October Surprise: America’s Hostages in Iran and the Election of Ronald Reagan
By Gary G. Sick
Times Books, 1992, 306 pp.
The original edition of this book caused a sensation by raising the possibility that the Reagan campaign in 1980 might have negotiated with the Iranians to delay the release of the American hostages in Tehran. Before the book had even been published, partisans were taking sides and reputable news magazines were writing rebuttals. Eventually the House and Senate both launched investigations into the charges and reached the conclusion that there was no basis for most of them. Gary Sick has now written, for the paperback edition, a new preface and afterword that answer some of his critics. He seems to concede that there is no evidence linking George Bush to the possible deal, as he had initially surmised, but he still believes that William Casey was a likely conspirator. The House and Senate investigations have raised questions about the reliability of many of Sick's sources. While the author never claimed to have definitive proof, he did pull together a massive amount of circumstantial evidence, only some of which has been fully discounted by the congressional investigations. Given the nature of the case, it is hard to believe that we have heard the end of this affair.