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Yellow Ribbon: The Secret Journal of Bruce Laingen.


Published by Brassey's [1992], Washington, DC, 1992
ISBN 10: 0028810309 / ISBN 13: 9780028810300
/ Hardcover
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Bibliographic Details

Title: Yellow Ribbon: The Secret Journal of Bruce ...

Publisher: Brassey's [1992], Washington, DC

Publication Date: 1992

Binding: Hardcover

Dust Jacket Condition: Dust Jacket Included

Signed: Signed by Author(s)

Edition: 1st Edition


Small 4to. Blue cloth spine with gilt lettering and blue paper over boards, pictorial dust jacket. xi, 305pp. Illustrations. Near fine/fine. Tight, attractive first edition of this diary of the senior American diplomat (charge d'affaires, U.S. Embassy) seized by Iranians in 1979. Front flyleaf bears a huge inscription and signature in black fineline: "To Fred Koenecke -- / with warm / regards to a fellow / Ole -- / Bruce Laingen / U. of Dubuque / October 15, 1993.". Bookseller Inventory # 37889

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Synopsis: Excerpts from Bruce Laingen's Secret Journal and Letters: . DAY 13, November 16, 1979--I am sick at heart, but I remain an optimist, too, confident that human decency will ultimately prevail. Then we will have a long, long time in which to reflect on this tragedy... DAY 50, December 23, 1979--The whole thing is unconscionable...that a government that professes to be guided by spiritual considerations should demonstrate such cruelty and inhumanity. It boggles my mind and depresses my spirit. DAY 59, January 1, 1980--I think tonight I have learned to hate. Certainly I have felt bitterness in ways that I never have before. DAY 170, April 21, 1980-- Dear Jim [thirteen-year-old son], Thanksgiving, Mom's birthday, Christmas, New Year's, Valentine's Day, Easter--all that I didn't mind missing too much, but your Confirmation Day, that I didn't want to miss. But barring an Islamic miracle (they're rare), I will miss it. And I regret that very much. DAY 435, January 11, 1981--There's an expression... that walls do not a prison make. Well, I must say they do a reasonably good job at it... My family is constantly on my mind, to be talked about in a dialogue with God, to be remembered for the shared experiences of years past, to be seen in my minds eye as often thinking of me. Surely all of us held here are stronger men and women because we know that in that respect we are not alone.

From Kirkus Reviews: The personal journal of the highest-ranking US envoy to be interned during the 444-day siege that became known as the Iran Hostage Crisis. Relatively speaking, Laingen was fortunate. Posted to Tehran in mid-1979 as charg? d`affaires while Washington decided whether to accredit a full-fledged ambassador to the theocratic regime that overthrew the Shah, he was away from his office when militant ``students'' seized the American embassy and took its staff prisoner. Consequently, the author spent all but the last three weeks of his confinement with two subordinates in the reception rooms of the Iranian Foreign Ministry. More like birds in a gilded (if dirty) cage than political prisoners, the three detainees had access to books, newspapers, radio, and TV; they also had plenty to eat, endured no physical or psychological abuse, and received periodic visits from fellow members of the local diplomatic community. Constant contacts with the outside world enabled Laingen (who turned 58 during his ordeal) to keep an impressively detailed log of his captivity and to remain informed on current events, including the ayatollahs' efforts to make an Islamic state of Iran. Much of the material here, including letters to his wife and three sons, was spirited out of the chancellory by Swiss colleagues. Taken together, the near-daily entries offer an affecting, albeit kaleidoscopic, account of a good and decent man's response to protracted adversity. Lonely, hopeful, despairing, frustrated, resigned, and outraged by turn, Laingen relied on traditional values--duty, honor, country, family, religion--to sustain himself. That these oft-deprecated virtues obviously helped him through some very rough times represents the most important message of this low-key testament. (Illustrations, including facsimiles of journal entries smuggled out of Iran.) -- Copyright 1992, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.

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