Book Review: “On Wings of Eagles” by Ken Follett

This is a story about how Ross Perot of EDS (Electronic Data System) rescued two of its two employees from Iran when the revolution happened in 1979 that overthrew Shah’s government. The chaos that ensued was simply incredible and mind boggling.

EDS was involved in setting up and running Iran’s social security system. When the government ran out of money and didn’t pay for their service coupled with the Shah’s departure from power, they decided to retreat back to Dallas, TX. The last two US employee, Paul and Bill, became the hostages of the tenacious antagonist of the story, Dadgar, who jailed them without an accusation/indictment, then managed to chase them to the edge of the border.

Ross Perot tried to rescue them through diplomatic means without success. So he resorted to hiring a squad of people consisted of Bull Simon and other EDS recruits to go into Iran trying to bust them out of the jail. Thanks to the revolution, the mobs and the quick wit of Rashid, an EDS Iranian employee, they escaped the prison and ran into the rescue team. Now the hard time of getting out of Iran in the middle of anarchy where warlords of each village would stop them from reaching the Turkey border.

The readers can glean from this book what it is like to be in a modern revolution, which doesn’t happen often. The lawlessness in a middle of government transition from that of a dictator to that of a religion zealot, combined with the race conflicts made this country a tinder box until this day. It’s amazing how ordinary people live through that era and it’s probably difficult for Americans to comprehend in our stable and law-binding (mostly) society.

I am impressed by the courage of the EDS people to go into the line of fire to rescue a colleague. Employees nowadays would not be least expected to do anything like that.

This book should serve as a warning to the big corporate executives that doing business within a country lacking legal infrastructure is difficult like in this case.

In summary, this is a well researched story that read like a thriller novel. Ross Perot really showed his leadership and pure guts in getting his people out of Iran. I total changed my opinion of him since his run for Presidency back in 1992. The audiobook was quite enjoyable. Ken Follett did a great job in writing this book. Someone should make a movie from this book. Simply mesmerizing!