I quickly downloaded the book with anticipation of a full glimpse inside the Secret Service as it was construed at that time. As I listened to the initial paragraphs stating the sourcing as coming completely from ex-agents on the detail, the smell of whitewash was rising in my nostrils and that feeling we all get upon fearing we have wasted a valuable credit began to grow. As they say, trust your instincts. I didn't and spent 17 hours becoming increasingly irritated with this book.
Part 1 - this can be fully summarized by: The agents worked very long hours and were all near perfect human beings. The Kennedys were all awesome people and the President was a wonderful loving husband. Gloss, gloss and more gloss. When the initial discussion of the Dallas trip is introduced, the real purpose of the book becomes clear - the Secret Service was not at fault. The discussion of the tall buildings at the site of the assassination is basically dealt with as "Gee, there are sure a lot of windows up there" and that after discussing all those office windows with the Dallas police that "they would handle it". Worse, he slyly pawns off responsibility on JFK with his discussion about how it was what he demanded (riding in the open and barring the agents from the back of the limo).
Later in Part 2, he gets a not too disguised shot in at the FBI for not sharing information about Oswald. Incredibly, considering the hotbed of anti-Kennedy sentiment in Dallas, he says there were no known threats brought to the attention of the Secret Service. Nowhere does he relay any serious analysis of the office building threat nor any attempt by the Secret Service management to inform and persuade the Kennedy Administration about the threat or imminent danger of the motorcade.
JFK did great things but was flawed. There is no need to buff him up. The Secret Service was underpowered but failed to do many things to prevent the assassination despite this play for sympathy and exoneration
I thoroughly enjoyed this, my first read of this author. The book kept my interest throughout and was a satisfying fiction adventure. I look forward to reading more of his books.
I know better than to expect objective well reasoned history on events that happened less than a decade before the writing. Foolishly, I bought this book anyway and paid for my mistake. The writer is just another in the "Bush lied people died" leftist chorus line with no original thought or insights to share. If you think that the murder of the people in the World Trade Center was understandable as an expression of anti-American repression or want someone to paint Islamic fanatics dealt with firmly by the Bush Administration as victims, this is the book for you. The anti-American slant is so blatant and the smearing of every member of the Bush Administration so pervasive that you quickly realize the title refers to the unending liberal campaign to indulge in Bush Derangement Syndrome - not to the serious problem we face because Islamic fanatics want to kill every person who does not think and behave exactly as they do. I quit listening half way through once I began to fantasize about water-boarding Mr. Bergen. Not scholarly history -do not waste your credits on this tripe.
As others have noted, first half of the book is ok but not great. It falls apart when evolving into a Christian sermon in the second half. Not what I thought I was buying nor what I wanted. There are far better authors and works from this genre available. I would rather reread any Vince Flynn book for the twelfth time than read this once. I will pray you do not waste your money on this over-hyped drivel.
When you read a variety of history on many subjects for a few decades, you are able to quickly tell quality writing from the junk. This book, unfortunately, is the latter. If you are want to know how the Bureau works, achieves, struggles etc. - keep on looking. This is basically an anti-Hoover rant. Speed read by the breathless Mr. Todd (who sounds like he got a bonus for finishing this read as fast as possible), this is the worst possible combination of People's magazine history delivered in a rapid and detached manner. One would think, reading this thing, that the F.B.I. has accomplished nothing of consequence in its history. Yes, J. Edgar Hoover was a strange and petty man (duh!) but reducing the history of the F.B.I. to a listing of his flaws is demeaning to the many expert, accomplished professionals who have worked at the Bureau over the years and a simplistic presentation of "history" better fit for a comic books and simpletons. Listener beware!
As an avid reader and listener of many books covering the War Between the States, I looked forward to a long highway drive from Boston to Atlanta as a chance to listen to this book. The reader, unfortunately, was so distracting and irritating in his presentation and over dramatization of the book that I finally gave up half way through and switched to another selection. I am a long time customer and have never had this happen before. This reader is flat out annoying. A waste of money to me as I will have to buy the book to read after having spent money to listen to it.
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