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Publisher's Summary

The true account of the 1979 rescue of six American hostages from Iran

On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the American embassy in Tehran and captured dozens of American hostages, sparking a 444-day ordeal and a quake in global politics still reverberating today. But there's a little-known footnote to the crisis: six Americans escaped. And a midlevel agent named Antonio Mendez devised an ingenious yet incredibly risky plan to rescue them.

Armed with foreign film visas, Mendez and an unlikely team of CIA agents and Hollywood insiders - directors, producers, actors - traveled to Tehran under the guise of scouting locations for a fake film called Argo. While pretending to find the perfect scenery and backdrops, the team succeeded in contacting the escapees and smuggling them out of Iran without a single shot being fired.

Antonio Mendez finally details the mind-bogglingly complex and dangerous operation he led more than three decades ago. A true story of secret identities and international intrigue, Argo is the gripping account of the history-making collusion between Hollywood and high-stakes espionage.

©2012 Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio (P)2012 Penguin Audiobooks

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Story

I listened to this twice in a row!

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes! This is such a fascinating slice of (fairly) recent history, but so few (until now) knew anything about it. If you already saw the movie, this will fill in many, many details for you - as well as delineate what was theatrical license to make the movie flow & what, in the movie, was portrayed exactly like it happened. If you haven't seen the movie, you'll love this book, too! As I said, I listened to this twice in a row & might listen again, soon, as each time I picked up on something different. A true-life spy thriller, with all the bells & whistles.

Which scene was your favorite?

When the author went back to where the diplomats were staying, & they'd all gotten into character for the roles of their lives.

What’s the most interesting tidbit you’ve picked up from this book?

How many people and how much planning, at the CIA, goes into POSSIBLE situations that MAY erupt around the world (made me proud). Plus, all the details that might change from moment to moment on something as seemingly innocuous as an entry visa, & what "our people" do to keep on top of those details. I love all the minutiae/idiosyncrasies/technicalities of real spy work. :)

Any additional comments?

I saw the movie at the theater twice (which I never, ever, ever do...which shows how fabulous I thought it was!), wanted to know all the details one couldn't learn from the movie, & therefore used a credit for the audiobook. I am so glad I did, as the story has loads more to it, and the narrator keeps it moving. I kept having to remind myself that the author wasn't sitting with me, telling me his story!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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Fantastic, must read!

Really enjoyed this, if you like the movie, you should listen to this book to get the real story.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Amazing story!

Got this to keep me awake during road trip by myself. Loved the story. Really fascinating to hear the background details on how the CIA really operated ... it's not blasting through doors and spraying gun fire, it's detailed work, research, smart decisions, and good graphic artists. Graphic artists! We in the US (and the world, really) never heard the full story behind the six who got out, and here's our chance.

For those of us who remember watching the news daily (including Ted Koppel's new show at the time Nightline), it's amazing to remember that news from the embassies to D.C. had to be "cabled." And no one was live Tweeting during the embassy takeover. No camera phone pics. Embassy personnel were stationed at phones to ensure connections stayed open. And during extraction operations, CIA operatives were stationed at phones to call in a "go" signal. Public phone booths, remember those?

The narrator was the biggest weakness. He sounded a little stilted, sort of carboard or wooden. And his emphasis on the last "s" in the word "houseguests" (what the six were called prior to their extraction from Iran), had me rolling my eyes by the end. But I'm so glad I didn't let the narrator keep me from this story. It's a great listen and a fabulous story.

For any artists, graphic artists or counterfeiters out there, it's a must listen!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Better Than the Movie

I listened to the audiobook before I saw the movie. I preferred listening to the nonfiction account of the mission in Iran and other fascinating CIA missions rather than the Hollywood-ized version of events for the movie. The truth really was amazing and there was no need to fictionalize it.

Antonio Mendez is a hero and I'm glad he got the credit he deserved.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Better than the movie that came from it

Would you listen to Argo again? Why?

Probably not. It was a little long

What did you like best about this story?

Finding out the hidden workings of the CIA.

What about Dylan Baker’s performance did you like?

His energy.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I was happy at the end that the hostages got out.

Any additional comments?

I read the book first. Then saw the movie. I was very angry at the changes Affleck made in the story. The true story was suspenseful. Affleck didn't need to screw around with the actual events.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Excellent story and performance

Would you listen to Argo again? Why?

This was a great story. It was exciting from start to finish. Being from Ottawa it was also nice to here about Canada's involvement in the rescue. I also found the narrator did a great job. All around excellent book.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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  • Susan
  • Salt Lake City, UT United States
  • 01-15-13

Fascinating.

I remember when it was reported that some Americans got out of Iraq but I had no idea the intrigue involved. It was interesting which countries would not help the Americans. The Canadians were true heroes. Great read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • fred
  • greensboro nc
  • 12-22-12

Loved the movie, love the book

I did not know much about Argo prior to seeing the movie. I really enjoyed the movie. But I figured there was more to the story, and boy is there a lot more to tell. Mendes is one of those outstanding American characters that seems more fiction than fact. Now granted everyone likes to pain themselves in a positive light but I get a feel that he is for real. So if you liked Argo and want to know the details inbetween then definitly listen to the book. If you have not seen Argo then listen to the book and you will get a treat that sheds light on the evergoing complicated world of espionage, government and the Middle East.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • DS
  • 02-15-13

THE CIA AT IT'S BEST

The CIA at it's best -- this is the book on which the award nominated film is based. Makes you proud that in the middle of a bureaucratic mess, there are individuals who think creatively and have the skills and courage to pull of some really audacious stuff to protect us all.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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better than fiction

So Good! why is this not how we learned history in school. loved the attention to detail. never boring.

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  • Rebecca
  • 02-23-13

Just a bit dull.....

This is workmanlike, straightforwardly written - and if you're looking forward to it because you've seen the film you'll be sadly disappointed! I did listen to it before watching the film, but for once much preferred the movie. I found myself wondering if this was the reading, which I found rather flat. In fact I went out and bought the book to check this, and the read book was more vivid than the audiobook. The original scheme was a daring and challenging idea, bravely executed, but the reading actually made it sound rather routine.



As a le Carre fan, i like my spy stories - real or fictional - either rich on technical detail or suspense-filled, preferably both. Both the book and the audiobook are, for me, just a fraction thin on both, beefed up by rather too much retrospective autobiographical stuff about the author. The initial escape of the US diplomats is however thrilling to read, and he creates a vivid picture of their life inTehran, but its actually rather less exciting to listen to - and nothing in the book or audiobook is anything like as gripping as the film - somehow the reading almost had me thinking, rather guiltily, 'so what'? I also wondered if thismight be because he had to censor a fair amount of the CIA detail?



Whereas because it contains so much really detailed, accurate information, and is written really well, 'Operation Mincemeat' is more interesting and exciting than the old movie myth of 'the Man Who Never Was', Argo the audio book is definitely not as gripping as Argo the movie. However, still worth a listen- better still, a read.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • L
  • 06-01-13

interesting

i was sorry to hear that the most exciting incidents in the film didn't happen! nevertheless, very entertaining and informative

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Alastair
  • 04-28-13

Great true story

Worth time time to listen to, more details than the film makes it extra interesting.

Very good all round

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Jkay
  • 04-14-13

Mmmmm...

Whilst you can appreciate the danger many people put their lives in on a regular basis, and the bravery of many individuals; what came across more was the sheer amount of money that was thrown at this undercover industry, and the infinite level of detail they covered. It is an amazing story that has been stretched somewhat to become a book - have not seen the film and now I don't feel I want to.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Alastair Binyon
  • 04-07-13

Better the film

If you enjoyed the Oscar winning Argo but wanted to really under stand what the operation to save the house guests was really like, this is where to start. Written the real 'Ben Affleck' Tony Mendez, you can hear about the role of the Canadians British and the real world politics of a crisis that affects the world to this day.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Chris Webb
  • 08-14-15

Argo

Having recently seen the film 'Argo' at the cinema I was keen to listen to the full story and what a story! A very interesting and detailed book which brought to life the events of the late 1970's in Iran and USA.Fascinating.

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  • Melanie
  • 08-04-14

It's not exactly how hollywood told it

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Interesting story, though perhaps a little on the short side.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Argo?

The discussion of the process for forging documents.

Any additional comments?

Ok - this is really trivial, but how he pronounced Iranian bugged me. Logically, his pronunciation is probably 'correct' but he says IH-RAH-NIAN and in the UK I'm used to hearing IH-RAIN-IAN.

  • Overall
  • cookson
  • 04-13-13

Great book

I had been looking forward to seeing the film Argo for a while but when i saw this on Audible i thought i would listen to the book first. I was not dissapointed it was well delivered and a very exciting book. I am not quite to the end yet but i will certainly look out for future books by these authors.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Stanislaw
  • 02-16-13

Couldn't stop listening

Exciting story providing a rare insight into clandestine operations. Well written and well narrated. Couldn’t stop listening.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful