They are the ubiquitous guardians always near U.S. presidents when they make public appearances. With their dark suits, sunglasses and corded earphones the members of the Secret Service are on the alert for attempts on the president’s life. Ronald Kessler’s book is a behind the scenes look at how the Secret Service began and evolved over the years. There is more than just history here though, as Kessler interviews former agents who divulge some behind the scenes accounts about former presidents. So along with the detailed facts about the day to day workings of the service, we discover that Lyndon Johnson was a philanderer who regularly had affairs with women as young as his daughter, and Bill Clinton once kept Air Force One waiting while he had a haircut, creating a backup in air traffic for over an hour. Kessler’s account of the Secret Service is highly readable, mixing history with first-hand gossip.
Reviewed by Lorne