SAIC Robert DeProspero with the Reagans 1985

SAIC Robert DeProspero with the Reagans 1985

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Reagan assassination attempt

Reagan assassination attempt
Location Washington, D.C.
Date March 30, 1981
2:27 p.m. (Eastern Time)
Target Ronald Reagan
Weapon(s) Röhm RG-14 .22 cal.
Death(s) None
Injured 4; James Brady, Timothy McCarthy, Thomas Delahanty, Ronald Reagan
Perpetrator(s) John Hinckley, Jr.


Secret Service Agent Robert Wanko can be seen in the last photo holding an Uzi.The Reagan assassination attempt occurred on Monday, March 30, 1981, just 69 days into the presidency of Ronald Reagan. While leaving a speaking engagement at the Washington Hilton Hotel in Washington, D.C., President Reagan and three others were shot and wounded by John Hinckley, Jr. Reagan suffered a punctured lung, but prompt medical attention allowed him to recover quickly. No formal invocation of presidential succession took place, although Secretary of State Alexander Haig controversially stated that he was "in control here" while Vice President George H. W. Bush returned to Washington. Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity and remains confined to a psychiatric facility.

Contents [hide]
1 Mental illness
2 Assassination attempt
2.1 Speaking engagement at the Washington Hilton Hotel
2.2 Shooting
2.3 George Washington University Hospital
3 Alexander Haig "in control here"
4 Public reaction
5 Aftermath
6 See also
7 References
8 External links


[edit] Mental illnessHinckley's motivation behind the attack was from his obsession with actress Jodie Foster due to erotomania. While living in Hollywood in the late 1970s, he saw the film Taxi Driver at least 15 times, apparently identifying strongly with Travis Bickle, the lead character.[1][2][3] The arc of the story involves Bickle's attempts to protect a 12-year-old child prostitute, played by Foster; toward the end of the film, Bickle attempts to assassinate a United States Senator who is running for president. Over the following years, Hinckley trailed Foster around the country, going so far as to enroll in a writing course at Yale University in 1980 after reading in People magazine that she was a student there .[4] He wrote numerous letters and notes to her in late 1980.[5] He called her twice and refused to give up when she indicated that she was not interested in him.[2]

Convinced that by becoming a national figure he would be Foster's equal, Hinckley decided to emulate Bickle and began to stalk President Jimmy Carter. He was surprised at how easy it was to get close to the president—only one foot away at one event—but was arrested in October 1980 at Nashville International Airport for illegal possession of firearms;[6]:70,251 though Carter made a campaign stop there, the Federal Bureau of Investigation did not connect this arrest to the President and did not notify the United States Secret Service.[7] His parents briefly put him under the treatment of a psychiatrist. Subsequently, Hinckley turned his attention to Ronald Reagan whose election, he told his parents, would be good for the country.[6]:71,251 He wrote three or four more notes to Foster in early March 1981. Foster gave these notes to her dean, who gave them to the Yale police department, which sought to track Hinckley down but failed.[8][9]

[edit] Assassination attemptOn March 21, 1981, Ronald Reagan, the new President of the United States, visited Ford's Theatre in Washington, D.C. with his wife Nancy for a fundraising event. He recalled, "I looked up at the presidential box above the stage where Abe Lincoln had been sitting the night he was shot and felt a curious sensation... I thought that even with all the Secret Service protection we now had, it was probably still possible for someone who had enough determination to get close enough to a president to shoot him."[10][11]

[edit] Speaking engagement at the Washington Hilton HotelHinckley arrived in Washington on Sunday, March 29 on a Greyhound Lines bus[12] and checked into the Park Central Hotel.[4] While eating breakfast at McDonald's the next morning, he noticed Reagan's schedule on page A4 of the Washington Star, and decided it was time to act.[13] Knowing that he might not survive shooting the president, Hinckley wrote but did not mail a letter to Foster about two hours prior to the assassination attempt, saying that he hoped to impress her with the magnitude of his action and that he would "abandon the idea of getting Reagan in a second if I could only win your heart and live out the rest of my life with you".[14][6]:58

On March 30, Reagan delivered a luncheon address to AFL-CIO representatives at the Washington Hilton Hotel;[15][16] he had done well among blue-collar workers in the election, and the administration hoped to build support among "Reagan Democrats".[6]:58 He entered the building around 1:45, waving to a crowd of news media and citizens. While the Secret Service had made Reagan wear a bulletproof vest for some events, he did not wear one for the speech as Reagan's only public exposure would be the 30 feet between the hotel and his limousine,[10] and the agency did not require vests for its agents that day.[17] No one saw Hinckley behave in an unusual way; witnesses who reported him as "fidgety" and "agitated" apparently confused Hinckley with another person there that the Secret Service was monitoring.[17]

[edit] Shooting

Audio of Secret Service radio trafficAt 2:27 p.m. Eastern Time,[6]:82 as Reagan walked out of the hotel's T Street NW exit toward his waiting limousine, Hinckley waited within the crowd of admirers. While the Secret Service extensively screened those attending the president's speech, in a "colossal mistake" the agency allowed an unscreened group to stand within 15 feet of him, behind a rope line.[6]:80-81,225 Unexpectedly, Reagan passed right in front of Hinckley. Knowing he would never get a better chance,[6]:81 Hinckley fired a Röhm RG-14 .22 cal.[18] blue steel revolver six times in 1.7 seconds,[6]:82[15] missing the president with all six shots.[19][17] The first bullet hit White House Press Secretary James Brady in the head. The second hit District of Columbia police officer Thomas Delahanty in the back of his neck as he turned to protect Reagan.[6]:82[20][21][22][23] Hinckley now had a clear shot at the president,[6]:81 but the third overshot him and hit the window of a building across the street. As Special Agent In Charge Jerry Parr quickly pushed Reagan into the limousine, the fourth hit Secret Service agent Timothy McCarthy in the abdomen[20][21] as he spread his body over Reagan to make himself a target.[6]:81[10] The fifth hit the bullet-resistant glass of the window on the open side door of the limousine. The sixth and final bullet ricocheted off the armored side of the limousine and hit the president in his left underarm, grazing a rib and lodging in his lung, stopping nearly an inch from his heart;[24][10][13] had Parr hesitated for a moment, the president would likely have been hit in the head.[6]:224

After the shooting, Alfred Antenucci, a Cleveland, Ohio labor official who stood by Hinckley, was the first to respond.[17] He saw the gun and hit Hinckley in the head, pulling the shooter down to the ground.[25] Within two seconds agent Dennis McCarthy (no relation to agent Timothy McCarthy) dove onto the shooter as others threw him to the ground; intent on protecting Hinckley to avoid what happened to Lee Harvey Oswald,[6]:84 McCarthy had to "strike two citizens" to force them to release him.[17] Agent Robert Wanko took an Uzi from a briefcase to cover the President's evacuation and to deter a potential group attack.[26]

Sixteen minutes after the assassination attempt, the ATF found that the gun had been purchased at Rocky's Pawn Shop in Dallas, Texas.[27] It had been loaded with six "Devastator"-brand cartridges which contained small aluminum and lead azide explosive charges designed to explode on contact; the bullet that hit Brady likely exploded in his skull. On April 2, after learning that the others could explode at any time, volunteer doctors wearing bulletproof vests removed the bullet from Delahanty's neck.[23][6]:223

[edit] George Washington University Hospital
President Reagan with Nancy Reagan inside The George Washington University Hospital four days after the shootingThe Secret Service first announced "shots fired" over its radio network at 2:27 p.m. Reagan—codename "Rawhide"—was taken away by the agents in the limousine ("Stagecoach").[28][6]:66 At first, no one knew that he had been shot, and Parr stated that "Rawhide is OK...we're going to Crown" (the White House), as he preferred its medical facilities to an unsecured hospital.[29][28]

In great pain from the bullet hitting a rib, the president believed that the rib had cracked when Parr pushed him into the limousine. When the agent checked him for gunshot wounds, however, Reagan coughed up bright, frothy blood.[24] Although the president believed that he had cut his lip,[29] Parr believed that the cracked rib had punctured Reagan's lung and ordered the motorcade to divert to nearby George Washington University Hospital, which the Secret Service periodically inspected for use.[17] The limousine arrived there less than four minutes after leaving the hotel, while other agents took Hinckley to a District of Columbia jail, and Nancy Reagan ("Rainbow") left the White House for the hospital.[30][29][28]

Although Parr had requested a stretcher,[28] none was ready at the hospital, and it did not normally keep a stretcher at the emergency room's entrance. Reagan exited the limousine and insisted on walking. While he entered the hospital unassisted, once inside the president complained of difficulty breathing, his knees buckled, and he went down on one knee; Parr and others assisted him into the emergency room.[17] The Physician to the President, Daniel Ruge, arrived with Reagan; believing that the president might have had a heart attack, he insisted that the hospital's trauma team, and not he himself or specialists from elsewhere, operate on him as it would treat any other patient.[31][6]:106-107 When a hospital employee asked Reagan aide Michael Deaver for the patient's name and address, only when Deaver stated "1600 Pennsylvania" did the worker realize that the President of the United States was in the emergency room.[6]:107-108

The team, led by Joseph Giordano, cut off their patient's "thousand dollar" custom-made suit[32] to examine him, angering Reagan.[33] Military officers, including the one who carried the nuclear football, unsuccessfully tried to prevent FBI agents from confiscating the suit, Reagan's wallet, and other possessions as evidence; the Gold Codes card was in the wallet, and the FBI did not return it until two days later.[32] The medical personnel found that Reagan's systolic blood pressure was 60 versus the normal 140, indicating that he was in shock, and knew that most 70 years-olds in the president's condition did not survive;[6]:108 Reagan was in excellent physical health, however, with "a physique like a 30-year-old muscle builder".[33] They treated him with intravenous fluids, oxygen, tetanus toxoid, and chest tubes,[30] and surprised Parr—who still believed that he had cracked the president's rib—by finding the entrance gunshot wound. Brady and the wounded agent McCarthy were operated on near the president;[17] when his wife arrived in the emergency room, Reagan remarked to her, "Honey, I forgot to duck", borrowing boxer Jack Dempsey's line to his wife the night he was beaten by Gene Tunney.[10] While intubated, he scribbled to a nurse, "All in all, I'd rather be in Philadelphia", borrowing W. C. Fields' line.[30][10] Although Reagan came close to death, the team's quick action—and Parr's decision to drive to the hospital instead of the White House—likely saved the president's life, and within 30 minutes Reagan left the emergency room for surgery with a normal blood pressure.[24]

The chief of thoracic surgery, Benjamin L. Aaron, decided to operate because the bleeding persisted. Ultimately, Reagan lost over half of his blood volume in the emergency room and during surgery,[30] which removed the bullet; the operating staff did not know the round was explosive or that it could have gone off at any time.[23] In the operating room, Reagan removed his oxygen mask to joke, "I hope you are all Republicans." The doctors and nurses laughed, and Giordano, a liberal Democrat, replied, "Today, Mr. President, we are all Republicans."[6]:147[34][10] The operation lasted about three hours. His post-operative course was complicated by fever, which was treated with multiple antibiotics.[30] Reagan "entertained his nurses all night with jokes" instead of resting, annoying his doctors.[33]

[edit] Alexander Haig "in control here"A few days before the shooting, Vice President George H. W. Bush received the assignment of running crisis management in case of emergency despite Secretary of State Alexander Haig's objection.[35] When the White House learned of the assassination attempt, however, Bush was over Texas aboard Air Force Two, which did not have secure voice communications,[24] and his discussions with the White House were intercepted and given to the press.[33] White House Counsel Fred Fielding immediately prepared for a transfer of presidential powers under the 25th Amendment,[36] and Chief of Staff James A. Baker and Counselor to the President Edwin Meese went to Reagan's hospital.[35]

Members of the Cabinet and others, including Haig, Defense Secretary Caspar Weinberger, and National Security Advisor Richard Allen, met in the White House Situation Room to discuss various issues, including the location of the nuclear football, the apparent presence of more than the usual number of Soviet submarines unusually close off the Atlantic coast, a possible Soviet invasion of Poland against the Solidarity movement, and the presidential line of succession. Although normally no tape recorders are allowed in the Situation Room these meetings were recorded with the participants' knowledge by Allen, and the tapes have since been made public.[36][35][37]

The group obtained a duplicate nuclear football and Gold Codes card, and kept it in the situation room. (Reagan's football was still with the officer at the hospital, and Bush also had a card and football.)[6]:155 The participants discussed whether to raise the military's alert status, and the importance of doing so without changing the DEFCON level,[35] although the number of Soviet submarines proved to be normal.[24] Upon learning that Reagan was in surgery, Haig declared, "the helm is right here. And that means right in this chair for now, constitutionally, until the vice president gets here."[36] The Secretary of State is not second in the line of succession but fourth, after the Vice President, Speaker of the House (Tip O'Neill), and the President pro tempore of the Senate (J. Strom Thurmond). O'Neill and Thurmond would have been required under 3 U.S.C. § 19 to resign their positions in order for either of them to become Acting President. Although others in the room knew that Haig's statement was constitutionally incorrect, they did not object at the time to avoid a confrontation.[35]


Secretary of State Alexander Haig speaks to the press about the shooting.At the same time, a press conference was underway in the White House. CBS reporter Lesley Stahl asked deputy press secretary Larry Speakes who was running the government, to which Speakes responded, "I cannot answer that question at this time." Upon hearing Speakes' remark, Haig scribbled out a note which was passed to Speakes, ordering him to leave the dais immediately.[6]:171-173 Moments later, Haig himself entered the briefing room, where he made the following controversial statement:

Constitutionally, gentlemen, you have the president, the vice president and the secretary of state, in that order, and should the president decide he wants to transfer the helm to the vice president, he will do so. As of now, I am in control here, in the White House, pending the return of the vice president and in close touch with him. If something came up, I would check with him, of course.[36]
Those in the situation room reportedly laughed when they heard him say "I am in control here".[33] Haig's statement reflected political reality, if not necessarily legal reality. He later said,

I wasn't talking about transition. I was talking about the executive branch, who is running the government. That was the question asked. It was not "Who is in line should the President die?"[36]
Although Haig stated in the briefing room that "There are absolutely no alert measures that are necessary at this time or contemplated", while he spoke Weinberger raised the military's alert level.[36] After Haig returned to the Situation Room, he objected to Weinberger doing so as it made him appear a liar.[35] Weinberger and others accused Haig of exceeding his authority with his "I am in control" statement,[38][39] while Haig defended himself by advising the others to "read the Constitution", saying that his comments did not involve "succession" and that he knew the "pecking order".[35]

"Despite brief flare-ups and distractions," Allen recalled, "the crisis management team in the Situation Room worked well together. The congressional leadership was kept informed, and governments around the world were notified and reassured."[35] Reagan's surgery ended at 6:20 p.m., although he did not regain consciousness until 7:30 p.m.,[30] so could not invoke Section 3 of the 25th Amendment to make Bush Acting President. The vice president arrived at the White House at 7:00 p.m., and did not invoke Section 4 of the 25th Amendment.[24] He stated on national television at 8:20 p.m.:[40]

I can reassure this nation and a watching world that the American government is functioning fully and effectively. We've had full and complete communications throughout the day.[40]
[edit] Public reactionThe assassination attempt was captured on video by several cameras, including those belonging to the Big Three television networks; ABC began airing footage at 2:42 p.m. All three networks erroneously reported that Brady had died. While the Cable News Network did not have a camera of its own at the shooting it was able to use NBC's pool feed,[41] and by staying on the story for 48 hours the network, less than a year old, built a reputation for thoroughness.[42] Shocked Americans gathered around television sets in homes and shopping centers.[43] Some cited the alleged Curse of Tippecanoe, and others recalled the assassinations of John F. Kennedy and Martin Luther King, Jr..[44] Newspapers printed extra editions[45] and used gigantic headlines;[46] the United States Senate adjourned, interrupting debate of Reagan's economic proposals; and churches held prayer services.[43]

Hinckley asked the arresting officers whether that night's Academy Awards ceremony would be postponed due to the shooting, and it was; the ceremony—for which former actor Reagan had taped a message—occurred the next evening.[3][47] Because the president survived surgery with a good prognosis, the 1981 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament championship game that day was not postponed, although the audience of 18,000 in Philadelphia held a moment of silence before the game.[48] The Dow Jones Industrial Average declined due to the shooting before the New York Stock Exchange closed early, but the index rose the next day as Reagan recovered.[49] Beyond having to postpone its Academy Awards broadcast, ABC temporarily renamed the lead character of The Greatest American Hero from "Ralph Hinkley" to "Hanley",[50] and NBC postponed a forthcoming episode of Walking Tall titled "Hit Man".[51]

[edit] Aftermath
The Reagans wave from the White House after President Reagan's return from the hospital on April 11. Reagan wore a bulletproof vest under his red sweater.Reagan was the first serving U.S. President to survive being shot in an assassination attempt.[52] The members of his staff were anxious for the president to appear to be recovering quickly,[30] and the morning after his operation he saw visitors and signed a piece of legislation.[26] Reagan left the hospital on the 13th day. Initially, he worked two hours a day in the White House's residential quarters, with meetings held there instead of the Oval Office.[33] Reagan did not lead a Cabinet meeting until day 26, did not leave Washington until day 49, and did not hold a press conference until day 79. Ruge thought recovery was not complete until October.[30] Reagan's plans for the month after the shooting were canceled, including a visit to the Mission Control Center at Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston, Texas, in April 1981 during STS-1, the first flight of the Space Shuttle. Vice President Bush instead called the orbiting astronauts during their mission. Reagan would visit Mission Control during STS-2 that November.

The attempt had great influence on Reagan's popularity; polls indicated his approval rating to be around 73%.[53] Reagan believed that God had spared his life so that he might go on to fulfill a greater purpose[33] and, although not a Catholic, meetings with Mother Teresa, Cardinal Terence Cooke, and fellow shooting survivor Pope John Paul II reinforced this belief.[54] Agent Parr came to believe that God had directed his life to save Reagan, and became a pastor.[6]:224

Reagan returned to the Oval Office on April 25, receiving a standing ovation from staff and Cabinet members; referring to their teamwork in his absence, he insisted, "I should be applauding you."[55] His first public appearance was an April 28 speech before the joint houses of Congress to introduce his planned spending cuts, a campaign promise. He received "two thunderous standing ovations", which the New York Times deemed "a salute to his good health" as well as his programs, which the president introduced using a medical recovery theme.[56] Reagan installed a gym in the White House and began regularly exercising there, gaining so much muscle that he had to buy new suits. The shooting caused Nancy Reagan to be afraid for her husband's safety, however. She asked him to not run for reelection in 1984, and due to her fears began consulting astrologer Joan Quigley.[33]

The two law enforcement officers recovered from their wounds, although Delahanty was forced to retire due to his injuries. The attack seriously wounded the President's Press Secretary, James Brady, who sustained a serious head wound and became permanently disabled. Brady remained as Press Secretary for the remainder of Reagan's administration, but this was primarily a titular role. Later, Brady and his wife Sarah became leading advocates of gun control and other actions to reduce the amount of gun violence in the United States. They also became active in the lobbying organization Handgun Control, Inc. – which would eventually be renamed the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence – and founded the non-profit Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence.[57] The Brady Handgun Violence Prevention Act was passed in 1993 as a result of their work.[58]

The shooting of Reagan widened a debate on gun control in the U.S. that the death of John Lennon in December 1980 had started. Reagan expressed opposition to increased handgun control following Lennon's death and re-iterated his opposition after his own shooting. However in a speech at an event marking the assassination attempt's 10th anniversary,[59] Reagan endorsed the Brady Act:

"Anniversary" is a word we usually associate with happy events that we like to remember: birthdays, weddings, the first job. March 30, however, marks an anniversary I would just as soon forget, but cannot... four lives were changed forever, and all by a Saturday-night special – a cheaply made .22 caliber pistol – purchased in a Dallas pawnshop by a young man with a history of mental disturbance. This nightmare might never have happened if legislation that is before Congress now – the Brady bill – had been law back in 1981... If the passage of the Brady bill were to result in a reduction of only 10 or 15 percent of those numbers (and it could be a good deal greater), it would be well worth making it the law of the land. And there would be a lot fewer families facing anniversaries such as the Bradys, Delahantys, McCarthys and Reagans face every March 30.[60]

James Brady in August 2006Hinckley was found not guilty by reason of insanity on June 21, 1982. The defense psychiatric reports had found him to be insane[61] while the prosecution reports declared him legally sane.[62][63] Following his lawyers' advice, he declined to take the stand in his own defense.[64] Hinckley was confined at St. Elizabeths Hospital in Washington, D.C., where he is still being held.[4] After his trial, he wrote that the shooting was "the greatest love offering in the history of the world", and did not indicate any regrets.[65]

The not-guilty verdict led to widespread dismay,[66][67] and, as a result, the U.S. Congress and a number of states rewrote laws regarding the insanity defense.[68] The old Model Penal Code test was replaced by a test that shifts the burden of proof of insanity from the prosecution to the defendant. Three states have abolished the defense altogether.[68]

Jodie Foster was hounded relentlessly by the media in early 1981 because she was Hinckley's target of obsession. She commented on Hinckley on three occasions: a press conference a few days after the attack, an article she wrote in 1982,[69] and during an interview with Charlie Rose on 60 Minutes II;[70] she has otherwise ended several interviews after the event was mentioned.[71]

The assassination attempt was portrayed in the 2001 film The Day Reagan Was Shot. James Brady's recovery was dramatized in the 1991 made-for-television film Without Warning: The James Brady Story, with Beau Bridges as Brady.

Alfred Antenucci almost had a heart attack and was hospitalized soon after the shooting.[72] He had a private meeting with Reagan,[73][74] who gave him cufflinks with the Presidential Seal and a Presidential Honor, and his hometown of Garfield Heights, Ohio named a street Antenucci Drive.[72] In 1984, Antenucci died of a heart attack in his home.[25] The Garfield Heights Historical Society has the cufflinks on display.

Rating the Secret Service books, videos, and dvds- thumbnail sketchs by Vince Palamara (saving the best for last)

Note: My reviews of each book differentiate between entertainment value, overall worth, and if the book is a specialty item; meaning, it has a narrow appeal (i.e. a book about a specific agent and his narrow view and time served in the agency). Also, please keep in mind that these are my thoughts circa late 2011---I may have been a little more forgiving at the time of publication several years back. I now take into account how well a book has aged, as well as entertainment and information factors.


Rating the Secret Service books, videos, and dvds- thumbnail sketchs by Vince Palamara (saving the best for last)
(in no order)

1) "In The President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect" by Ronald Kessler (2009)


There are currently 301 reviews on Amazon.Com for this book, with an aggregate average of 3.0 (1.0 being awful and 5.0 being great). Needless to say, the reviews vary widely; a very mixed bag. While I originally gave the book a 5 star rating, time has not been kind to this work---a 2.5 to 3 stars for depth of research would be more appropriate (at the time, I was swayed by the ENTERTAINMENT factor). What is most exasperating: JUST 5 PAGES FOR THE ENTIRE JFK ERA (LIFE AND DEATH)?!?!? In addition, Mr. Kessler unfortunately accepts at face value the whole notion of "JFK-as-scapegoat" for his very brief foray into the assassination, not letting the readers know that many NAMED agents are on the record (and have been for years) as debunking the whole idea that a) President Kennedy was difficult to protect, b) was reckless in his views on security, or c)that he ordered the agents off his limousine. The Special Agent in Charge of the White House Detail, Jerry Behn, as well as his assistant, Floyd Boring, not to mention MANY others (Rufus Youngblood, Winston Lawson, Bob Lilley, Art Godfrey, Sam Kinney, Sam Sulliman, Frank Stoner, Jerry O'Rourke, etc. etc. etc.) stated forcefully to myself, in no uncertain terms, that JFK was NOT difficult to protect, was in fact easy going, and NEVER ordered the agents off his limousine! To sum it up: you can have Oswald all by himself in the window shooting and no conspiracy and, yet, if the agents would have performed as they normally did, President Kennedy would have lived. THAT is the real story of November 22, 1963.

Also, many agents (perhaps out of necessity) are left unnamed, which can be frustrating to researchers and inquiring minds. In that regard, there are NO SOURCE NOTES OR END NOTES! Being that the book is a rather slim size (288 pages), especially for a work covering decades of intrigue, I am suprised at the lack of attribution.

Finally, although I personally love it (!), the book sometimes comes across as a Kitty Kelley/ C. David Heymann affair rather than a work of serious scholarship. I am specifically refering to the lurid tales of sex and drinking alleged by several (often unnamed)agents. I can see why Director Sullivan, Nick Trotta, and many of the agents who fully participated in this project felt betrayed. I have corresponded with Kessler and I was almost in his book but he was unable to locate me at the time (!)

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 2.5-3.0



2)"The Echo From Dealey Plaza: The true story of the first African American on the White House Secret Service detail and his quest for justice after the assassination of JFK" by Abraham Bolden (2008)



I highly recommend this seminal work from former Secret Service hero Abraham Bolden. The book is very well written and gripping in its narrative. Whether one views the JFK assassination as the work of one man (who beat the conspirators to the punch) or the work of a deadly conspiracy, Bolden's book holds up in any case, for it is the tale of injustice done to him, as well as the detailing of prior threats to President Kennedy's life.

As one who has studied the Secret Service and President Kennedy's life and death in great detail, I find this book fascinating and indispensable. What more can I say? Get this asap! Publishers Weekly said: "Conspiracy theories haunt the Kennedy assassination; Bolden offers a new one, concerning discrimination and evidence suppression. Becoming, in JFK's words, the Jackie Robinson of the Secret Service, Bolden joined the White House detail in 1961. Already beset by racism (he once found a noose suspended over his desk), his idealism is further shattered by the drinking and carousing of other agents. Soon after the assassination, he receives orders that hint at an effort to withhold, or at least to the color, the truth. He discovers that evidence is being kept from the Warren Commission and when he takes action, finds himself charged with conspiracy to sell a secret government file and sentenced to six years in prison, where both solitary confinement and the psychiatric ward await. That there was a conspiracy to silence him seems unarguable, but Bolden's prose is flat; so is his dialogue. This story is more enthralling than Bolden's telling of it, but the reader who sticks with it will enter a world of duplicitous charges and disappearing documents fit for a movie thriller."

I have spoken to and corresponded with Bolden on many occasions and I find him credible; a good guy.

28 Amazon.Com reviews, mostly positive; 4.5 aggregate

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 5.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (former JFK era agent and his quest for justice)



3) "Riding With Reagan" by John Barletta (2005)


Barletta has written a warm, well-written and touching book about President Reagan, especially Reagan's time on his ranch, as Barletta is a former Secret Service agent who often rode with the President, thus, the title of the book. That said, Barletta definitely wears his admiration for Reagan on his sleeve, which may be a little much for some. There is a fair amount of the inner workings of the Secret Service and their protection of Reagan.

I have corresponded with Barletta and he is most definitely an advocate for Reagan's greatness which, depending on your point of view, is either a good thing or a bad thing LOL

27 Amazon.Com reviews; 5.0 aggregate

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 4.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (Pro-Reagan agent and his biased look at his time protecting the president on the ranch)

4) "Standing Next to History: An Agent's Life Inside the Secret Service" by Joseph Petro (2005)


Joe Petro has written a fascinating account of life in the Secret Service-especially protecting President Reagan-in "Standing Next To History." If the Secret Service were embarrassed (and they WERE) by fellow agent Dennis V.N. McCarthy's "Protecting The President," not to mention Marty Venker's "Confessions Of An Ex-Secret Service Agent," [more on those books in a moment] they won't be with Petro's tome. It reads like Petro was careful not to make waves with his colleagues.

From Booklist
Former Secret Service agent Petro protected Henry Kissinger, Nelson Rockefeller, Gerald Ford, Walter Mondale, Ronald and Nancy Reagan, Dan and Marilyn Quayle, and Pope John Paul II. His memoir of 20-plus years standing post or watching crowds is replete with anecdotes arranged to show what the Secret Service does. Petro stresses the friction inherent between safety and public visibility, and illustrates that point by recounting the negotiations that occurred between those being protected and the men and women with the earplugs and impassive visages. Petro introduces this main topic with an account of his arrangement of a Reagan trip to a baseball game, and sustains it though various settings, whether an international summit conference or a restaurant. More personally, the author confides his recruitment to the Secret Service and his investigations, such as infiltrating John Kerry's antiwar group. True to the Secret Service's ethos of confidentiality, Petro shies from gossip but imparts just enough to imply his opinions of the people he guarded, which is the part that will be of most interest to his readers.

Definitely one of the better Secret Service books.

58 Amazon.Com reviews, mostly postive; 4.5 aggregate

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 5.0

5) "Get Carter: Backstage in History from JFK's Assassination to the Rolling Stones" By Bill Carter (2006)


Former JFK era agent Bill Carter has written a decent (but obscure) book that, while it most definitely has its moments, it has not aged well already. The non-Secret Service related chapters are definitely an acquired taste. Carter supports the Warren Commission version of events and does offer some decent anecdotes from his days with the agency.

9 Amazon.Com reviews; 5.0 aggregate

Entertainment: 2.5-3.0; Overall: 2.5-3.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (former JFK era agent who was also in the Rolling Stones entourage)



6) "Looking Back and Seeing the Future: The United States Secret Service, 1865-1990" by Association of Former Agents of the United States Secret Service [AFAUSSS](1991)


I was lucky to have been supplied a copy of this fascinating, somewhat private publication by the late PRS agent Frank Stoner; an expensive used copy will sometimes crop up on Amazon. Although there are a trove of very nice pictures, the work is largely dated and biased via the late Agent/ Historian Harry Neal's point of view.

Entertainment: 2.5; Overall: 2.5


7) "American Gunfight: The Plot to Kill President Truman-and the Shoot-out That Stopped It" by Stephen Hunter and John Bainbridge, Jr (2005)


Definitely a specialty item, as this book deals exclusively with the 11/1/50 assassination attempt on President Harry Truman. This was a major release with help from the Secret Service, then (Boring, Mroz, etc) and now (Historian Mike Sampson). Warts and all, I would say this is the definitive book on the attempt on Truman's life, although the reviews on Amazon are decidedly mixed.

38 Amazon.Com reviews; 3.5 aggregate

Entertainment: (2.5-)3.0; Overall: 3.5 (-4.0); SPECIALTY BOOK (11/1/50 Truman attempt and the agent's responses and reactions)


8) "The Kennedy Detail" by Gerald Blaine and Lisa McCubbin; Foreword by Clint Hill (2010)



Oh, my: where do I begin? I have pontificated many times over about the book's inherent bias, fabrications, twisted views, etc., not only here but on Amazon, You Tube, and my CTKA review:

http://www.ctka.net/reviews/kennedydetailreview.html

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IbD1shPmla8

(note: I am the unnamed Secret Service expert on pages 359-360 and I have answered his criticisms many times over)

Blaine states that this was "a book that had to be written." I would add: "yeah, it had to be written...because of my 22-page letter to Mr Hill that greatly alarmed you both." [I spoke to Blaine and many of his colleagues long before his book appeared] Blaine is a past President and last surviving founding member of the AFAUSSS; 'nuff said.

172 Amazon.Com reviews [although many of the 5 star reviews are from former agents, colleagues, and friends]; 4.0 aggregate

Entertainment: 3.5; Overall: 2.5 (1.0 for 11/18/63 and 11/22/63 falsehoods; 3.0 or better for the non-controversial aspects of the book)


9) "Special Agent A Quarter Century With The Treasury Department And The Secret Service" by Chief Frank J Wilsom and Beth Day (1965)



Definitely a dry and dated book. No index hinders research, although there are definitely items of interest to be found within.

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.0-3.0


10) "20 years in the Secret Service: My Life with Five Presidents" by Rufus Youngblood (1973)



Definitely NOT dry, Rufe's fine book could be considered dated, but that would be unfair to him and his book. Rufus Youngblood told me that his ghost writer was Richard Hardwick, duly thanked on page 5. That said, Rufe (and co.) wrote a nice book about his time serving 5 Presidents, with particular emphasis on LBJ, the President who called Youngblood "the dearest of all" agents. It's funny, thought-provoking, and well-written. As the leading civilian authority on the U.S. Secret Service, I am impressed, as I was with Rufe (rest in peace, my friend). One of the better Secret Service books, despite its age and his belief in the Warren Commission's findings.

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 4.0-5.0
11) "Secret Service Chief" by U.E. Baughman (1962)


I modestly recommend this book by JFK's first Secret Service Chief, Urbanus Edmund "U.E." Baughman (who was replaced as Chief in late 1961 by the SAIC of the WHD, James J. Rowley). The book is readable and pretty well put together. There are many examples of rich irony throughout: Baughman receiving the call to become Chief on November 22 [1948]...Baughman is, ahem, "retired" by a President who would meet his ultimate fate on November 22 [1963]...Baughman waxes on about the virtues of Richard Nixon for President at a time when Tricky Dicky was dead in the water, politically speaking...etc.

Entertainment: 2.5; Overall: 3.0


12) "Dar's Story: Memoirs of a Secret Service Agent" by Darwin Horn (2002)

Darwin Horn is a nice guy with whom I corresponded with quite a bit a few years back. Unfortunately, his book does not age well and, to be honest, was rather dry and clinical at the time. Former Agent Walt Coughlin told me his book was "ok"...that would be my assessment now. Horn just did not have that exciting of a career or background to warrant a book.

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.5


13) "Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan" by Del Quentin Wilber (2011)



As someone who has also spoken to the great Jerry Parr, a true hero from 3/30/81, as well as a gaggle of other former agents from the FDR-Reagan era, let me tell you, in no uncertain terms: this book is outstanding, Anyone who gives it less than 5 stars needs his/ her head examined. As the leading civilian authority on the United States Secret Service, I was very much impressed with the research, writing, and narrative; incredible. Just how close we came to losing yet another president is made manifest in this terrific work. In fact, this book is a true tale of heroism, in stark contrast to the gross lies and profiteering of "The Kennedy Detail", falsely blaming JFK for his own death. Unlike that sad chapter in American history, THESE agents reacted properly, did not seek to blame the President for their collective ineptitude, nor did they seek to profit from their actions. Buy this book a.s.ap.!

I have spoken to and corresponded to Del several times since publication; great guy, as well.

101 Amazon.Com reviews, overwhelmingly 5 star/ positive (not one 1 star review!); 4.5 aggregate

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 5.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (albeit a great and recommended one: the 3/30/81 assassination attempt on President Reagan, with the agent's reactions and responses. Like Hunter's 11/1/50 book, above, the definitive book on the 3/30/81 attempt, but a better read)

14) "Protecting the President: The Inside Story of a Secret Service Agent" by Dennis V.N. McCarthy and Philip W Smith (1985)


The late Dennis (no relation to Tim) McCarthy (with some help from his co-author, Philip W. Smith) wrote this book. While it reads very well, is funny, informative, and even has a nice photo section, to boot, the Secret Service was NOT pleased with this book. Former Agents Walt Coughlin, Darwin Horn and Bob Snow told me the book was an embarrassment, with Coughlin adding that McCarthy "never could carry his weight." In hindsight, although he received a medal, Dennis McCarthy's role that fateful day on 3/30/81 was relatively minor, especially in comparison to the bravery (and bloodshed) of Jerry Parr, Tim McCarthy, Drew Unrue, and Ray Shaddick, among others [see "Rawhide Down", above]. In fact, on the video "Inside The Secret Service," an actor portraying a threat to the President is shown reading a copy of this book (!) and, if that weren't enough, a still photo of the four agents decorated for valor for their heroics---Parr, Shaddick, McCarthy, and TIM McCarthy---is depicted with DENNIS McCarthy cropped out and not even mentioned!

Entertainment: 4.0-5.0; Overall: 3.0-4.0 (keeping in mind the reservations noted above. Some in the Service would say 1.0!)

15) "Confessions of an Ex-Secret Service Agent: The Marty Venker Story" by George Rush (and Marty Venker) (1988)


Along with Dennis McCarthy's book, above, this is the OTHER book that gives the Secret Service fits...and for good reason. That said, I get a kick out of Marty Venker: he is alot like one of his evident heroes, Brooks Keller (the wild former agent chronicled briefly in both his book and Dennis McCarthy's). Venker's book, actually 'written' by George Rush, is a funny yet informative chronicle of a square peg in a round hole---Venker, the wild child, trying to conform to rigid, structured, pressure-packed duty as a Special Agent. The lack of an index will frustrate you (at least in the paperback), but there are many nice nuggets and anecdotes to be found here.

George Rush was asked to work on an article, and met Marty Venker. They turned on the tape recorder and listened to his memories. The result was an article for "Roling Stone" magazine. More talks and recordings led to this book. Seventeen chapters cover his experiences over the ten years in the Secret Service during the 1970s, and afterwards. An interesting read.

Entertainment: 4.0-5.0; Overall: 3.0-4.0 (once again, keeping in mind the reservations noted above. Some in the Service would say 1.0!)

16) "Reilly of the White House" by Michael Reilly (1947)

A dry and dated book from the SAIC of FDR's Detail (who replaced Colonel Edmund Starling). This has historical importance, so I would not be too hard on it, overall. Members of the late Mike Reilly's family have contacted me through the years.

Entertainment: 2.0-3.0; Overall: 2.0-3.0


17)"Starling of the White House: The story of the man whose Secret Service detail guarded five presidents from Woodrow Wilson to Franklin D. Roosevelt" by Colonel Edmund Starling (1946)


Yet another somewhat dry and dated book, albeit one that is slightly superior to Reilly's book, above. Interestingly, Starling's book has 8 Amazon.Com reviews with a 4.5 aggregate (the book has recently seen new life in a reprinted version, as well as turning up in used condition). Starling is a legend in Secret Service lore...and rightfully so.

Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 3.0

18) "The Secret Service: The Hidden History of an Engimatic Agency" by Philip Melanson (2002; revised and expanded version, 2005)



The late Philip Melanson was a prolific author and colleague--in fact, I am IN this book on several pages, as well as the bibliography. This book was greatly improved, in my opinion, when Melanson got rid of the co-author from the original 2002 edition (Peter F Stevens [21 Amazon.com reviews, 3.0 aggregate; very mixed]) and revised and expanded the work for the 2005 release (10 Amazon reviews, 4.0 aggregate). Here is my Amazon.Com review:

New & improved...sort of (4.5 stars, anyone?)


As the leading civilian authority on the U.S. Secret Service, I was much looking forward to the REVISED AND EXPANDED version of this book, as ***my*** own book ("The Third Alternative-Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The JFK Murder" [1993-1998], now massively expanded and updated as "Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect The President", available now!)was listed in the original version and it is obvious Melanson made good use of my material for his chapter on the JFK assassination entitled "Losing Lancer." [pages 74, 77, 80, 87, 343-344 (endnotes), 358 (bibliography), & 371 (index) ["etc."]

Well, Melanson evidently heard all the first-edition bad reviews regarding editing and typos and the like: gone is his co-author, Peter F. Stevens. Also, he added a nice new cover and TWO new chapters, as well as sourcing former agent Joseph Petro's excellent 2005 book entitled "Standing Next To History." (It still says "the authors" [plural] in the Bibliography and, from the larger font, you can tell that Petro's book was added!]

That said, I highly recommend this book (as I did with regard to the poorly edited/ proofread first edition)---still alittle bit of a "dry" text, but he listened to all the criticisms regarding STYLE. And, while I achieved a world's record---SIXTY SEVEN former agent interviews (the old record was by the HSCA: 44)---Melanson did interview a handful of former agents (such as Winston Lawson, also interviewed numerous times by myself)and his book serves as a good general overview---using mostly secondary sources--- of the (history of) the Secret service, 1865-2005 (while my work focuses more on the FDR-Reagan days, with special emphasis on the JFK/ LBJ years...and alot more PRIMARY research). For the record, my work is now credited on pages 72, 74, 77, 85, 388, 389, 408, 424 ["uncredited": pages 59, 60, 70, 71, 73, 75-76]

Potscript: Melanson writes on page 61: "Some of the agents, THOUGH NOT WINSTON G. LAWSON, lied to the Warren Commission about how thorough they were [my emphasis]." It is obvious that Melanson didn't want to ruffle Lawson's feathers, as he interviewed him and probably feared he would take exception to that!

If you want an extremely thorough, take-off-the-gloves approach to the Secret Service, get my 276-page book "Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect The President." In the meantime, Melanson's 30 pages regarding 11/22/63 should suffice...and the rest of the book, now mostly improved and expanded, should still be a good start for anyone interested in the U.S. Secret Service.
---
Former JFK era agent Tony Sherman highly recommended the book to myself (evidently forgeting, for the moment, that I was IN the book!), and it was a major, over-the-counter release. However, like Kessler's controversial book, above, the reaction has been mixed and there are flaws. Still, recommended, nonetheless.

Entertainment: 4.0; Overall: 4.0


19) "Murder From Within: Lyndon Johnson's Plot against President Kennedy" by Fred Newcomb and Perry Adams (1974; new edition 2011)



My Amazon.Com review:

Important, seminal work, regardless of your take on one aspect of this great book

The entire research community is so indebted to Fred Newcomb: he gave us the body alteration theory (years before David Lifton), cogent criticisms of the Secret Service (while I was in diapers!), analysis of the LHO backyard photos (later made famous by Jack White), the Dodd/ Seaport Traders theory (in "Reasonable Doubt" and "Ultimate Sacrifice", among others), and, although I do not believe it, the Greer-shot-JFK theory (years before William Cooper et. al.). This book, the new and improved edition, reads well and even has good comments about JFK's foreign policy (Vietnam). I am a proud owner of an original. Do NOT let your feelings about the Greer-shot-JFK theory deter you from getting this important, seminal volume asap---there is ALOT of good, pioneering work contained herein. We are all indebted to Tyler Newcomb, Fred Newcomb, and Perry Adams. Buy this asap!

Entertainment: 4.0; Overall: 4.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (pro-conspiracy book that, on the plus side, demonstrates Secret Service malfeasance on 11/22/63 but, on the negative side, also included the absurd driver-did-it theory)


20) "Last Word: My Indictment of the CIA in the Murder of JFK" by Mark Lane (2011)


My Amazon.Com review:
FANTASTIC! GET THIS A.S.A.P.! THE KENNEDY DETAIL DEBUNKED!

Attorney Mark Lane thoroughly destroys Gerald Blaine & Lisa McCubbin's book "The Kennedy Detail": on the merit of this alone, every person who purcashed and/ or read that book needs to read this as the antidote. Lane saves his best JFK work for last with his appropriately titled tome "The Last Word", a book that joins Jim Douglass "JFK & The Unspeakable" and Douglas Horne's 5-volume series "Inside The Assassination Records Review Board" in the "holy troika" of essential, must-read (and own) Kennedy assassination books. Lane skillfully takes apart Vincent Bugliosi's magnum opus on the Oswald-did-it side entitled "Reclaiming History" and, most of all, Gerald Blaine's fraudulent "JFK-told-us-not-to" book "The Kennedy Detail"---for the latter, Lane used my research materials, for which I am most grateful. In addition, Lane adds further credibility to the tale of former Secret Service Agent Abraham Bolden and his book "The Echo From Dealey Plaza." It never ceases to amaze me how much great literature and research has come forth in the last 5-10 years. Mark Lane's book "The Last Word" adds to his legacy greatly. Get this one asap---Bugliosi, Blaine, and the CIA have a lot to answer for! Highly recommended; fantastic!

17 Amazon.Com reviews, 4.0 aggregate

Entertainment: 4.0; Overall: 4.0 (5.0 for Secret Service related chapters); SPECIALTY BOOK (pro-conspiracy book that does debunk "The Kennedy Detail" and adds support to Bolden's book, above)


21) "Robert DeProspero" (2011)


A currently out-of-print slim volume that contains my Wikipedia article on Robert DeProspero, as well as several other former agents (and my contributions!).

Robert Lee DeProspero was a respected United States Secret Service agent, serving from 1965 to 1986. He is notable for serving on the Presidential Protective Division (PPD) during a large part of the Reagan administration, and for heading that division towards the end of his tenure.DeProspero attended West Virginia University, where he earned a Bachelor's Degree in physical education in 1959 and a master's degree in education in 1960.DeProspero devised several very important and innovative security measures during his time in the Secret Service that are used today: the "hospital agent" (stationing an agent at the nearest primary trauma hospital on a presidential movement), as well as the creation of metal detector checkpoints to screen every individual who could get a view of the president.

Entertainment: 2.5; Overall: 3.0

22) "United States Secret Service Agents" (2011)

Another currently out-of-print slim volume that contains my Wikipedia article on Robert DeProspero, as well as several other former agents (and my contributions!).


Entertainment: 2.5; Overall: 3.0

23) "Saving Mrs. Kennedy: The Search for an American Hero" by Harvey Sawler (2005)


I highly recommend this well written novel about Secret Service agent Clint Hill. Hill is the agent who was awarded a Medal for protecting Mrs. Kennedy on that fateful day in Dallas on 11/22/63. This book is a very fine novel covering this brave and dedicated public servant. However, this book is very FACTUAL, too: while it uses the novel format, this is only as a device to lay out the facts. There is also a Foreward from former Chair of the Assassination Records Review Board, Judge John Tunheim, as well. The author went to a great deal of effort to flesh out the details of Hill's life (contacting Concordia College friends and professors, as well as family and friends, although it appears that the elusive Mr. Hill himself did not cooperate [I did speak to him, but that is another story]).

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 3.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (novel re: Clint Hill)


24) "The U.S. Secret Service: Protecting Our Leaders" by Connie Colwell Miller (2008)

A nice KID's book on the Secret Service

Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 2.5-3.0

25) "Introduction to Executive Protection" by Dale L. June (1998)

Product Description: An Introduction to Executive Protection provides beginners in the occupation of executive protection with the tools they need to know and appreciate the profession; to enable them to realize what is expected when they are placed in positions of confidence and trust; and to understand the implications of being responsible for the safety and lives of others.
This guide emphasizes the basic elements of executive protection which are often neglected or overlooked in practical application, even by professional schools of executive protection instruction which sometimes mistakenly assume all enrollees are practiced journeymen. In addition to practical and technical considerations of the profession, "executive protection" means working with people on a personal level. The author draws on his extensive and varied experience in the field to share events that inform and enlighten students of executive protection and teach them how to best avoid endangering those they protect.

My short Amazon.Com review:

Excellent book on executive protection

As the leading civilian authority on the U.S. Secret Service, I highly recommend this book from distinguished former agent Dale June. It is well written and very informative. Simply put, you cannot go wrong in purchasing this volume. I was a little disappointed with the 11/22/63 "whitewash", but that was to be expected, quite frankly (what is Mr. June going to say : "My colleagues screwed up in Dallas?"). Get this!

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 4.0

26) "The United States Secret Service" by Walter S. Bowen & Harry Neal (1960)


I believe that this book, though valuable for the time it was written, is dated and dry by today's standards. Obviously, a lot has transpired since this was written over four decades ago. Still, some worthwhile information for the Secret Service enthusiast out there.

Entertainment: 2.0; overall: 3.0


27) "Secret Service Agent: And Careers in Federal Protection (Homeland Security and Counterterrorism Careers)" by Gerry Souter (2006)

I highly recommend this great "starter" book on the agency. There are nice graphics and the book, albeit short in length, is well written and incisive. That said, this is, like Connie Miller's book (above), a KID's book.

Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 2.5-3.0


28) "Definitive Proof: The Secret Service Murder of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy" by Dan Robertson (2006)


My Amazon.Com review:

Lots of good information, sincere intent...wrong conclusion


I commend Dan Robertson for a well written and researched book. There is a lot of good information on the Secret Service and their role, innocent and otherwise, on 11/22/63 during the JFK assassination, as well as before and after (Robertson makes good use of my material, as well as doing some original research, too). There is no doubt: Robertson's intent was sincere; he's no loony but a successful, intelligent lawyer. That said, the ultimate conclusion of the book, that Secret Service driver William R. Greer shot JFK, is simply not supported by any credible evidence (and the allegation is hardly a new---and unknown---one: Fred Newcomb, Perry Adams, Lars Hansen, and William Milton Cooper, among others, espoused this decades ago, and many 'common folk' are much aware of this fringe theory). Still, this book is a worthwhile addition to the collection (and for anyone interested in the Secret Service and JFK).

Entertainment: 3.5; Overall: 3.5; SPECIALTY BOOK (pro-conspiracy book that, on the plus side, demonstrates Secret Service malfeasance on 11/22/63 but, on the negative side, also included the absurd driver-did-it theory)



29) "Secret Service Agent (Uniformed)" by Jack Rudman (2004)

From my Amazon.Com review: This is a very dry, clinical book (5 stars for content, 2-3 stars for "readability": it's for those wishing to join the UD---Uniformed Division---of the USSS!). Hey, SAIC of PPD (for George W. Bush) Nick Trotta started out this way---the UD division is very important.

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.5


30) "Whitewash II: The FBI-Secret Service Coverup" by Harold Weisberg (1967)


From my Amazon.Com review: While I have the original edition, this nice "update" of sorts is a welcome addition to the collection. That said, this book IS a little dated and not as earth-shattering as Mr. Weisberg's other seminal works. Still, I recommend it nonetheless.

Entertainment: 2.5; Overall: 2.5; SPECIALTY BOOK (pro-conspiracy book)


31) "Not On The Level" by Michael V Maddaloni (2006)

From my Amazon.Com review: Wow! What a page turner "Not On The Level" is! I am very impressed with this well-written, entertaining, and thought-provoking book by former Secret Service agent Mike Maddaloni. Uncle Tony and Uncle Sal will be burned into your brain, while Joe De Falco's narration pulls it all together. Get this book asap!

I corresponded with Maddaloni several times.

Entertainment: 4.5; Overall: 3.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (a novel from an agent who served on PPD Carter-Reagan)

32) "To Be a U.S. Secret Service Agent" by Henry Holden (2006)


While somewhat akin to Souter's and Miller's KID'S books on the Secret Service, this slightly longer work has great graphics and is actually written with adults in mind, as well.


Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 3.5


33) "The United States Secret Service in the Late War" by LaFayette C Baker (1895?)

Ancient book, very dry and dated.

Entertainment: 1.5; Overall: 2.5


34) "American Secret Service agent" by Donald Wilkie (1934)

ditto on all counts


35) "Politics of Protection: The U.S. Secret Service in the Terrorist Age" by Philip Melanson (1984)

Get Melanson's 2005 work instead. This is somewhat dated and made completely redundant by his later work.


36) "The Dark Side of Camelot" by Seymour Hersh (1997)


From my Amazon.Com review:

worth it for the comments of former Secret Service agents Newman, Sherman, McIntyre & Paolella


I recommend this book [a massive best-seller] primarily for the comments of former Secret Service agents Larry Newman, Tony Sherman, Tim McIntyre, and Joe Paolella, all of whom I also spoke to and/ or corresponded with. Like what they say or not, it is also supported by what others have said, including the comments to myself from former SAIC of PRS Robert I. Bouck on 9/27/92, among others. (Hersh also interviewed Bouck and Marty Underwood, both of whom I ALSO spoke to, as well)

Entertainment: 4.5; Overall: 3.5; SPECIALTY BOOK (worth it for the agent's comments re: JFK that Blaine avoided)


37) "In Crime's Way: A Generation of Secret Service Adventures" by Carmine Motto (1999)


Book description: A retired Special Agent in Charge of the United States Secret Service's special anti-counterfeiting detail in New York and author of the bestseller Undercover, Carmine J. Motto has lived a long and storied life. From witnessing a triple execution at New York's notorious Sing-Sing prison to thwarting an assassination attempt on the life of Harry Truman, Motto's name would make the list of any Law Enforcement Hall of Fame. In fact, so renowned are his exploits, that they were portrayed in a 20th Century Fox motion picture starring Burt Lancaster as Motto (Mr. 880).

Now, readers can learn all about the real-life experiences of this "Top Cop." In Crime's Way: A Generation of Secret Service Adventures, is a series of true, authentic and fascinating stories of Motto's 60 years in law enforcement bringing counterfeiters, conspirators and scoundrels to justice. Follow his colorful career from police officer to secret service agent as he tells about being a cop in New York the night of the famous Orson Wells's "Invasion from Mars" radio broadcast, tracking a suspect who murdered his parents for their life insurance, or showing up to arrest a suspect, only to find himself as the witness for the man's marriage.

While the book is written by and is about Motto, he is not the central character, but can be viewed almost like a narrator. Motto observes and participates in the action, but the real story is about the people he encounters. Most are presented in their own environment and situations of their own making as a result of their pursuit of an "easy dollar." No hot pursuits, exploding cars, or gun battles here. With his remarkable aptitude for story telling, Motto has preserved actual stories of life and the underworld as he saw it from his position as a renowned counterfeit investigator.

Review by fellow author and agent Dale June: When I was asked by the publisher and Mr. Motto to help in preparing this book for publication and to write this forward, I was more than pleased, I was honored. This, for me, has been like traveling through a time tunnel and sharing moments, as an unseen observer, in the life of people as they matched wits with a legend of the U.S. Secret Service...If there is ever such a thing as a Hall of Fame for Law Enforcement, Carmine J. Mottos name will be there.
-Dale L. June, Co-Author, Undercover, Second Edition

From my Amazon.Com review:

Carmine and Robert Motto [served in Chicago office with Bolden: see his book]: brothers in the Secret Service



I highly recommend this thriller of a book. Very well written as well. For True Crime ethusiasts. For the Secret Service enthusiasts, some interesting background---
Robert J. Motto, 88, a former Secret Service agent who protected five
presidents in his 21-year career, died Tuesday, March 19, 2002, in his
Downers Grove, Illinois, home after a heart attack. Born in Brooklyn,
N.Y., Mr. Motto attended City College of New York and served in the
U.S. Army from 1942 to 1946 in counterintelligence. After the war, he
was an investigator with the U.S. Postal Service in New York. Mr.
Motto joined the Secret Service in 1949 and over the years worked in
field offices in St. Louis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Springfield and
Washington, D.C. He retired in 1970 as the assistant to the special
agent in charge of the Chicago field office. Mr. Motto and his late
brother Carmine, also a Secret Service agent, were renowned for their
undercover work, colleagues and family members said. "Both my dad and
my uncle were very, very low-key people," said Mr. Motto's niece,
Irene Kaufman. "I think that's what helped them both be very
successful undercover agents."

Entertainment: 4.0; Overall: 3.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (Motto's narrow lens on Secret Service items)


38) "Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK, A ballistics expert's astonishing discovery of the fatal bullet that Oswald did not fire" by Bonar Menninger (and Howard Donahue) (1992)


From my Amazon.Com review:

good book about the shot LHO DIDN'T fire, silly on who he thinks did it

Secret Service agent George W. Hickey, jr. did not and could not have accidentally shot JFK from the follow-up car--among other reasons, the Bronson film and the numerous eyewitnesses debunk this notion. That said, this book is very worthwhile for ballistically proving that LHO did not fire the fatal shot. I spoke to and corresponded with the late Howard Donahue, the true author of this book (Bonar Menninger was merely the writer, so to speak). Interesting are the passing comments by many of the agents I also spoke to who debunk his theory of Hickey shooting JFK: Sam Kinney, Jerry Behn, Floyd Boring, James Rowley, Richard Johnsen, and Win Lawson.


Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 2.5; SPECIALTY BOOK (silly theory that JFK was accidentally killed by Agent Hickey)


39) "JFK: Breaking the Silence" by Bill Sloan (1993)


From my Amazon.Com review:

Good book, worth it for former Secret Service officer John Norris and former agent Robert Steuart's comments

As confirmed to myself from the author, Bill Sloan, the unnamed agent at the beginning of the book who spoke with much trepidation was former Dallas office agent Robert Steuart (I spoke to Steuart in 1992 and 1993). Although good, the best parts of the book are the aforementioned comments from Steuart as well as the chapter on former Secret Service officer John Norris (since deceased). [I spoke to Norris, as well]

Entertainment: 4.0; Overall: 3.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (pro-conspiracy book with two Secret Service related chapters)


40) "The Story of the Secret Service" by Ferdinand Kuhn; Foreword by U.E. Baughman (1957)

I modestly recommend this 1957 book by Ferdinand Kuhn (pen name?). This book is not to be confused---as I and others have been---with the 1971 Grossett and Dunlap book of the same title, written by former Secret Service agent Harry Neal. As for this book, it is dry and dated, but it is worth it for a few items (and the foreward by former Chief U.E. Baughman).

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.0


41) "In the Line of Fire" novel by Max Allan Collins (1993)

From my Amazon.Com review:

Nice novel (that the movie was based off of)...but the movie is better. That said, this is an enjoyable read and the story does indeed come to life. It is just very hard to compete with Clint Eastwood, John Malkovich, and Renee Russo!

Entertainment: 4.0 (movie: 5.0); Overall: 3.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (novel)



42) "In The Line Of Fire" movie/ dvd (1993)

I highly recommend this very entertaining thriller starring the great CLINT Eastwood as CLINT Hill (sort of). For the Secret Service enthusiast, there is great bonus footage from several of the technical consultants such as former Secret Service agents Robert Snow (I corresponded with him), Jerry Parr (protected Reagan on 3/30/81; I spoke to him), Hubert Bell, etc. Get this!

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 4.5; SPECIALTY ITEM (movie made with Secret Service help)


43) "Death Of A President" by William Manchester (1967)

I modestly recommend this classic and controversial book for the many Secret Service/ primary witness interviews Manchester conducted between 1964-1965 (he spoke to 20+agents; I spoke to 80+). That said, several agents I spoke to, three of whom also spoke to Manchester, including Rufus Youngblood, Sam Kinney, and Jerry Behn, among others, denounced this book. Most importantly, ASAIC FLOYD BORING IS QUOTED IN THE BOOK BUT WAS NOT INTERVIEWED FOR IT (AS VERIFIED BY BORING TO MYSELF) AND HE VEHEMENTLY DENIES THE VERACITY OF THE INFO. ATTRIBUTED TO HIM!!

Entertainment: 4.0; Overall: 4.0; SPECIALTY BOOK (11/22/63)


44) "The Day Kennedy Was Shot: An Hour-by-Hour Account of What Really Happened on November 22, 1963" by Jim Bishop (1968)


From my Amazon.Com review:

ANOTHER CLASSIC BUT FLAWED BOOK.

I recommend this book for its classic status. That said, there are several errors throughout and, like Manchester before him, Bishop has an obvious lone-nut bias. I know for a fact that Bishop spoke to former Secret Service agents Bill Greer and Jim Rowley...beyond that, it is hard to tell who (if anyone) else.

Entertainment: 3.5; Overall: 3.5; SPECIALTY BOOK (11/22/63)


45) "The Men Who Killed Kennedy" by Nigel Turner (video/ dvd) (1988;1991;1995;2003)


From My Amazon.Com review:

Amazing series (I was on part 7) :)


You have to own this whole set (parts 1-9). Flawed but indispensable; Nigel Turner has done it again (and again). Excellent films/ photos and primary witnesses, too.

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 4.5; SPECIALTY ITEM (11/22/63)


46) "Stalking the President: A History of American Assassins" video (1995)


I modestly recommend this video, as it is a decent overview of past assassinations. I did not care for the annoying "official" story re: 11/22/63 and Oswald but, other than that, this serves as a nice primer on the history of political violence in our country.


Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 3.0


47) "Dangerous World: The Kennedy Years" ABC/ video 1997


(BASED ON SEYMOUR HERSH'S BOOK, ABOVE)


I modestly recommend this video, as it contains the on-camera comments of former Secret Service agent's Tony Sherman, Larry Newman, Joe Paolella, and William "Tim" McIntyre, all of whom I have spoken to and/ or corresponded with myself. That said, I do not endorse Seymour Hersh's book, per se...but there is much of value in what these agents have to say.

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 4.0


48) "Presidential Limousines" video (1996)

I highly recommend this video for the great video/ film footage of the many presidential limousines and the Secret Service detail accompanying them. You will see SAIC's Ray Shaddick, Bob DeProspero, Jerry Parr, and others. I spoke to both the producer, Rick Boudreau, as well as the one Secret Service agent listed in the credits, Sam Kinney. Get this!

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 5.0


49) "The Story of the Secret Service" by Harry Neal (1971)


From my Amazon.Com review:

I'm confused...

As the leading civilian authority on the U.S. Secret Service, I am confused about this book: there is a book in my possession entitled "The Story of the Secret Service" by FERDINAND KUHN, with a foreward by then-Secret Service Chief U.E. Baughman...is THIS the same book (and is KUHN a penname for NEAL)? The book I have was published in 1957 by Random House. However, when I ordered it here, I received not the 1971 "Neal" book with the same title, but this one...? That aside, this book is o.k.; no great shakes. It's very dry and dated. For the curious only.

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.5


50) "Secret Service History, Duties and Equipment" by C.B. Colby (1966)


From my Amazon.Com review:

Decent short book for the young (and old)


I reluctantly impose a 3-star rating on this work. It may be short, dated, and intended for a young audience, but it DOES have some good moments, especially the photographs (I especially like the one of Stu Knight and Art Godfrey at target practice on page 20). For the Secret Service enthusiasts out there only.

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.0



51) "What Does a Secret Service Agent Do?" by W. Hyde (1962)

From my Amazon.Com review:

Good but dated book on the Secret Service; ironic, too


I feel this book, while certainly having its moments, is alittle dated and under-developed. There are some eerie moments in this work, too, especially considering it was written in 1962, the year before JFK's assassination---a picture from the supposedly apolitical Secret Service headquarters with the picture of Ike that contains the sticker "I Miss IKE" (what, don't like JFK too much, huh?), as well as some of the comments made between pages 26-30. Buy this if you are curious.

Entertainment: 2.5; Overall: 2.5



52) "Secret Service In Action" by Harry Neal (1980)


I was disappointed with this error-ridden book by the legend-in-his-own-mind Harry Neal. There IS some surprisingly good information on former Director H. Stuart "Stu" Knight. It has its moments, I guess...but needed a co-writer to flesh out the style and especially the FACTS.

Entertainment: 1.5; Overall: 1.5


53) "U S Secret Service (Know Your Government)" by Gregory Matusky (1988)

I modestly recommend this work, especially for those with a keen interest in the Secret Service. There are some fine photographs and, with a nice introduction by Arthur Schlesinger, you just can't lose. It's alittle dated, but it's still essential. Get it! P.S. That is agent Ron Pontius beside LBJ on page 66

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.5


54) "The Secret Service Story" by Michael Dorman (1967)

I reluctantly give this partial propaganda a 3-star rating, largely for the GOOD, non-propaganda information contained within. Dorman, a staunch government friend and anti-Garrison advocate, had Secret Service help with this book...which definitely tainted the results in the JFK areas of the book. If you are a Secret Service enthusiast, you have to get it, though; it's that simple.

Entertainment: 2.5-3.0; Overall: 3.0



55) "Secret Service: Life Protecting the President (Extreme Careers)" by David Seidman (2003)


I was greatly surprised and impressed with this "kids" book about the Secret Service. Some very good information about the modern Secret Service is captured in good detail. In addition, there are several nice photographs included. Buy it!

Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 3.0


56) "The U.S. Secret Service (Your Government: How It Works)" by Ann Gaines (March 2001)


Author Ann Graham Gaines should be commended for putting together, along with Senior Consulting Editor Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., such a fine volume on the Secret Service. The funny thing is: this book may be intended for a young audience, but is actually quite appropriate for an older readership, as well! Richly illustrated with some rare photographs, I only feel it appropriate, as the leading civilian authority on the U.S. Secret Service, to say: buy this!

Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 3.0


57) "Secret Service (High Interest Books: Top Secret)" by Mark Beyer (2003)


Richly illustrated, well written, and very informative, Mark Beyer does a fine job of providing a "Cliff Notes" tome about the Secret Service that is especially geared for the young. That said, this book is surprisingly good and can even find an audience with people of all ages. As the leading civilian authority on the U.S. Secret Service, I was not disappointed (despite the slim number of pages). ;-)

Entertainment: 2.5-3.0; Overall: 2.5-3.0


58) "Secret Service" History Channel 4-video set 1995



I must say I am very enthusiastic in my praise for this 4-video set about the Secret Service. A nice cast of characters---former agents Clint Hill, Jerry Parr, Rufus Youngblood, & Larry Beundorf among them---really makes this series come alive. In addition, very nice archival footage is used appropriately throughout. In particular, the segments on FDR, JFK, and Reagan shine the most. Highly recommended!

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 4.5


59) "Inside The Secret Service" Discovery Channel video (1995)



My Amazon.Com review:

I must say I was somewhat impressed with this particular program. Specifically, the producers should be thanked for getting former agents' Winston Lawson and Floyd Boring on camera (at that time in 1995, this was their first appearance on tv/ video). Also, the program does a nice job (visually) with telling the story of the Secret Service from the 19th century up to/ inc. the 3/30/81 attack on Pres. Reagan (esp. former SAIC Jerry Parr's comments). It is also nice to see future SAIC Bobby DeProspero hanging on to the limousine during Reagan's first inaugural prade (he was then an asst. to Parr). The program drops a notch when discussing counterfeiting, investigations, and training, but not enough to sway my five-star review. Buy it.

Entertainment: 4.0; Overall: 3.5-4.0


60) "National Geographic: Inside The U.S. Secret Service" dvd (2004)


From my Amazon.Com review:

A reluctant 5 stars...read on


While I think this dvd is highly entertaining and informative, and while I also think the layman out there will truly enjoy it, for the very well informed like myself (I am the leading civilian authority on the Secret Service, especially with regard to the period from FDR to Reagan), I have some mixed emotions. For one, like the 1995 History Channel and 1995 Discovery Channel documentaries (both available only on vhs), this was an officially-sanctioned production, so, needless to say, trade secrets and controversy are kept to a bare minimum, to put it mildly. Second, while Clint Hill appears on all 3 productions, I feel even more could have been said by him about not only the events of 11/22/63, but with regard to the JFK/ LBJ years, in general (he DOES state that the back of the head behind the right ear was gone, thus corroborating his own 1963 SS report and 1964 WC testimony; it's good to hear him actually say the words). In addition, as with the Discovery Channel production (and the 1996 PBS special re: Truman), former ASAIC/ #2 agent under JFK Floyd M. Boring makes a noteworthy appearance, but, as with his other two appearances, only to deal with the infamous 11/1/50 Blair House assassination attempt on President Truman; nothing about his role as planner of the Texas trip and so forth.

In addition to the "usual suspects" (Hill, Boring, Jerry Parr), it would have been nice to seem some new faces like Joe Petro (with a book out right now) and Robert DeProspero (SAIC during part of the Reagan years, between Parr and Shaddick).

Still, for 90-99% of the viewing audience, you will find much to like about this documentary, arguably the best of the 3, although I feel the 1995 History Channel documentary is the best for the early days of the Secret Service. For the JFK years, please read "Murder In Dealey Plaza" by Fetzer and "The Secret Service" by Melanson, as well as "Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect The President" by yours truly
--
Probably the best Secret Service documentary to date

Entertainment: 4.5; Overall: 4.0-4.5

61) "Secrets of the Secret Service" Discovery Channel video/ dvd (2009)



A real mixed bag here---some good, some not so good. Former agents Funk and Petro perhaps gave compromising, error-laced comments, but it was good to see the 11/22/63 Love Field agent recall video and the relatively-correct spin on what it depicts.

Entertainment: 3.5; Overall: 3.0-3.5



62) "Walking With Presidents: Stories From Inside The Perimeter" by Michael Endicott (2009)


Michael Endicott graduated from St. Martin's University in 1965. He was a Special Agent with the United States Secret Service from 1965–1985. He was assigned to President Nixon and Secretary of State Kissinger and was Operations Supervisor to Vice Presidents Rockefeller and Mondale. He was also head of former President Nixon's detail from 1979–1985. When Nixon relinquished his government provided Secret Service detail, Mr. Endicott retired and took responsibility for Nixon’s protection under his own company, Endicott Associates, and became a Special Assistant to Richard Nixon, traveling with him as Staff Assistant in meetings with world leaders and high government officials.

This is a decent book that certainly has its moments, while it's pro-Nixon feel may turn off some readers.

Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 3.0

63) "Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service & The Failure To Protect The President" by Vince Palamara [reviewer] (1993/2006)


My book is listed in many other book's bibliographies (Vincent Bugliosi,Philip Melanson, Phillip Nelson, etc.) , as well as being referenced in the actual text of many more (Mark Lane, Noel Twyman, Harry Livingstone, William Law, etc). Since I feel it is crass to review one's own book, I will just say this: warts and all, it is the antidote to "The Kennedy Detail". After being available in softcover (self-published [1993-1996; 1998-2006] JFK LANCER [1997-1998]), the book was made available as a free online work in 2006:

http://www.assassinationresearch.com/v4n1.html

See also:

http://www.assassinationresearch.com/v4n2.html

SPECIALTY ITEM (11/22/63)


64) "Behind Closed Doors With The Secret Service" by Joan Lunden (2000)

Pretty cheesey production alleging to depict the "behind the scenes" of the agency. While it has its moments, it left this reviewer cold.

Entertainment: 2.0; Overall: 2.0


65) "Secret Service Files" National Geographic dvd (2011)


Product Description: With unprecedented access, National Geographic goes behind the scenes with Secret Service agents as they work each day to protect the president, foreign leaders, and even our economy.
In four programs, we'll go inside a counterfeit sting operation in Miami, search for a cyber theft mastermind in New York City, shadow undercover agents deep within the Bogota criminal underworld, and go where no cameras have gone before to reveal the extreme security measures taken to prepare for the Annual General Assembly of the United Nations.

Verdict: skillfully done with the best of intentions, but perhaps TOO much is revealed for comfort.

Entertainment: 3.0; Overall: 3.0


66) "The President's Book of Secrets" History Channel dvd (2010)



A decent, entertaining program which includes a segment with former agent Joe Petro exclaiming a few times that he is "not at liberty to discuss" certain security measures...he finally caught on. :-)

I was almost on this program---the producer contacted me earlier in 2010 but we could not agree to terms as far as travel costs, etc.

Entertainment: 3.5-4.0; Overall: 3.0


----------------------------------
Saving the best for last...


67)"Within Arm's Length" by Dan Emmett (2012) [NOT RELEASED YET; PRELIMINARY THOUGHTS AS OF 11/28/11-MORE TO COME]



I must say, in all candor, after having read all the good, not so good, pathetic, and "kiddie" books on the Secret Service, many of which are dry, clinical, dated, or pontificate on and on about positive or negative feelings about certain protectees, this work stands head and shoulders above the rest; a breath of fresh air...a refreshing change. Only Petro's book competes, which really says alot coming at this late juncture. Emmett has a very fine and distinguished background (Marine Corps Officer, Secret Service [Reagan to Bush, serving on CAT and/ or PPD for Bush #41-Bush #43, rising to the position of ATSAIC], CIA, Adjunct Professor, Consultant)to write such a tome; perhaps that is the difference (even his wife has a fairly distinguished background as an agent herself). The book is very well written and put together, especially for a first time author (the work also includes some nice graphics depicting Emmett with Presidents George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, & George W Bush, as well as Ted Kennedy). What I especially like about this book is that you really visualize what the author is depicting in text---you almost feel like YOU have lived through the fascinating situations outlined. Much more to come...this is just a short, thumbnail sketch (halfway through reading at the moment). BUY THIS WHEN IT IS RELEASED ASAP!

Entertainment: 5.0; Overall: 5.0; TIED WITH PETRO'S FOR BEST OVERALL SECRET SERVICE BOOK BUT SURPASSES IT FOR BEING EVEN MORE UP TO DATE AND CURRENT WHILE COVERING MORE INTERESTING GROUND