only vague memories of yellow ribbons around tree-trunks from when I was a young child, so almost everything I read in his book was new to me. I soaked up Bowden's analysis of Iran's revolution, the international repercussions of the hostage-taking, and his very fair treatment of both sides of the issue. I was especially intrigued by his portrayal of President Carter, who was put in an impossible position, and to the last moments of his presidency approached the crisis in a very selfless way. All in all, I applaud Bowden's rare journalistic integrity.
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