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Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History

by Matt Baglio Antonio J. Mendez

The true, declassified account of CIA operative Tony Mendez's daring rescue of American hostages from Iran that inspired the critically-acclaimed film directed by and starring Ben Affleck, and co-starring John Goodman, Alan Arkin, and Bryan Cranston. On November 4, 1979, Iranian militants stormed the American embassy in Tehran and captured dozens of American hostages, sparking a 444-day ordeal and a quake in global politics still reverberating today. But there is a little-known drama connected to the crisis: six Americans escaped. And a top-level CIA officer named Antonio Mendez devised an ingenious yet incredibly risky plan to rescue them before they were detected. Disguising himself as a Hollywood producer, and supported by a cast of expert forgers, deep cover CIA operatives, foreign agents, and Hollywood special effects artists, Mendez traveled to Tehran under the guise of scouting locations for a fake science fiction film called Argo. While pretending to find the perfect film backdrops, Mendez and a colleague succeeded in contacting the escapees, and smuggling them out of Iran. Antonio Mendez finally details the extraordinarily complex and dangerous operation he led more than three decades ago. A riveting story of secret identities and international intrigue, Argo is the gripping account of the history-making collusion between Hollywood and high-stakes espionage.

The Rite

by Matt Baglio

In The Rite, journalist Matt Baglio uses the astonishing story of one American priest's training as an exorcist to reveal that the phenomena of possession, demons, the Devil, and exorcism are not merely a remnant of the archaic past, but remain a fearsome power in many people's lives even today.Father Gary Thomas was working as a parish priest in California when he was asked by his bishop to travel to Rome for training in the rite of exorcism. Though initially surprised, and slightly reluctant, he accepted this call, and enrolled in a new exorcism course at a Vatican-affiliated university, which taught him, among other things, how to distinguish between a genuine possession and mental illness. Eventually he would go on to participate in more than eighty exorcisms as an apprentice to a veteran Italian exorcist. His experiences profoundly changed the way he viewed the spiritual world, and as he moved from rational skeptic to practicing exorcist he came to understand the battle between good and evil in a whole new light. Journalist Matt Baglio had full access to Father Gary over the course of his training, and much of what he learned defies explanation.The Rite provides fascinating vignettes from the lives of exorcists and people possessed by demons, including firsthand accounts of exorcists at work casting out demons, culminating in Father Gary's own confrontations with the Devil. Baglio also traces the history of exorcism, revealing its rites and rituals, explaining what the Catholic Church really teaches about demonic possession, and delving into such related topics as the hierarchy of angels and demons, satanic cults, black masses, curses, and the various theories used by modern scientists and anthropologists who seek to quantify such phenomena.Written with an investigative eye that will captivate both skeptics and believers alike, The Rite shows that the truth about demonic possession is not only stranger than fiction, but also far more chilling.

The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist

by Matt Baglio

In 2005 a Vatican-run university opened its doors to priests from around the world, running a course for would-be exorcists. Looking for a story, Rome-based investigative journalist Matt Baglio attended the class, and there met Father Gary Thomas - a Californian priest who had been chosen to attend by his bishop. Father Gary was concerned that many of the 'possessed' were in reality suffering from psychological disorders best left to the care of doctors. How and why his view changed is the subject of this book. We follow Father Gary's year-long training with a senior exorcist as he is transformed from a doubter into a believer. Baglio gained unprecedented access to this world, including participating in exorcisms and culminating with Fr. Gary's own fearsome confrontation with the Devil. Woven into his story is the fascinating history of exorcism, its rites and rituals, and the ways and reasons that people become possessed. Matt Baglio speaks to psychologists and detectives, as well as Vatican clergy, to winkle out the truth about this most Gothic of subjects. THE RITE is proof that the truth about demonic possession is not only stranger than fiction, but far more chilling.

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