Jaime's Reviews > Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir

Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill
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Jun 05, 12

Read in May, 2012

Like many Americans, I have a mild interest in the Kennedy family. With the popularity of Mad Men and the renewed interest in the 1950's and 60's era, Mrs. Kennedy and Me is a well-timed release for summer reading.

Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent assigned to Mrs. Kennedy during her stay in the White House, gives his recollections and personal observations while in her service. It was fascinating to read about the actual logistics of the Secret Service at a time without cell phones and high speed connections.

The book also offers a brief glimpse at the upper echelons of American society. We learn a bit about Mrs. Kennedy's childhood and the opportunities she had. Mr. Hill goes into detail when describing her various trips abroad. He categorizes the book in chronological order, which is helpful in understanding the culmination of her years as First Lady.

We read about the fantastic crowds that would form whenever the First Lady would arrive. She received lavish gifts and even animals from foreign dignitaries. Though Mrs. Kennedy didn't spend vast amounts of time in Washington, her motto seemed to be "Quality, not quantity". She hit the mark when throwing a dinner or arranging a party and always showed up in a stunning dress. The press and the people couldn't get enough of her.

The last year of the Kennedy presidency was rife with tragedy. Mr. Hill doesn't leave out the death of baby Patrick. He treats the scene with dignity and honesty. Nor does he insert himself unduly into the situation. It's apparent he's not a professional writer but just a guy who was just doing his job.

The last quarter of the book takes us up through the terrible assassination of the President. As Mrs. Kennedy was with him at the time, Clint Hill was there,too. He spends a lot of time describing the preparations of that fateful Dallas trip, the procession of the motorcade, and the awful events that unfolded; always with a careful eye toward Mrs. Kennedy.

Clint Hill stayed with Mrs. Kennedy for another year following her husband's assassination. He kindly helped aid her in the transition back to civilian life, though we all know there's no going back to normalcy. Again, the book is filled with many interesting insights into that particular time that only Mr. Hill could really provide.

I usually don't read books that I feel are terribly intrusive. I was hesitant to pick this one up but I was relieved to find out Mr. Hill didn't seem to have any hidden agendas. I got the feeling that this book was cathartic for him to write and his feelings for the Kennedys were genuine and of a very positive nature. As I stated before, he's not a professional writer so there are times when the flow isn't quite right. It's even to forgive, though, in light of the topics covered.
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