Analysis Of Taken Hostage By David Farber

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Taken Hostage by David Farber is book about the Iranian hostage crisis that occurred 1979-1981. Farber looks into the causes of the hostage crisis, both at home and abroad, relations between Iran and the United States, and what attempts were made in order to rescue the hostages. Farber wrote the book in order to give insight into an issue that is considered to be a huge blemish and embarrassment on America’s history. He looked at it from all perspectives and gave an objective overview of the conflict.
In order to put the event into context, Farber takes time to speak about the current domestic and foreign policy issues that were occurring during the time of the conflict. Domestically, the United States was going through a financial crisis.
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This completely changed the perception of the United States within Iran. Many Iranians believed that “American influence and power made a mockery of their national autonomy and desecrated their religious beliefs” (Farber, 37). The real struggle came once the Shah sought asylum in the U.S. Iran believed this to be a betrayal and demanded the Shah be released to the revolutionaries. Due to the fact that the United States did not refuse the Shah, the revolutionaries took the embassy in Tehran and all of the people that worked there hostage. One of the hostages wrote back to his parents during the crisis “‘We will not be set free until shah is released and the longer we stay here like this the better is a chance for something terrible to happen’” (Farber, 156). The siege was led by Iranian students who supported the revolution and the Ayatollah Khomeini, the leader that the revolution had selected to take the place of the…show more content…
It was always a balance between negotiations and hard power. Underneath Carter, Secretary of State Cyrus Vance believed that negotiations were going to be more beneficial while his National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, advocated for a more hawk-like strategy. In order to persuade the Iranians to release the hostages and to come up with a more diplomatic solution, the U.S. stopped buying oil from Iran and froze all Iranian assets. After that failed, Carter sought out Brzezinski for a military method, Operation Eagle Claw. Unfortunately, this mission was a catastrophe. The helicopters the rescuers used malfunctioned and eight Americans were killed in the process.
Finally on January 20, 1981, the hostages were freed, hours after Ronald Reagan had been sworn into office. The negotiations were made and called the Algiers Agreement. Farber ends the book with a look into the future and how the events that transpired could be affecting the present “Historians usually are accused of exercising 20-20 hindsight. But, in this case, at the time, the historian’s visions can also be used to look forward into the perilous future” (Farber,
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