So the book is told from Hill's perspective. He became Mrs. Kennedy's Secret Service agent right after the election in 1960 and was her agent until about a year after the President was assassinated. He talks about meeting her and how he didn't want to be her agent in the beginning. It was practically a demotion because he had been one of President Eisenhower's agents. But he ended up respecting and admiring Mrs. Kennedy and they got along really well. It's interesting to read about the foreign trips, the trips to Palm Beach, New York and Hyannis Port. He talks about the birth and death of Patrick
And yes, he does talk about the assassination. In detail. He discusses the decision for Mrs. Kennedy to accompany the President to Texas and the events preceding Dallas. The motorcade through Dallas and how the President didn't like having the Secret Service agents riding on the limosine so they were riding on the running board of the follow-up car. He covers everything. The shots, running towards the limo. He also details what happened at the hospital and on Air Force One, all the way through the funeral. He tells what happens truthfully, without a lot of commentary about his theories so he doesn't play with the conspiracy theories. You can read his account of events and draw your own conclusions about what happened. I liked that the reader is allowed that freedom of interpretation.
So when I picked up the book, I was expecting a sterile, boring account of life in theWhite House. But it wasn't. It's easy to forget that Secret Service agents are people, that they have thoughts and feelings. They actually interact with the people their protecting. Clint Hill got along well with President and Mrs. Kennedy. He lit her cigarettes, shopped for her, gave them cash for the offering plate at church. I really enjoyed reading about the fifty-mile hike. Kennedy had made a bet with Prince Radziwell and a friend that they couldn't complete a fifty-mile hike. Mrs. Kennedy asked Clint to go along with them just to make sure they were alright (so he says, I think the Kennedys were testing him). After completing the hike, the President presented Clint with a construction paper medallion that he'd made. It's funny as hell and humanizes both the agent and the President.
The only complaint about the book that I have is you can tell when it's Clint Hill's voice and when it's Lisa McCubbins's voice. He describes things matter-of-factly. There aren't pretty, frilly descriptions when the book is in Clint's voice. But when it's her voice, descriptions do get frilly and feminine. I also got the feeling that she was trying to edit it to give the impression that Clint was in love with Mrs. Kennedy. When the book's in his voice, you realize that he admired and cared for her a lot, but I never got the feeling that he was in love with her. Lisa McCubbin's job was to help him tell his story in a clear, cohesive way, not put her style stamp on it but there were several times that I felt she had done some editing of what he'd said, making the voice hers rather than his. It was irritating.
Otherwise, amazing book. Totally recommend it to anyone who's interested in Mrs. Kennedy, President Kennedy or the assassination.
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