On Wings of Eagles by Ken Follet
In 1978, during the uprising that led to the fall of Shah of Iran and put Khomeini in power, EDS corporation which was doing business in Iran got into some problems with Iranian government or certain people in the government. Two EDS employees were arrested and thrown into jail with no proper judicial process in the sight. The bail amount set was 13 million US dollars. That itself was an indication that there was no hope for real justice.
All efforts to secure the release of these two employees failed. Even the US state department under Carter presidency could not and did not do much as US was busy in sorting out a messy political situation. Shah stayed in power that long mainly due to US support. Even that did not stop people from staging a revolution. US was buys in ensuring safe passage to Shah and his close circle. Two common citizens thrown into jail did not become a priority. Also, there was always suspicion that EDS people may have been thrown into jail due to some irregularities.
When all regular avenues to secure their release failed, Ross Perot founder and then CEO of EDS took the challenge to secure the release into his own hands. He used one of his old military contact who had the experience of conducting daring commando operations in Vietnam to rescue his people from Iran. Bull Simons, a decorated army veteran, was asked to help and Simon was ever ready. Commandos were not from any elite unit of US armed forces. They were chosen from rank and file of EDS. They were trained and managed by Simons.
This book narrates the entire story starting with EDS in Iran, their life, how they landed into problem, agonizing days for the affected people and families, grit of Ross Perot and his commitment to take care of his loyal employees, preparations for commando operation, many near fatal incidents, how local Iranians helped out and how the operation took altogether a different form and ultimately how it all ended well.
Great book. After having seen many avatars of Ross Perot this book shows another avatar which makes you really admire and respect him. It is not unlikely if everyone feels that they will give their life to someone like Perot. It is also a good lesson for modern day managers who have totally forgotten to treat employees anything more than disposables.
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