In contrast to Kenneth Pollack’s [*The Persian Puzzle*]([canonical-url:node/674]), which took me weeks to finish, I read *Taken Hostage* on a flight from California to New Hampshire. I bought it yesterday to keep me occupied on the flight and it fit the bill almost exactly. I finished about 20 minutes before landing.
*Taken Hostage* is the account of the 444-day Iranian Hostage Crisis in 1979 – 1981. I had just turned eleven when the hostages were released, and my memories of that time are pretty hazy. I hoped the focus on this one event would make a good compliment to *The Persian Puzzle*‘s more comprehensive overview of U.S.-Iranian relations. Unfortunately, while Farber covers more of what happened in America, Pollack’s analysis and data is generally much better.
In the end, even Pollack’s coverage just of the hostage crisis has greater detail and insight than the whole of Farber’s book. Which isn’t to say Farber’s book isn’t any good, but my timing for choosing to read is unfortunate. I didn’t get very much from this book.