The #1 New York Times bestselling memoir by Clint Hill that Kirkus Reviews called “clear and honest prose free from salaciousness and gossip,” Jackie Kennedy’s personal Secret Service agent details his very close relationship with the First Lady during the four years leading up to and following President John F. Kennedy’s tragic assassination.
In those four years, Hill was by Mrs. Kennedy’s side for some of the happiest moments as well as the darkest. He was there for the birth of John, Jr. on November 25, 1960, as well as for the birth and sudden death of Patrick Bouvier Kennedy on August 8, 1963. Three and a half months later, the unthinkable happened.
Forty-seven years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the one vivid image that never leaves Clint Hill’s mind is that of President Kennedy’s head lying on Mrs. Kennedy’s lap in the back seat of the limousine, his eyes fixed, blood splattered all over the back of the car, Mrs. Kennedy, and Hill as well. Sprawled on the trunk of the car as it sped away from Dealey Plaza, Hill clung to the sides of the car, his feet wedged in so his body was as high as possible.
Clint Hill jumped on the car too late to save the president, but all he knew after that first shot was that if more shots were coming, the bullets had to hit him instead of the First Lady.
Mrs. Kennedy’s strength, class, and dignity over those tragic four days in November 1963 held the country together.
This is the story, told for the first time, of the man who perhaps held her together.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Former Secret Service agent Clint Hill puts a fascinating new slant on an iconic presidential story. When he was just 28, former army intelligence officer Hill—a newcomer to Washington—was assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy during JFK’s presidency. Decades later, he decided to share the details of what it was like to be so close to the First Lady. Unfailingly respectful, Hill doesn’t speculate on what happened behind closed doors, but he offers evocative, memorable stories, like the time he stood in as her comically overmatched tennis partner, how JFK asked him to keep Jackie away from (her future second husband) Aristotle Onassis during a trip to Greece, and, of course, his account of that fateful day in Dallas. It’s all presented with a minimum of fuss and a ton of candid details. Hill’s name may not be in the history books, but we loved reading about his small, personal role in American lore.
In November 1960, Hill, who had been on President Eisenhower's Secret Service detail, wasn't looking forward to his new assignment which he viewed as a demotion of protecting Jacqueline Kennedy. But a disappointed Hill soon realized he was actually serving the president "by protecting the things that were most important to him, personally his wife and his children." Hill was completely won over by the first lady's spontaneity, curiosity, sincerity, and joie de vivre. He accompanied her to Greece twice; on the first trip, in 1961, he was under strict if baffling instructions from JFK to keep his wife away from Aristotle Onassis. Hill was with Mrs. Kennedy on a Virginia hunt where she flew headfirst over her horse and a rail fence, through the death of infant Patrick and in Dallas when the president was assassinated. Hill is close-mouthed about JFK's infidelities. His book is most valuable for his perceptive recall of the daily routine and problems faced by the Secret Ser-vice detail. This is a worshipful, competent insider's glimpse of a matchless first lady whose diplomatic skills and glamour enabled her to do the unthinkable: briefly wrest the Mona Lisa from France. Photos.
Respectful and valuable
This book was a pleasure to read because Mr. Hill takes you within the circle of an extraordinary couple. I do not like salacious memoirs and I was pleased that this book was personal and respectful. I've read many books about the Kennedy's but I feel Mr. Hill provides many details that allowed me to understand Mrs Kennedy and her love for art, culture, horsemanship, history, pageantry and adventure. I knew Mrs Kennedy restored the White House and fought to preserve the character of the buildings around the National Mall. What a gift she was to generations of Americans. Thanks to this lovely memoir I understand this enigmatic woman and her values better.
Mrs. Kennedy and me
Wow. Seeing history through Clint Hill's eyes is a spectacular journey. As a twenty-something in 1963 I remember the assassination as if it were yesterday.
I saw President Kennedy speak in Cleveland during the 1960 campaign. And I sat glued to our little black and white TV screen in the days following the tragedy in Dallas.
Thank you Mr. Hill for writing this book. And thank you for all you did to assist Mrs. Kennedy before and after he husband was killed.
Always in my heart
Those times were the most happiest, hopeful times....never to return after the tragedy of losing such a magnificent man....and this endearing disclosure of those times with the our most exquisite First Lady and those beautiful children....a hero you are Mr. Hill, in more ways than one. It' an exquisite tribute. Thank you for sharing with all of us who so loved that family!