Jan Marie Ritter

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Jan Marie Ritter is a retired educator with over 30 years of professional experience. She earned a bachelor's degree in education with a post-graduate master's equivalent. A certified Reading Recovery teacher, Jan has written articles published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Throughout her career, she has garnered many awards and commendations.

Married to a decorated federal criminal investigator and protection agent, Jan has intimate knowledge of the events in which her husband, Bob, was an eyewitness to history... Starting as a personal journal for Jan and Bob's children, the work evolved into much more--fueled by the positivity received from family and friends. With a sharp focus on detail and veracity, Jan spent years on research, writing and rewriting. Jan and Bob have authored an accomplished memoir that has been acclaimed as one of the most accurate and thrilling portraits ever written of the United States Secret Service (USSS)...

Breaking Tecumseh's Curse has been successfully test-marketed and received many glowing reviews. Some have suggested that the book has cinematic qualities. Fact checked, edited and ready for major publication, Jan is looking for a passionate literary agent, so the work will reach its full potential...

Breaking Tecumseh's Curse has been strongly endorsed by the Federal Law Enforcement Officer's Association (FLEOA). The book's forward was written by Deputy Director Jerry Bechtle, United States Secret Service (Retired). Considered by many to be the definitive work and the most accurate about the Secret Service, Breaking Tecumseh's Curse weaves American and Secret Service history within a young couple's love story.

Secret Service Agent Bob Ritter was ahead of his time and tried to bring rational reasoning, behavioral analysis and advanced procedures to the protection of the President of the United States. Agent Ritter was one of the agents who in 1978 updated the USSS Protective Survey for the Washington Hilton Hotel.

The lead agent of the survey, changed the original protective procedures for the Washington Hilton by opening up the T-Street entrance area to the public during Presidential arrivals/departures. This was in response to directions by superiors to reduce the number of agent post standers and also to address complaints from the hotel's staff that the closing down of the entrance was too much of an inconvenience.

Agent Ritter tried to have the decision overturned, but he was rebuffed in his efforts. In fact, he was transferred from the Washington Field Office's Protective Intelligence Squad to the Forgery Squad because of his actions...

Several years later, President Reagan was almost assassinated by John Hinckley, Jr., who emptied a revolver from this very same area...

This exciting, informative and entertaining work also incudes a look at the JFK assassination and Lee Harvey Oswald. Agent Ritter suggests that Oswald might have assassinated Kennedy in order to be welcomed in Cuba with open arms. Ritter suggests that after the assassination, Oswald could have been making his way to one of Dallas' airports where he planned to hi-jack a plane to Cuba. Ritter also gives other possibilities and even mentions a little-known OSS-CIA point-shooting technique used by Jack Ruby in Oswald's murder...

The book also features methods of determining dangerousness in subjects. In today's violent world of mass shootings, some of these strategies might prevent a tragedy...



BY Jan Marie Ritter • POSTED ON April 4, 2013

A debut book provides an insider’s account of the Secret Service with the bonus of a spouse’s perspective.

Jan Marie Ritter opens this work on the fateful day of March 30, 1981, when President Ronald Reagan and three others were shot outside the Washington Hilton Hotel. This is also the moment when her two children, who are otherwise largely absent from the text, understand what their father does for a living as a member of the Secret Service. Ritter then turns back the clock to the early years of her relationship with co-author Bob, after they met in Spanish class at the University of Maryland in 1967. Of particular note is a rough period for the couple beginning in 1976, which included Bicentennial celebrations, the presidential election and inauguration, and the shah of Iran’s state visit. As Ritter notes, “The past two and a half years had been an endless action-film serial of late night call outs, long hours, no days off, and out-of-town travel.” At the end of the memoir, she circles back to the Reagan assassination attempt. Fortunately, Bob was stationed elsewhere that day, but he had been critical of a change made three years prior to the hotel’s security protocol that he felt was too risky. Though still troubled by the turn of events, he is vindicated here, along with other ideas of his that were unwisely ignored. Overall, Ritter does a respectable job of weaving the couple’s memoir into the larger narrative of a turbulent period in American history. In addition, the intricate tapestry covers a remarkable range of subjects. But her technique of presenting major national and international events through conversation rather than narration occasionally produces stilted dialogue: Bob goes on and on in long discursive paragraphs while Ritter offers clunky interjections here and there. For example, while they discuss the Jonestown Massacre, readers see this contrived exhortation: “ ‘What can we learn from this tragedy?’ I asked.” In light of relationship pressures and professional frustrations, Bob eventually decided to save his marriage and left the Secret Service. Ultimately, the authors were able to move past this period of strife and look forward to further adventures, perhaps saved for another time.

An impressive memoir with something for everyone: history and government, love and marriage, life and death.

Pub Date: April 4, 2013

ISBN: 978-0-9888502-0-0

Page count: 444pp

Publisher: Calvert Press

Review Posted Online: May 26, 2017

Awards, Press & Interests


Chesapeake Beach, Maryland

Favorite author

Truman Capote

Favorite book

Breaking Tecumseh's Curse

Day job

Retired Educator

Favorite line from a book

"Desperate people are dangerous people."

Favorite word


Passion in life