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The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  2,685 Ratings  ·  296 Reviews
The Secret Service - an elite team of men who share a single mission, to protect the president of the United States. On November 22, 1963, these men failed - and a country would never be the same. Now, for the first, a member of JFK's Secret Service detail reveals the inside story of the assassination, the weeks and days that led to it and its heartrending aftermath. This ...more
Hardcover, 427 pages
Published November 2nd 2010 by Gallery Books (first published October 25th 2010)
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Dec 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A pretty compelling account of the Kennedy assassination by the Secret Service agents themselves. I'm convinced: one gunman (Oswald), three bullets, no government conspiracy. The book doesn't address Oswald's motives in detail, as the Secret Service agents have no particular insight into that. Well-written and super detailed. Excellent history of this tragic event, with great background information.
Frank Badalson
Feb 04, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Five stars, absolutely. And here is why! I began my research (1980) into the Assassination after the HSCA released its’ findings around 1979 I think it was. My Assassination library is extensive. By 1980 I had been in Law Enforcement 4 years. I had an understanding of how investigations come together, how the physical evidence relates to the case, what is needed to complete an investigation and most of all the ability to separate true needed facts from what is interesting, but not really relevan ...more
Doreen Petersen
Mar 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, politics
While I have nothing but the outmost respect and admiration for the Secret Service personally I do have issues with some of the findings of the Warren Commission. This really is an excellent book and I would encourage all to read it.
Fifty-one years ago President Kennedy was assassinated. For many years the Secret Service have maintained their silence about that day. Their job was to protect the president, and they had failed. Their feelings of loss and failure had to be buried because they still had a job to do, they had to protect the new president. Since most of what happened in their job was confidential they couldn’t even talk to family members about their feelings.

There is much controversy concerning the assassination
Jerome Jewell
Jan 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I grabbed this book as soon as it came out...literally on my way home from Arlington Cemetery in November 2010, after visiting the Kennedy gravesite.

To describe the reading experience as "extremely moving" would be a gross under-statement. To finally hear the story from those who were part of the story was not only refreshing, but extremely memorable. It's important that this book will live to tell the story long after all of us who watched it (on TV, for instance) are gone.

The details of the
Sep 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was well worth my time to get yet another perspective on this tragic event that I lived through many years ago. Very well written and gripping and honest.

I highly recommend it for those who want to refresh their memories or learn more about the JFK assassination.
Jan 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Last year, one of my students asked me, "Why is history so depressing?" I was flummoxed and took a moment before I could answer. I make sure to always include cultural and technological accomplishments, things that are much more uplifting, but so much of history is sad. You can't dress up wars and tragedies with a pretty bow. So, despite demonstrating the pride and adoration for Camelot, it's impossible to teach about JFK without being depressing. It is simply heartbreaking to relive his assassi ...more
Bj Biringer
I do not know why these individuals have waited 48 years to talk about what happened that day. However, in a positive light it offers unique insight into what it was like to work with President Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy on the Secret Service Detail. It is an oral testimony of history through the eyes of men that were that day and witnessed the assassination first hand. Interestingly, the book was written by one agent that was not in Dallas that day.
One of the problems I have with the book is tha
Jim Anderson
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had the opportunity to meet Mr Blaine at an event in Kansas City. He also signed my book that I purchased at the time. To meet someone that had first hand knowledge and experience with President Kennedy and his family and to be there on that fateful day was amazing. He sheds a whole new light and perspective of that day and the life on JFK. I have always admired President Kennedy even from the young age of 8 years old when he was assassinated. I highly recommend this book. You may or may not b ...more
Dec 05, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
Reads a bit like a petition for sainthood of secret service agents, second only to JFK and Jackie. Doesn't answer any of the perennial questions. Doesn't mention any of JFK's liaisons except to deny his affair with Marilyn in the epilogue. Yes, the SS agents were terribly traumatized by their sense of failure to prevent the assassination, and one has to feel for them. But this book descends into unnecessary and repetitive bathos.
Mary Stanik
Apr 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The world waited for many years for the men who composed President Kennedy's Secret Service detail to break their silence. They finally did so in this marvelous book, which is startling, sometimes heartbreaking and always interesting. This book should be read by all who consider themselves Kennedy historians, professional or amateur. It's an important part of the historical record of those exciting, tragic times.
Dec 12, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Since I was in the 6th grade when JFK was assassinated, I have been intrigued with the events of those days my entire life. It was interesting to read the first-person accounts of a couple of the Secret Service agents who were on President Kennedy's Protection Detail in Dallas. If this subject is something you are interested in, then I would highly recommend this book to you.
B Town
Apr 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A whole new perspective on the Kennedy Administration and assassination. These men adored JFK and his family and lived with the horrific and needless guilt of not being able to save him. An excellent read.
Tom Schulte
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Former JFK detail Secret Service agents Gerald Blaine and Clint Hill put together an excellent memoir of serving in that detail and basically a Clint Hill professional biography including his service under LBJ and Nixon. From their privileged vantage point this has much touching and personal such as JFK Jr. ("John John")'s obsession with military and saluting culminating in him stepping forward to render a final salute as his father's flag-draped casket was carried out from St. Matthew's Cathedr ...more
Jennifer Rayment
The Good Stuff

* Compelling and authentic and extremely classy (no tell all gossip book here)
* Touching first hand accounts of the relationship between JFK and his staff and his family
* Good selection of photographs including a lovely candid one of JFK and his kids on Halloween
* The scene between JFK and his son is very touching when you realize this is the last time they will ever see each other. Made me cry -- for once at least I wasn't in a public place when I read it
* Enjoyed the little
Breaking more than four decades of silence, Secret Service Agent Gerald Blaine has compiled government documents, agent stories and his own personal account of November 22, 1963 to give readers an inside look at what happened the day President Kennedy was assassinated. The book is written in four sections: The Men, The Job, That Day, and Our Lives which fills in the picture of the president’s life in the early 1960s and the small intimate detail of agents who sole job it is to protect the presid ...more
Dec 25, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: politics
This is without doubt one of the worst accounts of the assassination I've even encountered (and I've read quite a few). Gerald Blaine, who was on the Kennedy Secret Service detail, spends the first section of the book lauding himself for his courage to write the story. He spends the next section of the book lauding how brave and wonderful all of the secret service agents were. Throughout these sections he adds superfluous dialogue (recreated after 45 years) that are supposed to add a human touch ...more
Mar 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yes, we all know what happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963. In spite of the hundreds (thousands?!) of books that have been written about the assassination of John F. Kennedy, and the dozens of theories - convoluted conspiracy and otherwise - never before have we been privy to the tragedy from the perspective of the Secret Service.

From the introduction of the agents, to the elements of the security preparations, to the horror of the assassination itself and its is all there - th
Oct 22, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
THE KENNEDY DETAIL is an account of the Kennedy Assassination told almost entirely from the perspective of the handful of Secret Service agents who were assigned to guard the president. In almost any discussion of the events of November 22, 1963 it is nearly impossible to avoid the specter of, "Who was Really Responsible" for this catastrophic slaying. However, it soon becomes clear that to these men, it was largely irrelevant as to who committed the crime, but only how the events of that terrib ...more
Howard Willens
Jul 01, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I agree that this book is significant because it was written by, and about, the Secret Service agents assigned to protect President Kennedy on his fateful trip to Dallas on November 22, 1963. I served on the Warren Commission staff and shared the views of my colleagues on the staff and of the seven commission members that the Secret Service had failed in its responsibilities on that date. The testimony of Secret Service officials persuaded the commission members that the agency was deficient in ...more
Blog on Books
Nov 09, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
With time moving on and memories fading, former Secret Service agent, Jerry Blaine decided it was time to finally publish the authoritative version of events from those who had the closest view, the U.S. Secret Service detail assigned to handle the president’s security on that fateful day. Though not there in person, Blaine has gone back though notes, records and most importantly his associates who were there on the front lines as the events of the day unfolded to assemble the book, “The Kennedy ...more
Nov 24, 2010 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 28, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nonfiction books are usually interesting to me, but a slower read. This one, I just couldn't put down!

With all of the research done by the author, he provides a very thorough and firsthand account of the JFK presidency, what it was like to be a secret service agent on the kennedy detail (as well as other presidents), and that awful day in Dallas. Though at times it was difficult to follow who all of the agents were, I really appreciated the fact that the author used information from so many men
Nov 04, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is an excellent book that gives readers a glimpse into the lives of the secret service agents in charge of protecting President Kennedy. It's a work of historical non-fiction, but at the same time, a human interest drama about what these men dealt with during a painful and emotionally heart-wrenching time.

The book is well written and brings the reader into the heads and hearts of the Kennedy Detail Agents. It lays out the difficulties of the job the agents had, as well as captures a glimps
Feb 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So illuminating to realize what we (that's the collective 'we') didn't know about PTSD 50+ years ago, and how these men suffered alone with their thoughts for so long.
Walt Trachim
Oct 07, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I first read this book in September 2014 while traveling from Manchester, NH to Sacramento, CA. I recently re-read it, due to a conversation I had with a dear friend who is retired Secret Service. The content was as powerful the second time as it was initially.

One thing that stood out when I read it again was how the Detail and the sitting President (JFK) seemed to get along. It was as though their relationship was almost familial. Could that have contributed somehow to events as they occurred?
Mar 14, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book puts a new slant on the Kennedy Assassination, which has been approached from almost every conceivable angle. It was enlightening to read about this most horrendous of atrocities from the point of view of those who were sent to Dallas to protect the man who was killed. I feel sorry for the burden they have born all these years. With that said, though, I have never read a really satisfying account of the assassination, this book included. There are still just too many troubling details ...more
Clint Hill
Mar 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)  ·  review of another edition
I wrote the Foreword to this book and contributed information to the authors, Gerald Blaine and Lisa McCubbin. My stipulation in being involved was that I could review the book and that there be no salacious material or gossip. Lisa McCubbin did a remarkable job writing about the events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy from the perspective of the Secret Service agents. Unlike other books that are based on theory, this book is based on factual evidence and first hand eyewitness ...more
Penny McGill
Jan 05, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fantastic example of behind-the-scenes Secret Service stuff. Lisa McCubbin and Gerald Blaine pair up to give us that feeling of learning special details about the work of secret service agents with a tone that is very easy to read. The subject makes this book so hard to put down and the style of writing makes the hours just fly by. Poof, all finished a 400+ page book about working on the Kennedy detail. It's a great choice for fans of the Kennedy years and a must read for anyone who wants to kno ...more
Apr 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow! The true story of the Kennedy assassination from the men who witnessed it,and experienced it firsthand. I read 300 of the 402 pages in one afternoon, glued to the pages.

I was also lucky enough to meet Jerry Blaine,and Clint Hill and hear them speak at a booksigning. They were awesome and true Patriots.
Clint rode on the trunklid of the limo after the shots rang out. What a truly brave man he is!

This book is a definate must read for anyone that loves JFK,and his story!

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  • Five Days in November
  • The Kennedy Assassination--24 Hours After: Lyndon B. Johnson's Pivotal First Day as President
  • Legacy of Secrecy: The Long Shadow of the JFK Assassination
  • Listening In: The Secret White House Recordings of John F. Kennedy
  • The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963
  • After Camelot: A Personal History of the Kennedy Family--1968 to the Present
  • Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years
  • The Warren Commission Report: The Official Report of the President's Commission on the Assassination of President John F. Kennedy
  • Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy
  • High Treason: The Assassination of JFK & the Case for Conspiracy
  • JFK: The CIA, Vietnam and the Plot to Assassinate John F. Kennedy
  • Sweet Caroline: Last Child of Camelot
  • President Kennedy: Profile of Power
  • The Death of a President: November 1963
  • Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation
  • Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye: Memories of John Fitzgerald Kennedy
  • The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America
  • Robert Kennedy: His Life
“I sat there, staring at the television set, the images of her playing over and over, my memories right there on the screen. I was overcome with a deep sense of loss. The tears streamed down my face, and I was not ashamed.” 4 likes
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