Guests of the Ayatollah: The Iran Hostage Crisis: The First Battle in America's War with Militant Islam

Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
22
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The New York Times–bestselling author of Black Hawk Down delivers a “suspenseful and inspiring” account of the Iranian hostage crisis of 1979 (The Wall Street Journal).
 
On November 4, 1979, a group of radical Islamist students, inspired by the revolutionary Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini, stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran. They took fifty-two Americans captive, and kept nearly all of them hostage for 444 days. In Guests of the Ayatollah, Mark Bowden tells this sweeping story through the eyes of the hostages, the soldiers in a new special forces unit sent to free them, their radical, naïve captors, and the diplomats working to end the crisis.
 
Bowden takes us inside the hostages’ cells and inside the Oval Office for meetings with President Carter and his exhausted team. We travel to international capitals where shadowy figures held clandestine negotiations, and to the deserts of Iran, where a courageous, desperate attempt to rescue the hostages exploded into tragic failure. Bowden dedicated five years to this research, including numerous trips to Iran and countless interviews with those involved on both sides. Guests of the Ayatollah is a detailed, brilliantly recreated, and suspenseful account of a crisis that gripped and ultimately changed the world.
 
“The passions of the moment still reverberate . . . you can feel them on every page.” —Time
 
“A complex story full of cruelty, heroism, foolishness and tragic misunderstandings.” —Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
 
“Essential reading . . . A.” —Entertainment Weekly
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New York Times Bestseller

A Los Angeles Times Book Prize Finalist in History

Winner of the 2018 Marine Corps Heritage Foundation Greene Award for a distinguished work of nonfiction

"An extraordinary feat of journalism . . . full of emotion and color."—Karl Marlantes, Wall Street Journal

The first battle book from Mark Bowden since his #1 New York Times bestseller Black Hawk Down, Hue 1968 is the story of the centerpiece of the Tet Offensive and a turning point in the American War in Vietnam. In the early hours of January 31, 1968, the North Vietnamese launched over one hundred attacks across South Vietnam in what would become known as the Tet Offensive. The lynchpin of Tet was the capture of Hue, Vietnam?s intellectual and cultural capital, by 10,000 National Liberation Front troops who descended from hidden camps and surged across the city of 140,000. Within hours the entire city was in their hands save for two small military outposts. American commanders refused to believe the size and scope of the Front?s presence, ordering small companies of marines against thousands of entrenched enemy troops. After several futile and deadly days, Lieutenant Colonel Ernie Cheatham would finally come up with a strategy to retake the city, block by block and building by building, in some of the most intense urban combat since World War II.

With unprecedented access to war archives in the U.S. and Vietnam and interviews with participants from both sides, Bowden narrates each stage of this crucial battle through multiple viewpoints. Played out over 24 days and ultimately costing 10,000 lives, the Battle of Hue was by far the bloodiest of the entire war. When it ended, the American debate was never again about winning, only about how to leave. Hue 1968 is a gripping and moving account of this pivotal moment.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road + Grove/Atlantic
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Published on
Dec 1, 2007
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Pages
710
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ISBN
9781555846084
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Language
English
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Genres
History / Middle East / Iran
History / Revolutionary
History / United States / 20th Century
True Crime / Abductions, Kidnappings & Missing Persons
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A decorated World War I veteran, Federal Judge Robert P. Patterson knew all too well the
needs of soldiers on the battlefield. He was thus dismayed by America’s lack of military
preparedness when a second great war engulfed Europe in 1939–40. With the international
crisis worsening, Patterson even resumed military training—as a forty-nine-yearold
private—before being named assistant secretary of war in July 1940. That appointment
set the stage for Patterson’s central role in the country’s massive mobilization and
supply effort which helped the Allies win World War II.

In Arming the Nation for War, a previously unpublished account long buried among
the late author’s papers and originally marked confidential, Patterson describes the vast
challenges the United States faced as it had to equip, in a desperately short time, a fighting
force capable of confronting a formidable enemy. Brimming with data and detail, the book
also abounds with deep insights into the myriad problems encountered on the domestic
mobilization front—including the sometimes divergent interests of wartime planners and
industrial leaders—along with the logistical difficulties of supplying far-flung theaters of
war with everything from ships, planes, and tanks to food and medicine. Determined to
remind his contemporaries of how narrow the Allied margin of victory was and that the
war’s lessons not be forgotten, Patterson clearly intended the manuscript (which he wrote
between 1945 and ’47, when he was President Truman’s secretary of war) to contribute
to the postwar debates on the future of the military establishment. That passage of the
National Security Act of 1947, to which Patterson was a key contributor, answered many of
his concerns may explain why he never published the book during his lifetime.

A unique document offering an insider’s view of a watershed historical moment, Patterson’s
text is complemented by editor Brian Waddell’s extensive introduction and notes.
In addition, Robert M. Morgenthau, former Manhattan district attorney and a protégé of
Patterson’s for four years prior to the latter’s death in a 1952 plane crash, offers a heartfelt
remembrance of a man the New York Herald-Tribune called “an example of the public-spirited
citizen.”

Brian Waddell, an associate professor of political science at the University of Connecticut,
is the author of The War Against the New Deal: World War II and American Democracy and
Toward the National Security State: Civil-Military Relations during World War II.
Pacific Book Review Star Awarded to Books of Excellent Merit Some of the best history is personal—that which is collected from participants in great events and movements. In William R. Graser’s book, Veterans’ Reflections: History Preserved, we are offered stories and vignettes from those who serve in the United States military, in their own words. Sergeant First Class William R. Graser, USA (Ret) worked for the US Army Security Agency overseas and in America. In 2007, Graser conceived the simple but ingenious idea of letting soldiers tell their own stories and through this framework, offer a picture of sixty-three years of American military history. His sixty interviews comprise the experiences of military personnel from World War II beginning in 1941, through the Cold War, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and what the author refers to as the Quiet War Korea (aka Korean DMZ Conflict). The last stories come from Global and Homeland Service, up to 2004. Each segment starts with an explanation of the conflict, its background and causes, followed by interviewee accounts. The first such account comes from Clement Hutchins, age 93 in 2011, who served in World War II with the Merchant Marines. In the North Atlantic, prey to attacks from the German “Wolf Pack” submarines, Hutchins recalls “one evening in particular when nine merchant ships were sunk in less than fifteen minutes.” Samuel Masessa was an infantryman in Korea, where, he states, “the cold became the enemy.” He recounts a battle between American tanks and Chinese troops in a sudden attack that left many enemy soldiers dead; he and his comrades then used flamethrowers to destroy the bodies in a grim task “to prevent disease and eliminate the smell.” Harry Dalton was a K9 dog handler in Vietnam who was awarded numerous medals but stated “I was proud to serve but prefer to keep most of my experiences to myself.” Another soldier, Richard Matthews who served in the US Air Force in the sky over Cambodia and Laos, expresses a similar sentiment: “I don’t make a lot of noise about my awards and decorations. In reality we were just soldiers, airmen, marines, sailors and guardians doing what we were trained to do and dedicated to doing.” By allowing veterans to express their sentiments and describe their very real and harrowing experiences, Graser has done honor to these individuals who served us so bravely and unselfishly. He offers an intelligent analysis of the stages of war and conflict that the US was engaged in during the book’s time-frame. He includes useful appendices of military terms, acronyms, and pictures of military medals. Graser wrote Veterans’ Reflections: History Preserved to increase our general understanding of American warfare through the eyes of those who were there. He concludes with a phrase that will be familiar to anyone who has a veteran in the family: “When you see a veteran, say thank you!” This book is a remarkable tribute to the sacrifice made by our veterans who fought for our country. Veterans’ Reflections is compelling and inspiring to say the least. Our heroes deserve to be heard. Highly Recommended The military service of millions of Americans is reflected in these stories. They will put you in the middle of the action of our nation’s wars. Through firsthand accounts of veterans who served during World War II, the Cold War, Korean War, Cuban Missile Crisis, Vietnam War, Korean DMZ Conflict also known as the Quiet War, and Operations Desert Storm and Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan); you’ll find yourself paying tribute to each and every veteran. The stories of personal sacrifice, commitment, and valor demonstrate the values that have made the United States of America the envy of the world. Sixty veterans recall their time in uniform, sharing stories that are tragic, heart wrenching and sometimes funny. These stories provide an excellent opportunity to gain an understanding and appreciation of veterans. Celebrate what is means to be an American devoted to freedom with Veterans’ Reflections. As a veteran himself, the author is obviously very close to this work, and it shows not only in his passion for his subject, but also in his attention to detail. His method, which weaves the veterans’ own stories into an historical overview of a specific conflict, is extremely effective. The soldiers’ accounts go well beyond the war’s scorecard and reveal some of the actual fears and experiences of the participants. Anyone can tell the facts behind a story, but those who have lived it can share insights no secondhand history can match. — The US Review of Books
Three policy actions taken during the Revolutionary War period helped form the military supply and acquisition structure still in place today. These include the formation of a management structure; the choice of management methods; and debates related to ancillary issues such as R&D, fostering of expertise, encouraging innovation, and the role of the federal government in the development of an industrial base. To provide valuable context, Horgan looks not only at decisions made by the Continental Congress, but also at the environment in which these plans were made. Of the wide range of methods used to procure the supplies needed for war, many were harsh measures taken by beleaguered policy makers, forced to desperate steps by the demands of war.

The organizational structure created to manage the supply effort was, Horgan reveals, in constant flux, characterized by the abandoning of one failed experiment in favor of another that would soon be exposed as equally unsuccessful. The two major weapons of the period, the big guns of Army artillery and navel ordnance and Navy ships, are examined within this framework. Horgan explores how the Congress managed their acquisition, including procedures related to the manufacture of artillery in private sector founders and government facilities, as well as the construction projects for Navy ships. She demonstrates how policy decisions made during these early years relate to the present policy environment for the acquisition of major weapon systems.

Killing Pablo is the story of the fifteen-month manhunt for Colombian cocaine cartel kingpin Pablo Escobar, whose escape from his lavish, mansionlike jail drove a nation to the brink of chaos. In a gripping, up-close account, acclaimed journalist Mark Bowden exposes the never-before-revealed details of how U.S. military and intelligence operatives covertly led the mission to find and kill the world's most dangerous outlaw. Drawing on unprecedented access to the soldiers, field agents, and officials involved in the chase, as well as hundreds of pages of top-secret documents and transcripts of Escobar's intercepted phone conversations, Bowden creates a narrative that reads as if it were torn from the pages of a Tom Clancy technothriller. Killing Pablo also tells the story of Escobar's rise, how he built a criminal organization that would hold an entire nation hostage -- and the stories of the intrepid men who would ultimately bring him down. There is Steve Jacoby, the leader of Centra Spike, the ultrasecret U.S. special forces team that would use cutting-edge surveillance technology to find one man among a nation of 37 million. There is Morris Busby, U.S. ambassador to Colombia, who would convince the Bush administration to approve the deployment of the shadowy Delta Force operators who would be the key to the drug lord's demise. And there is Escobar's archenemy, Col. Hugo Martinez, the leader of Colombia's federal police, who would turn down a $6 million bribe, survive countless attempts on his life, and endure a humiliating exile while waging his battle against the drug lord's criminal empire. It was Martinez's son, raised in the shadow of constant threat from Escobar's followers, who would ultimately track the fugitive to a Bogota rooftop on the fateful day in 1993 when the outlaw would finally meet his end. Action-packed and unputdownable, Killing Pablo is a tour de force of narrative journalism and a stark portrayal of rough justice in the real world.
The dramatic secret history of our undeclared thirty-year conflict with Iran, revealing newsbreaking episodes of covert and deadly operations that brought the two nations to the brink of open war

For three decades, the United States and Iran have engaged in a secret war. It is a conflict that has never been acknowledged and a story that has never been told.

This surreptitious war began with the Iranian revolution and simmers today inside Iraq and in the Persian Gulf. Fights rage in the shadows, between the CIA and its network of spies and Iran's intelligence agency. Battles are fought at sea with Iranians in small speedboats attacking Western oil tankers. This conflict has frustrated five American presidents, divided administrations, and repeatedly threatened to bring the two nations into open warfare. It is a story of shocking miscalculations, bitter debates, hidden casualties, boldness, and betrayal.

A senior historian for the federal government with unparalleled access to senior officials and key documents of several U.S. administrations, Crist has spent more than ten years researching and writing The Twilight War, and he breaks new ground on virtually every page. Crist describes the series of secret negotiations between Iran and the United States after 9/11, culminating in Iran's proposal for a grand bargain for peace-which the Bush administration turned down. He documents the clandestine counterattack Iran launched after America's 2003 invasion of Iraq, in which thousands of soldiers disguised as reporters, tourists, pilgrims, and aid workers toiled to change the government in Baghdad and undercut American attempts to pacify the Iraqi insurgency. And he reveals in vivid detail for the first time a number of important stories of military and intelligence operations by both sides, both successes and failures, and their typically unexpected consequences.

Much has changed in the world since 1979, but Iran and America remain each other's biggest national security nightmares. "The Iran problem" is a razor-sharp briar patch that has claimed its sixth presidential victim in Barack Obama and his administration. The Twilight War adds vital new depth to our understanding of this acute dilemma it is also a thrillingly engrossing read, animated by a healthy irony about human failings in the fog of not-quite war.

New York Times bestseller: The true behind-the-scenes story of the manhunt for the 9/11 mastermind is “a page-turner” (Minneapolis Star-Tribune).
 
From the author of Black Hawk Down and Hue 1968, this is a gripping account of the hunt for Osama bin Laden. With access to key sources, Mark Bowden takes us inside the rooms where decisions were made and on the ground where the action unfolded.
 
After masterminding the attacks of September 11, 2001, Osama bin Laden managed to vanish. Over the next ten years, as Bowden shows, America found that its war with al Qaeda—a scattered group of individuals who were almost impossible to track—demanded an innovative approach. Step by step, Bowden describes the development of a new tactical strategy to fight this war—the fusion of intel from various agencies and on-the-ground special ops.
 
After thousands of special forces missions in Iraq and Afghanistan, the right weapon to go after bin Laden had finally evolved. By spring 2011, intelligence pointed to a compound in Abbottabad; it was estimated that there was a 50/50 chance that Osama was there. Bowden shows how three strategies were mooted: a drone strike, a precision bombing, or an assault by Navy SEALs. In the end, the president had to make the final decision. It was time for the finish.
 
“In-depth interviews with Obama and other insiders reveal a White House on edge, facing top-secret options, white-knuckle decisions, and unforeseen obstacles . . . Bowden weaves together accounts from Obama and top decision-makers for the full story behind the daring operation.” —Vanity Fair
 
“The most accessible and satisfying book yet written on the climactic event in the United States’ long war against al Qaeda.” —San Francisco Chronicle
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