PROTECTING THE PRESIDENT: The Inside Story of a Secret Service Agent by Dennis V.N. with Philip W. Smith McCarthy

PROTECTING THE PRESIDENT: The Inside Story of a Secret Service Agent

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A memoir of a Secret Service career by an agent whose main claim to fame was in having grappled John Hinckley to the ground on the day of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. The author, whose White House details spanned the presidencies of Johnson, Nixon, Ford, Carter, and Reagan, tries to give us an idea of the daily tribulations of his peers, but unfortunately, he gets bogged down in several problems. The biggest problem is a clear lack of focus. He skips back and forth between incidents in an irritating, repetitive manner. For example, he tells the Reagan story fully three times (and this in a short book!). Secondly, while the blurbs promise the reader an insight into how the job is a marriage-breaker, the author only skirts the issue, and his two divorces come through more as a result of human peccadilloes than as job-oriented. McCarthy emphasizes that for every exciting or frightening occurrence, there are endless hours of boredom, standing guard outside closed rooms. His insights concerning the various Presidents are interesting--Johnson treated his agents like so many lowly ranch hands; Nixon was the most courteous and considerate; Ford was exactly as he appeared, a nice guy trying his best to do a tough job; Carter was aloof, rarely speaking to his bodyguards; Reagan the most loquacious and jocular. This book has been written before by other ex-agents. But those who crave every tidbit of Presidential gossip might enjoy still another entry.

Pub Date: Nov. 20th, 1985
Publisher: Morrow