He called her Mrs. Kennedy. SHE called him Mr. Hill.
For four years, from the election of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in November 1960 until after the election of Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Clint Hill was the Secret Service agent assigned to guard the glamorous and intensely private Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. During those four years, he went from being a reluctant guardian to a fiercely loyal watchdog and, in many ways, her closest friend.
Now, looking back 50 years, Clint Hill tells his story for the first time, offering a tender, enthralling, and tragic portrayal of how a Secret Service agent who started life in a North Dakota orphanage became the most trusted man in the life of the First Lady who captivated first the nation and then the world.
When he was initially assigned to the new First Lady, Agent Hill envisioned tea parties and gray-haired matrons. But as soon as he met her, he was swept up in the whirlwind of her beauty, her grace, her intelligence, her coy humor, her magnificent composure, and her extraordinary spirit.
From the start, the job was like no other, and Clint was by her side through the early days of JFK's presidency; the birth of sons John and Patrick and Patrick's sudden death; Kennedy-family holidays in Hyannis Port and Palm Beach; Jackie's trips to Europe, Asia, and South America; Jackie's intriguing meetings with men like Aristotle Onassis, Gianni Agnelli, and André Malraux; the dark days of the year that followed the assassination; to the farewell party she threw for Clint when he left her protective detail after four years. All she wanted was the one thing he could not give her: a private life for her and her children.
Filled with unforgettable details, startling revelations, and sparkling, intimate moments, this is the once-in-a-lifetime story of a man doing the most exciting job in the world, with a woman all the world loved, and the tragedy that ended it all too soon - a tragedy that haunted him for 50 years.
©2012 Lisa McCubbin, Clint Hill (P)2012 Simon & Schuster
"With clear and honest prose free of salaciousness and gossip, Hill (ably assisted by McCubbin) evokes not only a personality both beautiful and brilliant, but also a time when the White House was filled with youth and promise. Of the many words written about Jacqueline Kennedy, these are among the best." (Kirkus)
author & web developer
Thank you, Mr. Hill for this fabulous memoir. I was only 14 years old when President Kennedy was killed, but I had been a die-hard believer in him and lover of Mrs. Kennedy since before his election. My heart was broken by the events in Dallas, by the pain and suffering of Mrs. Kennedy and the President's friends and family. It has taken years to be able to deal with the loss I felt. For 45 years, I could barely watch images of the Kennedy family without tears and that long-dreaded ache in my heart. The Kennedy Detail was the first book I could read that included any description of the assassination. You memoir completed the healing.
I'm no different from millions of other Americans who suffered so terribly over the death of our youthful President and in the years that followed, suffering made worse by all the conspiracy theories and the smutty, salacious books that have been appeared in more recent times.
Your friendship with Mrs. Kennedy was so lovely. Your recollections support the image and reality of the graceful, gracious First Lady of my youth. There is nothing but love and healing in your memoir, and I consider it a gift to humanity. I believe it is going to be wildly successful, a best-seller for sure, and you deserve it!
To readers: buy this book. You will love it. No matter how much you may have read or seen about the Kennedy family and the years that have come to be known as Camelot, you have never read or heard anything like this. Mr. Hill has given us the real deal: Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy as she truly was.
Jeremy Bobb gave a flawless performance. One of the best I've ever heard on any audiobook. Every inflection, every pause, every syllable brought the era vividly back and made your story even more enthralling.
Though I was born a few years after the Kennedy administration ended, I enjoyed this book very much. The writing, narrator, flow, everything, made it very enjoyable and I highly recommend it!
I am a retired Court Reporter and I LOVE books. All kinds of books but my favorites are mysteries and period books. I like civil war books and some biographies.
This is a very sweet and touching book about the Kennedys. It's nice to know that Mrs. Kennedy was kind and respectful to those that guarded her. She sounds like a very loving and warm mother and wife.
God Bless her and Mr. Hill.
1# on my list so far in 12.
First one. I thought he hit it right on the money.
Yes. I found myself setting in my driveway not wanting to bookmark my iPhone app.
This amazing recount of the life and times of the Kennedy family was thrilling. I almost passed on this book after the negative review I read on Audible referring to the " narcissistic" view of the author. Putting yourself in his shoes and watching over Mrs Kennedy for three years and having direct interaction with Caroline and John JR. plus JKF was thrilling.This book put you right there. I laughed and cried with this one. Clint was a amazing person and one hell of a Secret Service Agent. I do not want to give a book report but after reading Steven Kings 11/23/63 this gave a realistic look at what it was like to be beside JBK from 61-64. Five stars!
I loved this book. Having read or listened to numerous books about the Kennedys, I found this insight into Jacqueline Kennedy's time in the White House interesting and entertaining. Clint Hill's time with "Mrs Kennedy" is told with obvious affection and a great deal of respect. It's not a "tell-all" book but it appears to give an honest account of Jackie's obsession with privacy, her dislike of most things political and her life as First Lady. I thoroughly enjoyed this book.
Although Clint Hill starts his story with the confession that he really did not want to be assigned to the First Lady's detail, slowly through his own words he reveals the admiration and, yes, love that he developed for his charge. For those of us who were young adults at the time the Kennedy's came to the White House, it was fascinating to see Jackie through the eyes of someone who was charged with her safety throughout those years. Hill was the one who walked the halls when both John-John and Patrick were born because he was there and the President was rushing to reach his wife's side. Hill was the one who tried to protect Jackie's jealously guarded privacy by trying to keep the press at bay and by even running errands so that she could stay out of the limelight.
Hill tells of the first encounter with Aristotle Onassis, who was a close friend of Jackie's sister. He provides insights to the close connections of the extended Kennedy family and how Jackie didn't always fit so well with her rowdy in-laws but how she adored her father-in-law and cared for him after his stroke. Although Hill has clearly placed his "Mrs Kennedy" and her "Jack" on a pedestal, he is capable of showing the very human side of the couple. He also shows their almost childlike senses of humor.
If Hill seems a bit too much in awe of Mrs. Kennedy, he earned that right. After all, it was he who raced to the car as the fatal shot was being fired, who saw her grasping for the pieces of the President's head that had just been blown off, who wrapped the President's head in his own jacket to assure that no one else would see the brutality of the wounds and thus some dignity could be preserved. It was Hill who had the heartbreaking job of telling Bobby Kennedy that things were "as bad as they get" when asked about the President's chances and who stayed beside her during that awful flight back from Dallas. And it was Hill who was asked to convince Mrs. Kennedy not to walk from St. Matthew's to Arlington Cemetery because it would be a security nightmare given all of the heads-of-state who would feel obligated also to make the trip by foot if she walked. He prevailed, although the shorter journey from the White House to the church was a walk for all but the children.
It is impossible not to have the death of the President be the primary take-away from this book. However, Hill gives the readers many other wonderful stories that are full of life and joy, making this a worthwhile read.
I had the good fortunate of meeting Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin and hearing him tell stories not in the book. There is still a haunted look in his eyes but he tells his story candidly and didn't turn away from the most probing questions. Having seen and heard the authors, I feel even more confident in recommending this book.
Finally someone wrote a book about a famous person without it being mean, rude, or intrusive! This is an honestly told story about one mans life during a very significant historical time.
After President Kennedy was assassinated Mr. Hill was devastated because he couldn't save her husband. Not that he couldn't save a president.
I forgot it wasn't Mr. Hill speaking. Although near the end of the book it struck me his voice sounded so young still.lol
A dedicated professional
Clint Hill gives a first person account of his amazing years with the Kennedy family in the White house. I never really thought about the difficult and dedicated job of the Secret Service. The SS must leave their own family to travel for long periods of time, during holidays, etc. They had to protect the family at all times. Originally disappointed because he was "only" with Mrs. Kennedy and not the president, he came to respect and admire her. His emotional account of the days surrounding the Kennedy assassination is written from a perspective very few can give.
The subtle change of the narrator's voice when he spoke as Mrs. Kennedy was enthralling. You knew each character by his inflections.
He had to live with the rich and famous on $16 a day.
Anyone who has read the many stories and theories around the Kennedy assignation will want to read this account from someone who had an personal relationship with the first-family.
We've all heard about Secret Service Agent Clint Hill's regret and shame over the failure of his team to prevent the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, but we’ve never seen the events through his own eyes.
“Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir” is Mr. Hill’s first person account of life inside the Kennedy White House, from the point of view of a man who had more access than almost anyone outside of the immediate family. It’s not just a little eye-opening to realize Mr. Hill had access to Jackie Kennedy’s hotel room – while she was dressing.
The responsibilities of Mr. Hill’s job, and the manner in which he apparently bore them, are quite impressive. For instance, many believe Mr. Hill led President Kennedy’s protection team in Dallas on November 21, 1963; but in fact he was never on the president’s detail.
Rather, he led the first lady’s protection detail during the Kennedy Administration. I also expected the second half of the book to explore what happened to Mr. Hill after the assassination, including his reported depression, alcoholism and deep personal pain. The book touches only briefly on this, but it leaves the astute reader with a clear picture of the agony he apparently continues to endure.
The tragic scene in Dealey Plaza is obviously the climax of the story, but this book is really about Mr. Hill's personal and professional experiences with Mrs. Kennedy. The two traveled the world together, often without the president, and at times the affection (bordering on sexual tension) between them is palpable. However, in Mr. Hill’s telling, he was the consummate professional, dutifully serving his client in the chivalrous spirit of Camelot, upholding the oath he swore when he received his Treasury Department commission.
I was previously unaware of this extremely close relationship between the two, so sooner or later I half expected to come upon a chapter detailing some late night rendezvous on a yacht in the Mediterranean – or at least a stolen, lingering kiss.
But this is no Harlequin Romance novel. While Hill’s strong feelings for Mrs. Kennedy are clear, this is the story of a dedicated public servant, the personal impact his actions had on the Kennedy family, and the high price he paid for his efforts.
“Mrs. Kennedy and Me” doesn't seek to shock, nor does it bother with conspiracy theories or scandalous behavior. However, what it does do is place you alongside Jackie Kennedy, giving you a glimpse behind those big dark sunglasses. It also places you on the rear bumper of President Kennedy's limousine in Dallas.
Personally, I hope this book and the reaction Mr. Hill will undoubtedly receive from the public can give him some measure of the emotional closure he so deserves. It's hard to imagine anyone outside of the Kennedy family suffering more from the assassination of President Kennedy than Mr. Hill.
The Kennedys received an outpouring of love and support from the world following the loss of the 38th president. But in an age long before post-traumatic stress was understood or therapy was realistic, Mr. Hill was left only with his deep personal grief, shame and guilt, which he has borne for almost 50 years.
Clint Hill shows us the best we can be as Americans. Professional, considerate, dedicated and classy.
NOTE: Narrator Jeremy Bobb performed the story exceptionally well. He speaks in Hill's voice with appropriate emotion and professionalism, and it's easy to listen to him.
When this is read in concert with Jackie's interviews with Schlessinger, it gives a very interesting insight into the person - Jackie, but also Clint Hill. He comes across as having been devoted to (in love with?) Jackie, but I don't get the impression that the feeling was reciprocated. She seems to have treated him humanely, but that's all. He comes across as having been devoted to her welfare, at the expense of his own marriage and family. Very interesting historical account, but I ended up feeling sorry for his wife and family, whom he really abandoned. I was especially surprised that when he found out that Jackie was dying, considering his devotion to her, he made no attempt to contact her.
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