May 13, 2012

Protecting the President by Dennis McCarthy

So I never knew that the Secret Service was actually organized to protect against counterfeiting, and that it wasn't until much later that they started to protect the President and other notable people in politics. This book taught me that, and a little more.

Dennis McCarthy was a member of the Secret Service for over twenty years. He joined at the age of thirty and mainly worked with presidents Nixon and Reagan and did a few other assignments as well, including a bit in the counterfeiting realm of things. He actually was there the day Reagan was shot, and this is a big part of the book. He explains what happens that day, and how the Secret Service worked to protect Reagan in the aftermath. He also spends a little time explaining how Nixon was protected and some of the excursions they made with him. In between these stories are short stories of protecting other political figures, some history of the secret service, and some time spent protecting the family of the Presidents.

McCarthy definitely has an interesting tale to be told. I like the way he explained how he did certain things and it wasn't prideful, but he didn't make himself appear in the shadows as well. He took his due where it was earned. The thing I don't like about him though, was how he mentioned his numerous infidelities and tried to blame it on the job and the travel and the stress of protecting the President. I'm sorry, but that's just you being a lousy person, not a side effect of having a stressful job. If you can't tell already, I'm not too fond of cheaters. Moving on to the other people mentioned in the book, it was neat to see an inside look at the Presidents and how they acted around the White House "staff". It was pretty interesting to see who was easy to work with and who wasn't.

I thought the history of the Secret Service included in the book was very informative and definitely a good addition. It was nice to get some background on the job itself in addition to hearing about McCarthy's time spent protecting the Presidents. And it was placed into the book so nicely that it was a seamless transition from history, to actual experiences of McCarthy. This book does deal with a little violence because of the shooting and assassination attempts, etc., but it isn't overly descriptive and definitely isn't glorified. And the book was intriguing enough to keep me interested the whole way through. I wanted to hear the next story and have to say that I largely enjoyed most of them. There were a few, like when he talks about the overseas that weren't as interesting because there wasn't as much detail and I couldn't get immersed into them as well.

Definitely an interesting book if you're at all interested in the Secret Service. You learn a lot and get some behind the scenes looks at what it's like to protect the President.

Protecting the President
Copyright 1985
213 pages

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