Black Hawk Down won him a National Book Award nomination, turns his sights to the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The audio abridgment is generally smoot"/>

Guests of the Ayatollah

Mark Bowden, Author, Mark Bowden, Read by , read by the author. Simon & Schuster Audio $39.95 (0p) ISBN 978-0-7435-5531-9

Bowden, whose Black Hawk Down won him a National Book Award nomination, turns his sights to the 1979 Iran hostage crisis. The audio abridgment is generally smooth, though it's often difficult to keep the cast of characters straight: 66 original hostages, dozens of Iranian captors and untold numbers of diplomats, bureaucrats and family members. On audio, such a dizzying array of stories and backstories can become confusing. Bowden is a capable and competent narrator; while there are no tour de force performances here, the reading is solid and consistent, with no annoying vocal tics or other distractions. The real bonus of the audio over the print version is the final disc, which contains several visual enhancements: a PDF map of the embassy compound; a map of Iran, with markings not only for cities but also the landing site of the ill-fated 1980 rescue mission; and, most impressively, almost nine minutes of footage from the Discovery Channel's four-part documentary Guests of the Ayatollah , featuring compelling interviews with surviving members of the rescue team. Simultaneous release with the Atlantic Monthly hardcover (Reviews, Apr. 17). (May)

Reviewed on: 07/10/2006
Release date: 04/01/2006
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