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A Book Review of Argo

Updated on November 25, 2012

The story that sounded too fictional to be true

I saw previews of the movie Argo and the rave reviews it has received in magazines and decided to give the book a try.

The book Argo by Antonio Mendez and Matt Baglio sounds just like a work of fiction that you might find in a story by John Lecarre or Ian Fleming, but this story is even more fantastic because it is based on true events.

Big Trouble For America

In the book the year 1979 was the year of big trouble for America in the country of Iran. President Carter had decided to help the Shah of Iran and people in that country did not like it one bit. The Shah had lost the power he had over the country and was a man on the run. He was also a man who was dying. President Carter decided to help him out because the Shah had been an Ally of the United States for years. When this happened revolutionaries decided to invade the US Embassy and demand the Shah’s return to Iran.

Our Fascinating Main Character

The story of Argo is fascinating because it was a story that had been covered up by the government for years. The main character of the story is a CIA agent named Antonio Mendez who came from humble beginnings. He was born in Nevada and never thought he had things any worse than anyone else he writes:

“I was born in Eureka, Nevada-according to the National Geographic, the loneliest town on the loneliest road in America. It is probably a good thing I didn’t know that when I was growing up. I thought things were just fine.”

In the book Argo we follow Mendez as he goes from running his own design studio to becoming a member of the CIA. Mendez and his artistic skills were exactly what the government was looking for and in hiring Mendez the government got a talented man with nerves of steel and brains to match.

The Bravery of Americans in Iran

The story takes us also to the viewpoint of the Americans who suddenly found themselves in life threatening situations in Iran. Six of the Americans in the Embassy managed to escape and found themselves on the run and in desperate need of help.

The Story Flows

The story of Argo seems to flow at a rapid pace. Knowing what the main plot is about I wanted to get right to the part of the rescue operation. This doesn’t start to happen till the middle of the book. It doesn’t disappoint and the reader soon finds out the outlandish plan to get the hostages out of the country. The book has an almost interview feel to it and there were times I would have liked a little more description of situations and the diplomats themselves.

It is Fascinating

Argo is fascinating able to rub elbows with a CIA man and see the dangerous situations they can find themselves in. Their lives are no movie script and they put themselves in danger many, many times in the course of their careers. One hopes they are well compensated for it.

It is Worth a Reread

Argo is a book that should be read twice. I may have read the book too fast the first time around to get to the part of the story I had heard about. It is worth a second read to see how brave and patriotic some people can be in serving their country. It shows the lengths they are willing to go through to get back on of our own.

Hats Off To The Escaping Diplomats

The diplomats also deserve some praise for the harrowing experiences they had to go through hiding out from the Iranians. How they didn’t have nervous breakdowns is beyond me. They kept their heads together and kept faith that help was on the way.


Argo is a fascinating true story of the resourcefulness of not only the Americans, but the Canadian Government as well. Take a step back to the year 1979 and find yourself in a spy thriller and a game of wits. It will amaze you.


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