The Crisis: The President, the Prophet, and the Shah-1979 and the Coming of Militant Islam

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9780316323949: The Crisis: The President, the Prophet, and the Shah-1979 and the Coming of Militant Islam
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An account of the 444-day Iran hostage crisis describes how a mob of students, inspired by a then-virtually unknown Khomeini, seized the American embassy in 1979, in a chronicle that documents the year they spent as political prisoners, the contributions of such figures as Jimmy Carter and the Shah, and the doomed Desert One rescue mission. By the author of Shooting the Moon. 25,000 first printing.

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About the Author:

David Harris, formerly a contributing editor at the New York Times Magazine and Rolling Stone, has written eight previous books, including The League, Dreams Die Hard, The Last Stand, and Shooting the Moon. He lives in California.

From Publishers Weekly:

The 1979 Iranian hostage crisis, exactly 25 years ago, awakened America to the depth of its unpopularity in the Middle East, and militant Islamism discovered its capacity to land a blow against a superpower. Journalist Harris (Shooting the Moon; etc.), formerly with the New York Times Magazine, rarely breaks from his suspenseful narrative for analysis, but the current relevance of the events is obvious. The initial antagonists are the shah, with his lavish lifestyle and authoritarian government, and the enigmatic Ayatollah Khomeini. Harris's main windows onto the Iranian revolution are its two most powerful moderates, Sadegh Ghotbzadeh and Abolhassan Bani Sadr, formerly Khomeini's brain trust during his exile in Paris. When a group of radical Muslim students stormed the American embassy and took 63 hostages, it helped consolidate the dominance of the Iranian revolution's Islamists. The psychology and decision-making process of the mullahs remain opaque in this account. Jimmy Carter's White House appears equally befuddled. Harris resourcefully reconstructs the administration's tortuous internal debates and hapless back-channel negotiations with Iran's revolutionary government. His dramatically paced tale culminates in gripping descriptions of the United States' failed rescue attempt and the endgame of the standoff, with its decisive effect on the election of 1980. 8 pages of photos not seen by PW.
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