Saturday 10 November 2012

Book Review - Argo: how the CIA and Hollywood pulled off the most audacious rescue in history

When I read the movie reviews for Argo, I swore I would not go see that movie.

The movie rewrites history at Canada’s expense, making Hollywood and the CIA the saga’s heroic saviours while Taylor is demoted to a kindly concierge. Mendez did indeed work with Hollywood to forge an elaborate cover for the Canadian Embassy’s clandestine house guests. But Affleck’s movie underplays Taylor’s role. And Taylor is not amused. 

“So much of the movie is total fiction,” says the 77-year-old former ambassador on the phone from his home in Manhattan. “My concern is that we’re portrayed as innkeepers who are waiting to be saved by the CIA.”

After I read an interview with Tony Mendez, author of the book Argo: how the CIA and Hollywood pulled off the most audacious rescue in history, he said too that the role Ken Taylor and Canada played in the rescue of six American diplomats in Iran in 1979 was downplayed. Reading this interview made me think the book would be different.

The true, declassified account of CIA operative Tony Mendez's daring rescue of American hostages from Iran. Antonio Mendez finally details the extraordinarily complex and dangerous operation he led more than three decades ago. A riveting story of secret identities and international intrigue, Argo is the gripping account of the history-making collusion between Hollywood and high-stakes espionage.

I won't say that Mendez is rewriting history, just telling it from his own point of view, while at the same time giving the CIA 100% of the credit. This particular paragraph at the end of the book just made me livid,.

"With the CIA's involvement a secret, the lions share of the credit for the operation went to Ken Taylor. He became an overnight sensation...........Wherever he went, he was always gracious in trying to deflect credit onto others, but he clearly didn't shun the limelight. OF COURSE, TAYLOR WAS ONLY DOING WHAT WE WANTED HIM TO DO, which was deflect attention away from the United States and onto Canada" (capitalization is mine)


To say something nice about the book, I did enjoy the stories he told of past operations and how an operation is set up, but please, taking all the credit! When someone does something nice for you, like saving the lives of your citizens, just say thanks. Don't twist the deed to show your own selves as being the heroes!

The next book I am reading is Our Man in Tehran which is written by Canadian Robert Wright and is supposed to tell the entire story of what happened, not just part of it. It should be a more even handed, honest read of what happened.

The book, Argo, is really not worth reading.

1 comment:

John Mutford said...

Wow! I hope you enjoy the next book more!