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
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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