Author: Antonio Mendez and coauthor Matt Baglio

ISBN: 978-0-14-750973-4

Publisher: Penguin

Movies often create illusions for the world to see and take the viewer into places they might never visit in their lifetime. Viewers envelop themselves within the story portrayed on the screen and for 2 or more hours their lives outside the theater and their troubles are set aside. When Iranian militants decided to take over the American Embassy on November 4, 1979 little did they think that anyone would be able to foil their plans and rescue the hostages being held there.

This was real life and definitely not a movie. As the dramatic events unfolded that day and the final realization that the embassy and its staff were being held hostage little did anyone think it would take 444 days to free them. Thinking the Iranian government would come to their rescue, demand that they set these people free and tell the militants to leave never did happen. Workers coming in that day never realized that their lives would change for so long and that the lasting effects would linger on for a very long time. As John Graves, the public affairs officer entered the embassy, he saw a group of women carrying protest signs. Thinking they were just trying to make a statement it never registered that they were just decoys setting their own stage for the next scene to come. Militants climbing the walls of the embassy, some rushing inside and the scene unfolding so fast that the workers inside either ignored what they saw, did not realize the danger but the end result would be more than just tragic.

Author Antonio Mendez takes everyone back to that day in November and graphically, vividly and creatively describes the events that unfolded as if they were happening today. Anyone that lived that day, remembered those moments when handcuffed, blindfolded and led into captivity, would relive it just from reading what he wrote. 

But, first the author enlightens readers as to his role, his areas of expertise and shares with us his art, his studio and his creative talents. The author  explains the CIA group that he works with called the Directorate of Operations, their goals, jobs and capabilities which included creating photos/videos, disguises, documents and much more his title this day: CHIEF OF DISGUISES rising to a higher position that would put him in charge of the CIA’s worldwide disguise program titling him as chief of authentication. But, how does this fit into the rescue?  

Learning that a group of six working at the consulate escaped and were housed by Canadian diplomats in their homes hoping they would not be discovered. With the help of the Canadians the fugitive Americans were able to move with the approval of the Canadian Prime Minister. From start to the daring rescue the author relates what the Americans, British and Canadians did as well as agents involved. His inner most thoughts and concerns revealed, his willingness to take risks and the ability to create a plan so wild and covert that the Iranians never saw it coming.

Even in the midst of a military crisis, Hollywood rolls on, and Hollywood execs are crazy enough to visit war-torn countries seeking places to film. Using a script for a science fiction movie project that had fallen through a few months earlier, the CIA created the elusion of a production company scouting locations in Iran. The next step after all of the discussions and plans took place was to get Canadian Passports for the six houseguests, changing their names and creating disguises plus cover stories. But, the Canadians had done the necessary legwork to create the documents needed.

 As author Tony Mendez takes readers inside the mind of a CIA operative and many diplomats you experience the missions, the pre-work, high voltage energy and creativity that went into orchestrating a rescue that deserved more than just an academy award for each and every person’s performance. Volunteering for the mission, explaining the role of each person in a production company looking for a sight to film, getting all of the necessary documents and enlisting the aid of the right people Argo proved to be more than just what they credited as a Science Fiction Movie.

As the final phase takes place and you experience the rescue, the frustrations, fears and their freedom when landing in Switzerland. We are no longer allies with Iran and our thinking and doctrines are worlds apart as the people living there are the ones who are suffering. Many lessons still need to be learned but one is for sure:  that Islamic countries will never realize is that tolerance, understanding and respecting our differences is what makes this world so special. Sad, that they never really did take a long and hard look at power of the United States and the fact that we care about others. Replete in history, explaining so many of his other missions and allowing readers to take the journey back in time to that fateful day, authors Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio’s account is more than just a story that the world finally get to hear about it is what makes us proud to be who we are: AMERICANS! Argo: one CIA expert’s brilliant artistic illusion.

Follow Here To Purchase Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History

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