Hugh Wilford

Hugh Wilford teaches US history at California State University, Long Beach. He is the author of America’s Great Game: The CIA’s Secret Arabists and The Shaping of the Modern Middle East, among other books.

‘Argo​ fuck yourself.’ The line is repeated several times in Ben Affleck’s 2012 historical spy thriller, Argo. Based on the memoir by Tony Mendez, a CIA agent, the movie depicts the covert rescue of six US embassy workers caught up in the 1979-81 Iranian hostage crisis; the CIA used a fake film-shoot – of a schlocky sci-fi story called ‘Argo’ – as...

The winter of 1947 was Europe’s coldest since 1880. In Britain, a fuel shortage effectively halted industrial production for three weeks and led to a sixfold increase in unemployment. In Germany, thousands of Berliners were treated for frostbite and seven froze to death. French farmers stopped sending food to market and hoarded it for their own families, causing food riots in several...

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