All Fall Down (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
The Iranian hostage crisis damaged the prestige of the United States throughout the world and also played a crucial role in destroying President Jimmy Carter’s hopes for reelection. Gary Sick, who served on the National Security Council during this crisis, has come forth with a valuable account of the making of American policy toward revolutionary Iran. By treating both the revolution that toppled the Shah and the hostage crisis itself, this comprehensive work gives the reader the complete story of America’s Iranian imbroglio.
On November 4, 1979, militant Iranian students seized control of the American Embassy at Teheran; as a result, fifty-two members of the embassy staff would be held hostage for 444 days. The pretext for this violation of traditional concepts of diplomatic privilege was the American government’s decision to admit to the United States the recently deposed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi.
This event raises some questions. Why had the United States decided to admit the Shah? Sick sees the chief motive for admitting him as the humanitarian one of permitting a seriously ill former ruler to gain access to advanced medical treatment. Sick also concedes that a desire not to be seen as knuckling under to Iranian pressure may have played a part in the decision. Why was the United States Embassy staff not reduced to a skeleton crew, and why were security arrangements at the embassy itself so lax? Sick sees bureaucratic inertia as...
(The entire section is 2162 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 1986)
Booklist. LXXXI, April 15, 1985, p. 1140.
Christian Science Monitor. LXXVII, August 2, 1985, p. B4.
Library Journal. CX, July, 1985, p. 78.
Los Angeles Times Book Review. May 19, 1985, p. 1.
The Nation. CCXL, June 22, 1985, p. 770.
The New York Times Book Review. XC, June 16, 1985, p. 1.
The New Yorker. LXI, August 19, 1985, p. 90.
Publishers Weekly. CCXXVII, April 12, 1985, p. 94.
The Wall Street Journal. CCVI, July 1, 1985, p. 11.
Washington Post Book World. XV, May 19, 1985, p. 5.
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