Secret Service agents, acting as human surveillance cameras, observe everything that goes on behind the scenes in the president's inner circle. Ronald Kessler reveals what they have seen, providing startling, previously untold stories about the presidents, from John F. Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson to George W. Bush and Barack Obama, as well as about their families, Cabinet officers, and White House aides.
Kessler portrays the dangers that agents face and how they carry out their missions-from how they are trained to how they spot and assess potential threats. With fly-on-the-wall perspective, he captures the drama and tension that characterize agents' lives.
In this headline-grabbing book, Kessler discloses assassination attempts that have never before been revealed. He shares inside accounts of past assaults that have put the Secret Service to the test, including a heroic gun battle that took down the would-be assassins of Harry S. Truman, the devastating day that John F. Kennedy was killed in Dallas, and the swift actions that saved Ronald Reagan after he was shot.
While Secret Service agents are brave and dedicated, Kessler exposes how Secret Service management in recent years has betrayed its mission by cutting corners, risking the assassination of President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and their families. Given the lax standards, "It's a miracle we have not had a successful assassination," a current agent says.
Since an assassination jeopardizes democracy itself, few agencies are as important as the Secret Service-and few subjects are as tantalizing as the inner sanctum of the White House. Only tight-lipped Secret Service agents know the real story, and Kessler is the only journalist to have won their trust.
Customer ReviewsSee All
Kessler has written an interesting and entertaining book that is fun to read, although I don't know how it will shake out with current agents guarding the president. I don't believe president's or other officials will
feel comfortable with the agents if they know at some point their personal information will be splashed all over some tell all book. Most of the informers have retired from the service or left for other jobs. The one's that remain
will feel a little awkward after this. One other concern is that Kessler goes on a tear against Secret Service managers as if he were a union representative, complaining about everything from work hours to college benefits, it's way overdone.
He wants their weapons changed from MP5's to M-4 assault rifles because the agents want them, stating that the MP5 is just a large pistol. Did he stop to think what a battlefield rifle can do in a crowd of innocent people when the agent is
trying to hit maybe one individual. You don't want M-4 rounds flying around babies in strollers. The pistol round may be better for now.
Flawed, but interesting.
Here’s a book that’s part mild tell-all and part serious laying out of concerns that the author has about the ability of the Secret Service to be effective in its primary role of providing protection for high ranking officials and their families. Although I think the author may be a bit overly cautious, I would not write off his allegations of mismanagement as mere whining either. The problems sound all too common, and therefore plausible, to me. His case is thorough and well documented.
The tell-all parts of the book are interesting, but no big surprises and the jokes are often as much on the Secret Service as its protectees. He defends the goss as something that Americans have a right to know about the characters of their elected officials, which I agree with for the most part. And maybe if we begin to understand showmanship, substance and how personal morality relate to political greatness, we’ll be better able to elect the best people to begin with. As to the narrator, he’s fine. Poor readers - damned if they modulate, damned if they don’t.
Overall, a pretty good listen from a standpoint that I don’t know much about. I have been educated.
Wanted: Editor for rambling author
I love books of this subject matter and have read several along the same lines. Don't get me wrong somewhere in here is a good book, its just a much shorter work then what this is. Many chapters are just too repetative and I agree with some of the other reviews that constant whinning about budget woes and cutbacks just gets too much.
What really got me is that the description of the book and how the author presented it are not accurate. This is largely just unaccountable stories of ex-presidents as told by mostly un-named agents. I personally went into it expecting to be more about how and why the service does its job, this is not the case. If that is what you are looking for then I would suggest other works. One that did impress me was "Standing Next To History", check it out. I'm not sure Itunes carries it.