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Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan
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Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan

4.13 of 5 stars 4.13  ·  rating details  ·  1,583 ratings  ·  227 reviews
A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book for 2011
A Richmond Times Dispatch Top Book for 2011

A minute-by-minute account of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was just seventy days into his first term of office when John Hinckley Jr. opened fire outside the Washington Hilton Hote
ebook, 320 pages
Published March 15th 2011 by Henry Holt and Co. (first published March 5th 2011)
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"Freedom is Too Good for Hinckley. Thirty years after he shot my father Ronald Reagan, he spends one-third of the year as a (mostly) free man."
So begins a Viewpoint in Time Magazine's April 4, 2011 issue by Patti Davis. Davis continues, "One of his victims, the main target -- my father -- died more than six years ago. Three others remain. Former White House press secretary James Brady is 70. The most gravely wounded and the first one shot, he sustained a massive brain injury that left him paraly
This book easily clocks in at five stars. Reading almost like a top notch thriller this book absolutely captivated me. For those that remember the day Reagen was shot, I was still in high school, this is the untold story. Kept back from the press and the public, for good reason, the true events of how we almost lost one of our Presidents is laid bare in these pages. Go into the surgery room as the doctors attempted to save the lifes of Reagen and Press Secretary Brady. Feel the raw emotion as th ...more
Dan Curnutt
There are days that you will never forget, such as 9/11. The day that President Reagan was shot is one of those. The picture on the cover of the book speaks a 1,000 words. If it were not for the quick action of Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr our nations history and that of the world would be different. If President Reagan had died we might still have the Berlin Wall.

This book is a historical document that reads like a best selling novel of the highest caliber. Wilber has done his research well
Book twenty-two of my presidential challenge.

Ronald Reagan was the President during my formative years but I remember little about him. I vaguely remember that it seemed like the President was a grandpa-type figure in that he was old and always had a corny one-liner that seemed to work despite itself. Modern day Republicans revere him like a God even if they mostly seem to have forgotten his policies and use him as a sounding board to simply state their own opinions. That has made me almost refl
In the early 1980s, the US economy was suffering from a severe recession. The newly elected president, Ronald Reagan, only two months after his inauguration, had received a very low approval rating of only 59. This was an extremely low rating for a newly elected president. [Del Quentin Wilber], in his well-researched book [Rawhide Down], makes apparent that the events of March 30, 1980, and the weeks following, aided in raising and maintaining Reagan's approval rating so much, that eight years l ...more
This is a very engaging behind the scenes look at the day President Reagan was shot. It does not delve into Reagan’s policies, but gives almost a minute by minute account of that day.

In addition to the shooting itself, the author looks at the main personalities that were involved. John Hinkley and how he came to be there, the doctors and nurses at George Washington Hospital, the Secret Service Agents and of course President Reagan.

Mr. Wilber brings the chaos that was the emergency room/trauma ce
Christian Petrie
When I was helping my son with his project on the Cold War at the library, I came across this book. As kid, I remember hearing the news about the shooting, but I don't everything that went on. As an adult I'm was interested to see what I remember vs what happened. It is very different seeing everything that was involved.

This book gives the details of the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. In it you are given a break down of the events of that day. The book opens with Reagan waking up and en
A fast-paced minute-by-minute account of the shooting, an entertaining and informative read. Still, it's pretty superficial and kind of feels like part of the whole mythologizing program surrounding Reagan. I'm interested in finding out further background information on everybody's actions throughout and the political repercussions.
Finished it it a day -- I could not put this book down. It was well written and the author somehow managed to make this historical account read with the excitement of a good suspense novel. It was compelling. I highly recommend this book. Read it.
Mary Ronan Drew
Monday, March 30, 1981, was a cool day in the DC area. I was working in the library at TRW Washington Ops in McLean that afternoon, listening to the radio, thinking about a visit to the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms, when a news bulletin on the radio announced that someone had attempted to assassinate the president at the Washington Hilton. I remember watching the TV news that evening and being appalled at the attempted murder of the president and the injuries ...more
The nightmare of every Secret Service agent came true on March 30, 1981. A deranged assassin fired six shots at the President of the United States and Agent Jerry Parr reacted exactly the way he was trained, saving Ronald Reagan’s life and sparing the nation the tragic premature burial of another president.

Wilber delivers a comprehensive, detailed account of the day of the shooting and the controlled chaos following immediately after. President Reagan came closer to death than was ever reported

Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan

On March 30, 1981, President Reagan walked out of a hotel in Washington, D.C., and was shot by a would-be assassin. For years, few people knew the truth about how close the president came to dying, and no one has ever written a detailed book of that terrible day. Now, coming from new interviews, Del Quentin Wilber tells the exciting story of a moment when the nation faced a terrifying crisis.
With clarity,
May 09, 2011 Chad rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Chad by: newspaper book review
Shelves: recent-history
This book was fascinating, well-written, and extensively researched. Includes behind-the-scenes look at the Secret Service and the medical team that treated President Reagan, as well as the Reagan staff on this chaotic day. Much more professional than In the President's Secret Service which I also read recently -- Rawhide Down simply reports the events, without an axe to grind.

This book was in the same vein as Columbine and Black Hawk Down: a detailed and intriguing account of a tragic event in
John DeDakis
While the events described in this book were unfolding, I was doing Person on the Street interviews as a reporter for the NBC affiliate in Madison, Wisconsin. Now comes the full, moment-by-moment account of the near assassination of President Ronald Reagan near the beginning of his first term in office. The book is fast-paced and vividly detailed. What's especially insightful are the perspectives of the Secret Service agents and doctors who saved Reagan's life. Anecdotes of how Nancy Reagan reac ...more
Poor Jodie Foster, that's all I can say.

The recent shooting of the Arizona congresswoman and her constituents led to an outpouring of appreciation for the split-second bravery for those on scene and the unflappable precision of the hospital personnel who saved her life. A similar feeling of gratitude can go out to the folks depicted in this book, a breathless narrative about Ronald Reagan's near-assassination; Rawhide Down often feels more like a commendation than a dry recitation of facts.

It is
Bruce Gilbert
I thought Rawhide Down was a very interesting read and quite enjoyable. Rawhide is the nick-name given to President Reagan by the Secret Service.

Despite already knowing most of the events and the outcome of the March 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan, Rawhide Down offers new details and in depth information that surrounded that fateful day. The book is very precise and detailed and the part where the victims are brought into the hospital after the shooting is very graphic. Almost to
Leonardo Etcheto
May 08, 2011 Leonardo Etcheto rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Leonardo by: WSJ
Great storytelling, fascinating breakdown of the events. It is always interesting to read how some lessons are learned and other are not. Lots of preparation and precautions on who he meets inside, but little crowd control. Hinckley just wanted to impress Jodi Foster, and he was able to get of 6 shots from 15 feet away. I had not realized that ER’s were just barely being organized for true emergency care. Reagan was fortunate in that he had quick care, not the norm for the time. This book remind ...more
I like well-written books about historical events. Based on amazing amounts of research and countless interviews, this book explains in clear, well-written prose everything that happened the day Ronald Reagan was nearly killed by an assassin. Some of this information is new, discovered by the author through the Freedom of Information Act. Surprisingly, no one has covered the assassination attempt in this much detail before. I had no idea that Reagan lost close to 50% of his blood and very nearly ...more
Jay Roper
Being a political junkie, and a huge Reagan fan, in addition idolizing the precision movements of the Secret Service, I found I could not put this book down and really enjoyed it. Its written in a time-line fashion based on recent declassification of the hospital reports, exhaustive interviews and a recently released audio tape recording from the Situation room in the White House that happened that fateful day 30 years ago! It really gives insider detailed information on how close we came to hav ...more
Gary Brittain
If you want to know what happened on March 30, 1981 at the Washington Hilton then this is the book you need to read. I purchased this book and would have finished it one sitting if I had the time, however I did finish in 5 days!!

Del takes you right there and let's you know what happened with Pres Reagan, Nancy, Reagan's aides (especially Alex "I'm in control" Haig).

As a self proclaimed Reaganite, I would give this book 7 out of 5 stars!!!

If you get a chance to meet the
Robert Morrow
This is a very tight, strong narrative of the events related to the attempted assassination of President Reagan. While not as broad or as socially significant as Hellhound on His Trail, the book is an exciting, dramatic read once you get into the story. The primary objection I had to the book was the introductory material, which was far too worshipful of Reagan than is proper for a history. All Wilber had to do was tell the tale: the man's courage and humanity during this crisis spoke for itself ...more
So weird. I swear I already wrote this review. And yet... there is no review. I blame it on triplet brain:).

I enjoyed this very detailed, minute-by-minute account of the events just prior, during, and after the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. The medical information was clearly well researched which made me more confident that the rest of the book was as well. I found the whole account to be very interesting and well worth a read if you are into historical non-fiction.
I was on an LDS mission in Germany in 1979 to 1981, so I missed the Election and early month's of President Reagan's first term, including the events in this book.

However, I distinctly remember walking in downtown Cologne, West Germany in March of 1981 and seeing a newspaper headline that blared "Reagan Attentat", or "Reagan Assassination attempt!". I bought the paper and was able to glean a few details.

This book fills in a lot of gaps, and was a fascinating read.
Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Regan is an historical page-turner that no one bothered to tell until now. Del Quentin Wilber tells the story of John Hinkley Jr.'s assassination attempt on President Ronald Regan with edge-of-the-seat detail and takes us on an intimate journey with the President and Mrs. Regan as well as the police officers, doctors, nurses and Secret Service agents on duty that day.

*This* is how a history book should be written!
Joan Oegema
Excellent book! I'm amazed at the information, medical and political, packed into this book about the day the day Reagan was shot. One detail missing in the book - in the section about changes made because of the assassination attempt, the Washington Hilton built a bulletproof garage to protect future presidents from ever being shot there again. Small piece of info but thought I would share it here.
Brian S. Wise
Logically laid out, well written; a breezy, informative book. Wilber tells the story in great detail, without feeling the need to beat every individual detail to death. And unlike so many books written about Lincoln, the Kennedys, and John Lennon, Wilber writes of the assassination attempt without attempting to conduct a love affair with his subject. I welcome and recommend this book.
Alan Kaplan
Very good book on the near assassination of President Reagan. I trained at GW hospital and I worked with.all of the doctors and nurses mentioned in this riveting book. GW was very proud of its performance during this crisis. Ben Aaron, the CV surgeon, and Arthur Kobrine, the neurosurgeon are the true heroes of the story and are accurately described in this readable, fast paced story.
Excellent read! A lot of in-depth info about the assasination attempt, Reagan himself, the Presidency, the Secret Service, and Hinkley himself. Told in a very riveting way - it kept me interested all the way through. Definitely spurred my interest in learning more about Reagan's presidency. Highly recommend!
Didn't care for Ronald Reagan I thought this book was terrific. It's a minute-by-minute account of the assassination attempt and the quick thinking and action as well as superb medical care thatverted disaster. Also the hidden workings of those who were in charge that day and what they told us. Very readable.
Extremely well written -- fast-paced, clear, thoroughly researched. A glimpse into a day, a presidency, and those who played a part in history, both large and small. Was the public fooled or just spared needless worry/panic? In today's news cycles, this would have unfolded very differently.
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Del Quentin Wilber is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Post. He has spent most of his career covering law enforcement and sensitive security issues, and his work has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize. He lives in Washington, D.C., with his wife and two sons.
More about Del Quentin Wilber...
Rawhide Down [Audiobook, CD, Unabridged] Publisher: Macmillan Audio; Unabridged edition A Good Month for Murder: The Inside Story of a Homicide Squad

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