Kessler portrays the dangers that agents face and how they carry out their missions---from how they are trained to how they spot and assess potential threats. With fly-on-the-wall perspective, he captures the drama and tension that characterize agents' lives. In this headline-grabbing book, Kessler discloses assassination attempts that have never before been revealed. He shares inside accounts of past assaults that have put the Secret Service to the test, including a heroic gun battle that took down the would-be assassins of Harry S. Truman, the devastating day that John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas, and the swift actions that saved Ronald Reagan after he was shot. While Secret Service agents are brave and dedicated, Kessler exposes how Secret Service management in recent years has betrayed its mission by cutting corners, risking the assassination of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and their families. Given the lax standards, "It's a miracle we have not had a successful assassination," a current agent says. ,p>Since an assassination jeopardizes democracy itself, few agencies are as important as the Secret Service---and few subjects are as tantalizing as the inner sanctum of the White House. Only tight-lipped Secret Service agents know the real story, and Kessler is the only journalist to have won their trust.
©2009 Ronald Kessler; (P)2009 Tantor
This book was ok. It went pretty much of what I thought it might. The author tells you alot of what the Secret Service Staff go though and are required to endure.
This book looked interesting so I took a chance on it. I found it to be very interesting right from the start, and it kept my attention all the way through. If you have ever been interested in a behind the scenes look at past presidencies, and a look inside the Secret Service, this book is for you. I was surprised at how rude and ill mannered some of our president's have been. This book will open your eyes to what politicians do when they are out of the public eye. It also goes into detail about what the Secret Service does and how it was formed, and how it has adapted over the years. You will not be disappointed with this book!
Conservative Catholic Curmudgeon
Let the contents of this book be a cautionary lesson to all future presidents, first family members, presidential candidates, etc:
The Secret Service agents who protect you will eventually give Ronald Kessler all of the embarrassing details about you that they were able to observe, along with a candid assessment of how well or poorly you treated the people around you.
I found this book fascinating to learn of just some of the policies, procedures and actions of Secret Service staff. The book is writing in third person after interviews with retired or past Secret Service agents. The idiosyncrasies of the first families are enjoyable, some confirming my thoughts and others very surprising. The work of this service of pretty amazing and awe inducing.
Member since 2000
In this amazing eye-opener we learn some shocking, but not really surprising, information about our president's and their families. I say not surprising because looking back I recall hearing that some president's were less than what they seemed in public. It appears that Secret Service agents disliked Jimmy Carter more than any other president. Carter was lazy, rude and shallow. Kessler relates the story of President Carter carrying his own suitcase, which I recall seeing, as being a show; the suitcase was always empty. Apparently Carter was quiet nasty to the agents protecting him. Lyndon Johnson seems to had had sex with any woman who crossed his path. He was also drunk most of the time. I was not surprised about the feeling the agents had toward Reagan, Bush I, Clinton and George W. Bush. The agents adored Ronald and Nancy Reagan, saying they were genuinely good people who also cared about the agents and their families. The same was true of George H. W. Bush and GW, each had reputations for kindness. George W. Bush was know to be nothing like he appeared on TV, apparently he was very, very funny and polite. Barbara Bush is the most respected person mentioned in the book, she was a mother/grandmother figure to everyone. Clinton was liked, but not loved. Slick Willie was known as being laid back. All in all this book is a real eye-opener and Americans would benefit from knowing just what kind of people they elect to hold the job.
This book seems to be written as an "I knew it was going to happen" book. I thought the historical aspects of the department were interesting. It might have been better to put the editorial sections about "underfunding" the Secret Service rather than throughout the entire book. Not a very good read!!
Ronald Kessler, the author of well over a dozen books related to the US Secret Service, the FBI, and CIA. He combines historical research with investigative reporting to the advantage of readers. In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect is one of the more engaging of those volumes. In this effort, Kessler describes the work of the Secret Service as it is has provided security for the President and Vice President of the US. He reports how agents live and work while doing their jobs. More importantly, he give insight into how each President and First Family interacted with their agents. Marilyn Monroe shows up with JFK. The curtain is pulled by on Lyndon Johnson’s risk taking and womanizing. The personalities of Hilary and Bill Clinton, Barbara and George Bush and many others are detailed. Finally, Kessler comments on the current status of the Secret Service, Human Resources problems, and the high turnover in the force. Over all, this is one of Kessler’s more interesting books to me. Readers who have not approached this genre will find it most engaging. The reading of Alan Sklar is excellent.
So much one had no idea about the people we elect to govern our country and how they are when not in the spotlight. Seems as if some of the elected presidents were less than than their public images portrayed them.
This one surprised me.I thought it would be boring,but I actually learned some things I would have never believed about the Secret Service.I enjoyed the little tid bits about the various presidents and the very human way this job was explained.I had no idea they had it so bad.
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