Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Taken Hostage: The Iran Hostage Crisis and America's First Encounter with Radical Islam” as Want to Read:
Taken Hostage: The Iran Hostage Crisis and America's First Encounter with Radical Islam
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Taken Hostage: The Iran Hostage Crisis and America's First Encounter with Radical Islam (Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America)

3.6  ·  Rating details ·  150 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the United States Embassy in Tehran and took sixty-six Americans captive. Thus began the Iran Hostage Crisis, an affair that captivated the American public for 444 days and marked America's first confrontation with the forces of radical Islam. Using hundreds of recently declassified government documents, historian David Farber ...more
Paperback, 212 pages
Published August 13th 2006 by Princeton University Press (first published 2004)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Taken Hostage, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Taken Hostage

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
Rating details
Sort: Default
Mike Hankins
Nov 11, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: politics, cold-war
Conflict with fundamentalist Islamic terrorism is one of the most pressing issues currently facing the United States, politically, culturally, and militarily. David Farber attempts to shed light on the issue by examining what he calls America's first encounter with Islamic radicals: the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-1980. The book is not merely a narrative, but an examination of the event in three wider contexts: the American cultural and political landscape of the 1970s, the upheavals in Irani ...more
David Classing
Apr 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
After hearing a report on CNN this week that Iran wants to send as its UN Ambassador one of the former US Embassy Hostage Takers, I realized, though the defining foreign relations news story of my childhood, I did not know much about why the Americans were held. Hearing Iran's official explanation on why the US should grant their new proposed UN Ambassador a visa merely because he was a "student" at the time I decided to read a couple of books about the subject. First, to debunk Iran's argument ...more
Mar 11, 2011 rated it liked it
dry but clear recap of the late-70's Iranian hostage crisis and what led up to it. A high school senior/college freshman year flashback for me -- waiting in long gas lines, "Nightline" nee "America Held Hostage" on ABC, endless stories on the President-Carter-is-inept theme (the usual symbols/incidents are reviewed here -- "lust in my heart" interview, "malaise" speech in which he did not use the word "malaise", whacking at the crazed rabbit with a paddle, handling the White House tennis court r ...more
Nov 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: People who know nothing about Iran and grew up in the 90s
Let me just say that the beginning of this book, for me, was incredibly dry. However, once Farber was able to get past all the info we needed to understand the hostage crisis, I felt like I couldn't put down the book. I will admit that being born in 1991 does not give me an excuse to not know the details of American history with the Middle East. I had never heard of the hostage crisis before. But I must say,Farber does a great job because I was glued to the pages trying to figure out what could ...more
Tara Busch
Jan 10, 2014 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book. Farber argues the hostage crisis was Americas first encounter with radical Islam & demonstrates how the US leadership was unprepared, not understanding the motives of their adversaries. He shows how American media and the public misunderstood US foreign policy, yet the Iranians did not! They understood the US pod better than Americans, and used this knowledge.
Farber spends a large part of the book showing this crisis as a failure of American foreign policy going b
Dan Sprock
Apr 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was probably the most important source I used for my senior thesis; how the American media helped give birth to the modern conservative identity and its obsession with Islamphobia. Farber depicts a 'rally round the flag' sort of phenomenon with the rising popularity of Reaganism, xenophobia and the revitalization of a post World War II America. The collective response amongst American citizens was largely unified in their fear of radical Islam, a response that is not unlike what we see toda ...more
Jan 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This book is a particularly timely read with the prisoner swap today (1/16/16). It focuses on the events leading up to the Iranian hostage crisis, why Iranians felt the way they did and why Americans felt the way they did, and how the governments handled the whole thing. Insightful and interesting, however, I would've liked more about how the hostages were handled, their conditions, what it was like, etc., but that wasn't included. I would recommend it for those who want to know more about the m ...more
Mar 13, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is a decent history of the Iranian Revolution and the hostage crisis of dozens of U.S. diplomats which followed. However, the author has difficulty sticking to his subject, and spends lots of time talking about other trends in the 1970s in general, which he never relates to his subject, and giving his personal views about just about everything that happened. While there is good information in this book, the reader will have to wade through a lot of dross in order to find it.
Roxy Moran
Nov 05, 2016 rated it liked it
This was missing a lot of analysis on the actual hostage crisis itself. 75% of the book was devoted to the hostage crisis' origins, only a single chapter to the actual crisis. Writing was fine though, title is misleading. Definitely not that much information on 'radical islam,' or whatever that the author thinks that means.
May 18, 2014 rated it liked it
A lot of dry, professor-ish set up (it's a 190-page book and doesn't even get to the actual hostage event until page 130) but interesting look at Carter's presidency and the American psyche during late 70s.
Chloe Logan
Oct 07, 2013 rated it really liked it
This definitely explored the political side of the crisis rather than the stories of the hostages in Iran. It was an interesting perspective to have, especially before seeing Argo.
Aug 18, 2007 rated it liked it
Thin but nicely done recounting of the Iranian hostage crisis
rated it liked it
Jun 05, 2013
rated it really liked it
Sep 14, 2012
Daniel LeSaint
rated it really liked it
Apr 15, 2017
Rei Anne
rated it did not like it
Jan 12, 2015
Ryan Grubbs
rated it liked it
Jun 22, 2008
Dan Hummel
rated it liked it
Oct 17, 2011
rated it really liked it
Feb 18, 2012
Dena Salerno
rated it liked it
Feb 06, 2013
Kristen Lemaster
rated it liked it
Nov 17, 2013
rated it liked it
Apr 14, 2014
Anton Dounts
rated it really liked it
Apr 06, 2013
Nazerke Akimzhan
rated it really liked it
Apr 02, 2017
Grayson Parks
rated it really liked it
Dec 30, 2017
Kristina Graybill
rated it liked it
Dec 31, 2016
Ben Baker
rated it really liked it
Dec 31, 2012
rated it liked it
Apr 05, 2016
rated it really liked it
Nov 28, 2012
MC Wilder
rated it really liked it
Dec 08, 2014
« previous 1 3 4 5 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • The Persian Puzzle: The Conflict Between Iran and America
  • Firewall: The Iran-Contra Conspiracy and Cover-up
  • Cress Delahanty
  • 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
  • P.G. Wodehouse : Five Complete Novels (The Return of Jeeves, Bertie Wooster Sees It Through, Spring Fever, The Butler Did It, The Old Reliable)
  • Unthinkable: Iran, the Bomb, and American Strategy
  • Treacherous Alliance: The Secret Dealings of Israel, Iran, and the United States
  • Enquiries Concerning the Human Understanding / Concerning the Principles of Morals
  • Happy Days: Mencken's Autobiography: 1880-1892
  • Novels, 1957-1962: The Town / The Mansion / The Reivers
  • Saving the Queen
  • The Secret War with Iran: The 30-Year Clandestine Struggle Against the World's Most Dangerous Terrorist Power
  • Modern Iran. Roots and Results of Revolution, Updated Edition
  • Hidden Iran: Paradox and Power in the Islamic Republic
  • Tales and Sketches
  • The Diary of Virginia Woolf, Volume Four: 1931-1935
  • Henry VI (Parts I, II and III)
  • Literature from the "Axis of Evil": Writing from Iran, Iraq, North Korea, and Other Enemy Nations

Other Books in the Series

Politics and Society in Twentieth-Century America (1 - 10 of 44 books)
  • American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland
  • Americans at the Gate: The United States and Refugees During the Cold War
  • Between Citizens and the State: The Politics of American Higher Education in the 20th Century
  • Changing the World: American Progressives in War and Revolution
  • Cities of Knowledge: Cold War Science and the Search for the Next Silicon Valley
  • Civil Defense Begins at Home: Militarization Meets Everyday Life in the Fifties
  • Cold War Civil Rights: Race and the Image of American Democracy
  • Dead on Arrival: The Politics of Health Care in Twentieth-Century America
  • Debtor Nation: The History of America in Red Ink
  • Defending America: Military Culture and the Cold War Court-Martial

Nonfiction Deals

  • Astoria: John Jacob Astor and Thomas Jefferson's Lost Pacific Empire: A Story of Wealth, Ambition, and Survival
    $8.24 $1.99
  • A Secret Sisterhood: The Literary Friendships of Jane Austen, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, and Virginia Woolf
    $27.00 $2.99
  • Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing
    $9.99 $2.99
  • The Paradox of Choice: Why More Is Less
    $10.74 $1.99
  • Anam Cara: A Book of Celtic Wisdom
    $8.99 $1.99
  • A Room of One's Own
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Ashley's War: The Untold Story of a Team of Women Soldiers on the Special Ops Battlefield
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Life in a Medieval City
    $8.24 $1.99
  • Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Only Thing Worth Dying For: How Eleven Green Berets Forged a New Afghanistan
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Too Close to Me: The Middle-Aged Consequences of Revealing A Child Called "It"
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Creation of Anne Boleyn: A New Look at England's Most Notorious Queen
    $9.99 $2.99
  • Inside the Criminal Mind: Revised and Updated Edition
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error
    $9.24 $1.99
  • Orange Is the New Black: My Year in a Women's Prison
    $13.99 $2.99
  • How Dare the Sun Rise: Memoirs of a War Child
    $8.99 $1.99
  • Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Love, Loss, and What We Ate: A Memoir
    $11.49 $1.99
  • Countdown to Zero Day: Stuxnet and the Launch of the World's First Digital Weapon
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Evangelii Gaudium: The Joy of the Gospel
    $9.99 $1.99
  • The Heart of Christianity
    $9.74 $1.99
  • Hidden Figures
    $4.09 $1.99
  • Clear Your Clutter with Feng Shui
    $9.99 $1.99
  • Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man
    $7.24 $1.99
  • Priceless: How I Went Undercover to Rescue the World's Stolen Treasures
    $11.99 $1.99
  • WTF?: What's the Future and Why It's Up to Us
    $14.99 $2.99
  • K2: Life and Death on the World's Most Dangerous Mountain
    $11.99 $1.99
  • Proud Highway: Saga of a Desperate Southern Gentleman, 1955-1967
    $12.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Living: The Classical Mannual on Virtue, Happiness, and Effectiveness
    $10.49 $1.99
  • Come to the Edge
    $6.99 $1.99
  • The Art of Communicating
    $9.49 $2.99
  • American Jezebel
    $8.24 $1.99