Even today, almost five decades after John F. Kennedy was slain, the public continues to be captivated by the "Kennedy Curse" and new theories about what really happened on that fateful day in 1963. For nearly 50 years, former Secret Service agent Clint Hill has lived with the unimaginable guilt of losing a president on his watch and has obeyed an honor code of silence, refusing to contribute to any books about the assassination. Until now.
Hill was just eight feet from President Kennedy when bullets pierced the president's head right before his eyes. Covered with blood, Agent Hill pushed Jackie Kennedy into the back seat. Clinging to the trunk of the open-top limousine as it sped away from Dealey Plaza to Parkland Hospital, he slammed his fist in anger, as he looked back to the agents in the follow-up car. His eyes, filled with despair, told them what they already knew.
Including contributions from over 40 agents who were on the Kennedy detail from November 1960 to November 1963 and those who knew them, never-before-published letters written by Jackie Kennedy in the immediate aftermath of the shooting, the bizarre unpublished story about a film Jackie made in September 1963 with the on-duty Secret Service agents about an assassination of the president, and the original November 18, 1963, Tampa security report from the author's personal files, which conspiracy theorists have long claimed was destroyed by the Secret Service, The Kennedy Detail provides an unfiltered look at the events surrounding this pivotal moment in American history.
©2010 Gerald Blaine with Lisa McCubbin (P)2010 Tantor
"An important contribution to Kennedy assassination literature because it presents in riveting detail the assassination from the agents' perspective and describes the lifelong emotional burden the agents endured when their best efforts were not enough." (Library Journal)
This was an amazing book. I am glad this book was written before time steals away all the Kennedy detail agents. After reading the book I downloaded off the internet the Clint Hill / Mike Wallace interviews and nearly cried watching them myself. I first got interested in Kennedy when "JFK" the movie (Costner) came out when I was in high school. My parents where disgusted by the movie and concerned that this history/fiction movie would taint the events and grief and lose objectivity of John Kennedy's death. I must say that until I read this book, I was a strong believer that there must have been some sort of conspiracy. After this book, I don't believe in a conspiracy, just amazed and fascinated on how this event really changed the whole world in ways we will probably never know. Thanks to Jerry Blaine and Clint Hill for writing this book and sharing their personal experiences. Thank god we have people like them still in this world. Clint if you ever read this, your a great man, never doubt that, you inspire me.
What a fascinating look back into the 60s and the story of one of the more secretive branches of security in the US! A heartbreaking account of history from a different perspective than ever heard before. Don't let the narration/narrator keep you from enjoying this book. It is excellent and well worth it!
I am an avid eclectic reader.
This was an interesting story. I have lived through it all and remember the day like it was yesterday. It was nice to hear an insider view point. The narration could have been better. The author repeated several points over and over but at least he got the information across. The information on Jackie Kennedy was interesting and confirmed other stories about her. Like any book it has it good and bad part but it is well worth a listen. It was about time the secret service agents provided their view point of that horrible day in Dallas.
While I am too young to remember the assassination, I was always interested in the many theories that surrounded that day. (Who hasn't heard about the "the grassy knoll"?) While I am amazed it has taken almost 50 years to hear the side of the Secret Service, I am thankful for the book. I also took a look at Clint Hill's interview with Mike Wallace, and after seeing his grief, I don't know how anyone could believe in a vast conspiracy. And by the way, I liked the narration!
I have problems with the narrator. Alan Sklar's voice is as deep and rich as melted dark chocolate sauce, but I can't forgive him for calling Caroline (Kennedy) "Carolyn". I'm sorry, but obvious mistakes distract and annoy me til I lose the story in anticipation of the next blooper. If it's worth telling, writing about, and getting recorded, then it's worth BEING READ CORRECTLY. And mispronouncing the first name of one of the leading characters takes away from the whole story for me.
Sklar needs to listen to some more Kennedy speeches before he attempts the accent again.
Towards the end of the book there's enough emotion for any three Dickens novels. When tough guys get sentimental they can be downright maudlin, so no need for any exaggeration on the part of the narrator.
That being said (or should I say "bemoaned"?), I have to add that this is a highly detailed and believable story of some of America's finest men in impossible situations where they're expected to jog in dress shoes and perform at 110% while being deprived of sleep, food, and family. And then they live in silent torment for not being perfect under impossible conditions.
It's a wonder good people still serve in the Secret Service, because according to another book about the Service, conditions haven't improved overmuch,
This book took me back to that day in history. Like others, I can remember those days clearly and exactly what I was doing. I listened and the tears flowed. It was so interesting to hear the Secret Service side at long last. There were so many stories and rumors. I was glued to the story from start to finish.
Nothing like real world events emotions and loyalties to take you away.
Great book with a glimpse back to what the world was like when integrity ruled if not in politics, around politicians.
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
Look, The Kennedy Detail isn't going to add anything to the literature dwelling on November 22, 1963. In fact calling it literature would be silly. If Blaine alone had written it I could have accepted the cliche ridden paragraphs - of which - jeesh, can't count that high! With a ghost? Boo!
Nevertheless, for me it was a cathartic narrative at the points where he discusses the White House in the aftermath of the assassination.
I was there with my family (I was13 years old) on the White House grounds Sunday November 24. Almost 50 years later I've been feeling that my memories have needed a chronological reset concerning those 4 days. This book has provided that for me. It allowed me to better understand my timeline for that weekend.
The agents were cut from cardboard here and were according to Blaine - all solid, good people, etc. (my father knew many of these agents through his job at White House and never had a bad word to say about any), but Blaine could have made at least Clint Hill more than a cut-out. He tried - to no avail.
IT IS NOT a well written tale and the narrator really is - let's be civil - not good at all. The price was also too high. $12.95 - mebee. At $19.95 - no. Don't buy this unless, like me you want to run a specific timeline and can waste $20, or you HAVE to have everything written about the Kennedy Assassination!
2 stars and a [Jethro Gibbs] whap upside the head.
Can't stop listening to this over the past two years....much of the book is about normal, everyday life in the Kennedy White House, which is detailed, interesting and heartwarming. I can listen to this happily as I doze off to sleep. The section leading up to and about the assassination and the aftermath is gripping, heart-breaking, and can't be listened to at bedtime. Just today was listening to the Parkland Hospital park and was in tears...once again. Great book, good performance.
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