Authors will hold book signing after lecture

STEUBENVILLE – Area residents who attend the local appearance of Antonio and Jonna Mendez will have the opportunity to have their copies of Mendez’s book signed.

The couple, scheduled to speak at 7:30 p.m. April 9 in the auditorium at Steubenville High School, will conduct a book signing after their presentation, which is the next installment in the Jefferson County Chamber of Commerce, Herald-Star Concert and Lecture Series.

Tony Mendez is the CIA agent who orchestrated the rescue of six American diplomats who had escaped when Iranian student-militants overran the U.S. embassy in Tehran on Nov. 4, 1979. Canada provided refuge to the six until late January 1980 when Mendez and another CIA officer disguised them as members of film crew working on a fake science-fiction film – “Argo” – and took them out of Iran.

The rescue was dramatized in the Academy Award-winning film “Argo,” in which Ben Affleck portrayed Mendez.

Mendez described the once-classified operation in his book “The Master of Disguise -My Secret Life in the CIA,” which was written with Malcolm McConnell and first published in 1999. He tells an expanded version of the story in the book “Argo: How the CIA and Hollywood Pulled Off the Most Audacious Rescue in History,” which was written with Matt Baglio and published shortly before the movie’s October release.

“We’re happy to be able to add this component to the April 9 lecture,” said Ross Gallabrese, executive editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times. “Those who attend the lecture will have the opportunity to have Mendez sign a copy of one of his books.”

Mendez, who earned numerous commendations during his 25-year career, also teamed with his wife, Jonna to write “Spy Dust.” That book, which was written with Bruce Henderson, offers a look at how the two masters of disguise helped to win the Cold War. Jonna Mendez served 27 years in the CIA as an officer in the technical services division and as chief of disguise, a post Tony Mendez also held.

Copies of the book “Argo” will be available for purchase at $24.95 (plus tax) prior to and after the presentation at the high school. The book also is available for purchase at the Herald-Star offices, 401 Herald Square, during regular business hours.

Reserved tickets for the presentation cost $20, while general admission tickets cost $15. Tickets are available at the Herald-Star; by calling (740) 283-4711; or by visiting the newspaper’s website at

The newspaper is extending a special offer that will make it easier for area residents to obtain a copy of the book “Argo” – the package includes two reserved seat tickets to the April 9 presentation and a copy of the book for $55. That price represents a savings of more than $13 over the cost of the items if purchased separately. The deadline to purchase the package is Friday.

“That’s an outstanding deal,” said Gallabrese. “You’ll get great seats for the presentation and your copy of the book to have signed afterward for a very reasonable price.”

Major sponsors for the evening include the Franciscan University of Steubenville and Eastern Gateway Community College.

Special support is being provided Bayberry Bed and Breakfast, Apollo Pro Cleaning, Piergallini Catering, Newbrough Photo, Thrifty Car Rental, Dave D’Anniballe of D’Anniballe and Co. CPAs and Steubenville City Schools.