Guests of the Ayatollah

  • by Mark Bowden
  • Narrated by Mark Bowden
  • 9 hrs and 55 mins
  • Abridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

On November 4, 1979, a group of radical Islamist students, inspired by revolutionary Iranian leader Ayatollah Khomeini, stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran. They took 52 Americans hostage and kept nearly all of them captive 444 days. The Iran hostage crisis was a watershed moment in American history. It was America's first showdown with Islamic fundamentalism, a confrontation at the forefront of American policy to this day. It was also a powerful dramatic story that captivated the American people, launched yellow-ribbon campaigns, made celebrities of the hostage's families, and crippled the reelection campaign of President Jimmy Carter. Mark Bowden tells this sweeping story through the eyes of the hostages, their radical, naive captors, the soldiers sent on the impossible mission to free them, and the diplomats working to end the crisis. Taking listeners from the Oval Office to the hostages' cells, Guests of the Ayatollah is a remarkably detailed, brilliantly re-created, and suspenseful account of a crisis that gripped and ultimately changed the world.


What the Critics Say

"Bowden keeps tension high." (Booklist)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Fine as an abridged version!

I recently went on an Iran kick, listening to "All the Shah's Men" (from Audible) and then this book. 'Guests of the Ayatollah' was the far more engaging of the two. I usually shun abridged versions, but I must say that at 9+ hours, this edition was just as engaging and satisfying as many of the great full-length books I have listened to.

The author paints a well-researched view of the whole Iran Hostage Crisis, skillfully blending the parallel stories of the Iranian revolution, the American hostages, President Carter, and the (fascinating!) botched rescue attempt by Delta Force.

This was one of those real-life books that has you engaged as if it were fiction. Highly recommended, especially if you were like me, having always heard of the Iran Hostage Crisis but never knowing the actual details.
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- Max

At times thrilling

This book is fascinating- about an episode that would be a minor historical event except that our troubles with Iran are still on-going (and Iran keeps taking hostages). The author reads the book himself and at times the story reads like a thrilling spy novel in an exotic place (even though many readers will know generally what happened)... But be forewarned, any story about the mistreatment of a group of hostages for more than a year can be sad and depressing. I enjoyed the many insights into each of the hostages' personalities and their unique ways of coping with their captivity, but there were mornings when after listening for an hour during my commute that I was left sad and angry. It takes a good book to affect me this way, and this is a good book about a history we all should know as we veer towards yet another confrontation with the mullahs of Iran
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- Renan

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-19-2006
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Audio