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Thursday, February 09, 2006

Guests of the Ayatollah

Here's a heads up on a brilliant and riveting new book set for public release in April 2006:

Mark Bowden, the author of Black Hawk Down, has spent the last five years reconstructing the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979-80 for his new book Guests of the Ayatollah.

I have been fortunate enough to receive an uncorrected proof of the book, courtesy of the publisher.

I was in high school when the hostage crisis unfolded. Already, I was a staunch conservative, and listening to Jimmy Carter for more than a couple of minutes was unbearable. Underneath his words, and behind his smile, was a flawed world view based on misguided compassion, compromise and meekness/weakness. I wondered in disbelief why Carter didn't declare war on Iran. To his credit, or discredit, Carter did authorize a clandestine military operation to free the hostages, which is detailed in the book. Unfortunately, this situation called for overt American military might, not covert military finesse.

The crisis had a big impact on my life, as it did for many Americans. After high school I joined the Marine Corps Infantry hoping to find a fight in the Middle East.

The crisis touched many Americans, and for this reason, this book will touch many Americans. As the book jacket states: "The Iran hostage crisis was a watershed moment in American history. It was America's first showdown with Islamic fundamentalism, a confrontation at the forefront of American policy to this day. It was also a powerful dramatic story that captivated the American people, launched yellow-ribbon campaigns, made celebrities of the hostage's families, and crippled the reelection campaign of President Jimmy Carter."

Bowden's book is a definitive and exhaustive account of the hostage crisis. (The uncorrected proof is 642 pages.) Though remarkably detailed, the book is interesting and suspenseful throughout. You'll want to read the book, not only for gaining a greater understanding of what happened then, but to gain insight into what is happening now as the captors have come of age and are now threatening the world in terrifying new ways.

By the way, a movie based on the book is rumored to be in the works!

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