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 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.
This book is a compendium of absolutely useless and trivial information about the Secret Service and the families they guard.
It is a really bad soap opera filling us in with "dirt and stupid stories about the First Families.
Do not waste your time or money
In summary the Presidents are exactly as you might think. If they look like a genuine person in front of the camera then they are. If not then they can't be trusted. Last half of the book was continued complaining about the shortfall of the SS budget. It sounds as if someone wrote the book because they have an axe to grind.
After you get past the "s's" being excessively pronounced by the narrrtor - I was actually ready to erase the book and move on, you notice two things. 1) All of these agents have broken their "scared" vow of not diclosing what they hear and see in the protection of the President (and others). 2) This is one big whine about how we are underfunded, understaffed, and poorly managed. The first should never happen, the seecond is understandable but takes away from what has been accomplished. Typical wait, you'll see when something goes wrong. I told you so type book.
Too bad, because there were many good and sometimes comical situations like the guy who wanted a better look at Clinton ont he gold course so he used his hunting rifle scope without removing it from the rifle.
I had hoped for deep insightfulness related to the history and workings of the Secret Service. What I found was a much repeated theme describing how the Secret Service does not get its funding due as compared to the FBI. A one-time description of how they are underfunded would have sufficed (if this were indeed true). But, just in case we readers could not get it the first time, this subject was repeated throughout the book. Same goes for the poor management of the Secret Service - not caring for the needs of its staff. Once would have been enough.
And, it appears the Republician Presidents and their families have been MUCH nicer to the Secret Service employees than their Democratic counterparts. Interesting.....but there appeared an aura of bias in those descriptions.
Overall, a dissapointment.
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