The author, then a U.S. navy captain, was the National Security Council's expert on Iran during the Carter Administration. This is the best book yet to appear on the American side of the story. It is based on special access to classified sources and a scholarly understanding of the larger context as well as on unique personal experience. Sick writes without malice about the collapse of the Shah, the triumph of Khomeini's revolution, and the 444-day crisis when the Americans were held hostage in Teheran. He sees no American heroes or villains, but instead describes how "all fell down" in the attempt to find nonexistent solutions to a situation over which the United States had little control. His defense of the attempted military rescue is less than convincing.