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
The first half or so, that covered protection details and the presidential families was good. The many anecdotal episodes were interesting. But in the last half of the book it becomes a drawn out and long winded diatribe about all the problems of the Secret Service management and shortcomings. While obviously important, it had a soapbox feeling to it and the examples were repetitious and stated over and over again.
Depends on the subject
No. The problems of the Secret Service can only be fixed by better management assigned by the Executive Branch and by funding from Congress. The average citizen could not drive this especially with higher government goals now.
View of the many Presidents from the secret service agents who guarded them.
This book reads like a "tell all" ...the author is very good at making sure that any "quotes" from other books get the credit when he uses them. He does this pretty frequently. The book meanders a bit back and forth from this president to that president. But we learn a lot more details about the Agents and how Secrets Service Works than many books. Truman and FDR get little time but Jimmy Carter is given the worst view. He is made to look as "lazy and very ineffective".....Nixon is the dark horse is viewed a moody and temperamental. Gerald Ford and Betty have little new info. Ronald Regan is well liked but Nancy is viewed as overly emotional and moody. Bill and Hillary and the Obamas get the "least" amount of info given about them. Clearly the Bush Families are the best liked and especially BARBARA and LAURA are the best liked of all the "people" in the White House. Some new interesting info on The Kennedy Children is shared. This is a good book that moves along very well. WE do get a good look into the "lives" of the Secret Services on a personal basis on their sacrifices and how the agency works. But the Secret Services is not very 'secret' in their ability to talk about the first families in their care if every thing this book says is accurate. I give it 3 out of 5....for a view from with in the walls of the White House. VERY good narration.
In the Top 5.
The bravery of these men and what they and their families have sacrificed to protect the President of these United States.
The shooting of JFK and how they did all they could to protect him.
The Sacrifice we Americans make to protect our great country.
The is an eyeopener to the deceit and dishonesty that goes on in the White House where things should be honest and for the American people who have put their trust in this great country's leaders. So Sad!
I liked it. It was fun to hear inside stories about what goes on behind the scenes. Interesting stuff.
The fact they are lax in using metal detectors for large crowds, makes me not want to go to a event like that.
How Secret Service personnel do talk after the term is up and how much they are willing to divulge.
How little they are paid for the risks they are taking
How much presidents get away with and how some have felt their power is supreme.
How they exposed presidents Johnson, Clinton and Kennedy's high levels of testosterone.
Audible books always give you the ability to listen to a book when you can't read, like driving in a car or on a long walk. It beats main stream media
How some presidents have shamed the dignity of the highest position in the world.
Do not make this into a documentary, make it into a movie.
The first part is fairly interesting, describing the structure, history, and some anecdotes. But it degenerated into whining about not enough funding, and repetitive complaints about "Management" who does this or that and is out of touch and is ruining the service.
More actual anecdotes and much less repetitive whining. He keeps saying the same things, the same complaints in the same words, ad nauseum
none stood out
depends if all the whining is in it
This had the potential to be a very good book. Too bad the author chose to display his dissatisfaction with "Management" to the extent he could not stop complaining about it.
Who was the intended audience? It seems the author wishes to recommend changes to the administration and organization of the secret service, improving the lives of the officers, improving the integrity by not compromising on duties (specifically the full use of metal detectors), improving morale by accomadating the needs (specifially certain transfers) of the officers., on and so forth. This all may well need be done, but the book did not serve its purpose well.
The secret service by the nature of its mission is personally invasive of the privacy of the indivuals it is there to protect. The "tell all" gossip in this book is so contrary to the secret service mission, it is embarrassing. The repetitve whining about what is wrong with the administration is nauseating.
The military service is also a voluntary service. They endure way more hardships and transfers than the secret service, and probably face more danger and are paid much less. Most people are aware of the hardships inherent in the service. I am thinking the secret service is no different.
Suck it up. Stop whining. You work for the government, don't expect it to make sense. Do the job to the best of your ability and work for improvements with in the system. This book did no great "service" to the men and women who serve for this organization.
Funny how Kessler has nice things to say about all the Republican presidents, but trashes the Democratic ones. Lots of mundane details about the politics of Secret Service lifestyle. Who cares? Not enough behind-the-scenes on the presidential details.
Great stories and fascinating insight into an organization filled with mystery. Great stories about our current and past Presidents and their families. A good read.
I found the book to be disjointed, boring and most of all self serving. I would not recomment it. To much like a cry baby's persective.
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