Guests of the Ayatollah: The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam
by Mark Bowden
A national best seller, Mark Bowden's Guests of the Ayatollah was published in hardcover just as the United States and Iran faced off over nuclear weapons. As this dangerous conflict deepens, Bowden's extraordinary narrative of the Iran Hostage Crisis, at the root of today's problems, has become more relevant than ever before. On November 4, 1979, a group of radical Islamist students stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Inspired by Ayatollah Khomeini, they hoped to stage a three-day sit-in protest of the American decision to allow the exiled shah to enter the United States for medical treatment. But these modest, peaceful aims were supplanted by something much more severe. The students took sixty-six Americans hostage, and kept the majority of them for 444 days in a conflict that riveted and changed the world. In Guests of the Ayatollah, Bowden, a "master of narrative journalism" (The New York Times), tells the sweeping story of this watershed moment in American history. It was America's first showdown with Islamist fundamentalism, a confrontation that has remained at the forefront of American policy to this day. It was also a powerful, dramatic story that captivated the American people. The hostages' families became celebrities, and the never-ending criticism of the government's response crippled Jimmy Carter's reelection campaign. Bowden tells this captivating story through the eyes of those who lived it, on both sides of the crisis. He takes us inside the hostages' cells, detailing the Americans' terror, confusion, boredom, and ingenuity. He offers a remarkable view of the Oval Office, where the most powerful man in the world was handcuffed by irrational fanatics halfway around theworld. Throughout this all, Bowden weaves the dramatic story of a new Special Forces unit poised for an impossible, courageous, and desperate attempt to snatch the hostages from the embassy in Tehran. Twenty-six years later, Iran, and America's confrontation with militant Islam, is more complex than ever before. Guests of the Ayatollah is a remarkably timely, brilliant, important, and suspenseful read.
Author: Mark Bowden
Publisher: Grove Press
Release Date: 2007-03-13