In this account of Iranian hostage crisis, we are treated to detailed portraits of Reza Shah Pahlavi and Ruhollah Khomeini, routes to their arrival in the turmoil of the late 1970s. Each of the players here is given significant treatment. Zbigniev Brezinski comes across as an aggressive neocon-like militarist, eager to apply a military solution, and not all that interested in the survival of the hostages. Carter made a series of mistakes, mostly in being so out front about his support for the Shah, and allowing his intelligence (military, not personal) to be hamstrung by an old agreement about not spying on Iran. Still, he gained the respect of the military guys involved, showed plenty of resolve, and tried his best to see that the hostages were returned home alive. The picture we get of the Iranian side is quite interesting as well. The factions were not all in synch and political infighting and positioning played a major role in the unfolding events. We get a view of Khomeini that is new to me. He was or played a remote guy who would not take much initiative once they had taken over, but would ok actions or reject them only after they had occurred. Strange. The students who took the hostages were not officially part of the government, but freelancers. It was no small thing to get custody of the hostages shifted from them to the government. We see much of the internecine politics between Bani Sadr and Ghotsbeydegh. I had not realized how much Kurt Waldheim had screwed things up during one phase of negotiations. Harris raises the issue of whether the Republicans had bargained with Iran about cutting them a good deal if they would hold the hostages long enough to embarrass Carter. It was not proven in several investigations, but the notion lingers in the air that it was not disproven either. Ultimately patience and sanctions paid off. When Iraq invaded, Iran became more needful of military supplies that had been denied as a result of the international boycott, and thus more interested in resolving the hostage standoff. It is a very interesting book, a must read for anyone interested in this period of history. The level of detail is high, but not so high as to make it an unpleasant read. Highly recommeneded.