A quarter century ago, a group of Iranian students swept into the United States embassy in Tehran, overpowered the Americans there and taking them hostage, the crisis that ensued would last for 444 days. It would define the Carter presidency and help give rise to the Reagan administration. It would begin as a rebellion against on brutal dictator and end with another in place. It was the turning point, the moment when radical first rose up against America - the beginning of the clash that continues to define our times today.
Now, for the first time, drawing on unprecedented interviews with American, Iranian and European participants, acclaimed historian David Harris tells the full story of those 444 days. At the center of it were three men who had come to power as outsiders and who were driven by a sense of divine right: the shah of Iran, President Jimmy Carter, and Ayatollah Khomeini. But this is not just the story of presidents and rulers; it is the story of hundreds of other people who played essential roles, including CIA agents, Iranian dissidents, White House officials, enigmatic French intermediaries, Special Forces operatives, Panamanian strongmen, and of course the hostages themselves.