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For the first time, a minute-by-minute account of the attempted 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 narrative of that harrowing day. Now, drawing on exclusive new interviews, Del Quentin Wilber tells the electrifying story of a moment when the nation faced a terrifying crisis. With cinematic clarity, we see the Secret Service agent whose fast reflexes saved the president's life; the brilliant surgeons who operated on Reagan as he was losing half his blood; and the small group of White House officials frantically trying to determine whether the country was under attack. Most especially, we encounter the man code-named Rawhide, a leader of uncommon grace who inspired affection and awe in everyone who worked with him.
Ronald Reagan was the only serving U.S. president to survive being shot in an assassination attempt. In Rawhide Down, the story of that perilous day—a day of chaos, crisis, prayer, heroism, and hope—is brought to life as never before.
For more than 13 years, Bill O'Reilly has presided over The O'Reilly Factor on the FOX News Channel. He is the author of ten books, the most recent of which is Killing Lincoln: The Assassination that Changed America Forever (available September 27).
Rawhide Down is enthralling because of the tremendous detail that Del Quentin Wilber provides to the reader. We learn about President Ronald Reagan's daily habits, his grooming, his demeanor on the job, as well as how he reacted after being shot. We also see how the would-be assassin, John Hinckley, conducted himself in the days leading up to the shooting.
This is fascinating stuff and, as a history buff, I couldn't get enough of it. Most Americans have nearly forgotten that Mr. Reagan was on the verge of death after being shot by the unstable Hinckley, and the drama of how the president's life was saved is intense.
This book is a page-turner from beginning to end and I believe you will learn a lot about an event that came razor-close to changing America forever and certainly altered the presidency of Mr. Reagan. Rich in detail with reporting I have never heard before, Rawhide Down rewards the reader on just about every page. Trust me on this.
"Newly revealing… Mr. Wilber reconstructs an episode much more serious and dire than it has been made to seem. The courage of the president, the delicacy of the situation faced by his doctors and the sloppiness of security measures are all given new attention… A fast-paced book that captures many points of view."—The New York Times (one of Janet Maslin’s Recommended Books for 2011)
"The chapters that detail the assassination attempt and its immediate aftermath read like a thriller. In clear prose, we learn that Reagan was far closer to death than was previously thought."—David Baldacci, The Washington Post
"A page-turner from beginning to end… You will learn a lot about an event that came razor-close to changing America forever."—Bill O’Reilly, author of the forthcoming Killing Lincoln: The Assassination that Changed America Forever
"A harrowing story, more so than it seemed at the time, and Wilber, a reporter for the Washington Post, has tracked down virtually everyone who had anything to do with protecting the President or with saving his life at the hospital."—The New Yorker
"In this eye-opening book of solid journalism, we learn just how close Ronald Reagan, code-named 'Rawhide' by the Secret Service, came to being the president with the second shortest time in office."—Bob Hoover, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
"With a reporter's eye for detail and a screenwriter's talent for the cinematic, he invests such immediacy in Rawhide Down that the reader is thrust back 30 years in time."—Richmond Times-Dispatch
"A tense, riveting account of that day."— Dallas Morning News
"Detailed and dramatic… Mr. Wilber, a Washington Post crime reporter who writes clear, crisp prose, fleshes out his gripping narrative with a number of well-told side stories."—The Washington Times
"A riveting minute-by-minute account of the shooting and reveals that Reagan came closer to death than the public knew."—New York Post
"This intensely researched account yields an almost moment-by-moment account of the crisis."—New York Daily News
"A fast-paced read that draws well-crafted characters and gives a vivid sense of the history that brought the story’s heroes and Hinckley together that day."—The Washingtonian
"Gripping … A fascinating glimpse of a pivotal moment in history."—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
"This mesmerizing rendition of the event can be read in one sitting, as Wilber’s accuracy and craft provoke rapt interest."—Booklist
"Del Quentin Wilber has written a compelling and multi-layered examination of the near-assassination of President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981. As a biographer of Reagan who was at the Washington Hilton Hotel that fateful day, I was fascinated by Wilber’s meticulous reconstruction. He properly credits the valor and judgment of the Secret Service agents who saved Reagan’s life but also analyzes the security deficiencies that made the assassination attempt possible. Wilber reminds us of how close we were to losing Reagan little more than two months into his presidency. His detailed and readable accounts of the surgeries performed on Reagan and Press Secretary James Brady are of particular historical value."—Lou Cannon, author of President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime
"Rawhide Down is full of spectacular, original reporting."—Bob Woodward
"The 96 months of Ronald Reagan’s presidency changed the nation and the world. Del Quentin Wilber’s gripping account of the ‘near assassination’ of the 40th president shows how close the country—and the world—came to missing more than 93 of those months."—George F. Will
"Rawhide Down is a stunning work. Del Quentin Wilber, with the world-class reporting skills he honed on the police beat and a fine sense of narrative, has taken a story we thought we knew and rendered it wholly fresh, vibrant, and revealing."—David Maraniss, author of When Pride Still Mattered
Extremely well-written, well paced and a great read. The author puts you there, developing the build up several perspectives, and after the event takes you minute, hour and day... Read morePublished 1 month ago by samuel mcneill
Story told in detail. Gave unbiased view of what happened during the assassination attempt. Writing was a little spacey. Left little gaps you had to fill in.Published 1 month ago by andy bortel
Nice job on reporting how it all went down. I also enjoyed the excellent job on of describing the medical treatment of the president and the other injured.Published 2 months ago by Doc Hoort
One of the best historic books I have ever read. There are times when reading this you catch yourself hoping the secret service will catch the gun man or that maybe the bullet... Read morePublished 2 months ago by crowcounters
The book brought to light more of Reagan's charisma and his concern for those around him. The efforts of the Secret Service are neither downplayed nor excused, but simply told as... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Tamara G Southworth
Absorbed by book. A great read about an event that nearly changed history. Shows a personal side of Ronald Reagan rarely seen. Gave me even more respect for our 40th President.Published 2 months ago by John Dunlap
Fascinating book about the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. The author brings in a lot of previously undisclosed information regarding just how close the attempt to... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Carol
I certainly enjoyed this book: the topic itself was interesting and the author gave a good deal of insight into all the people and actions that occurred surrounding this event. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Pamela G.Krahl
great story and well told. It's a part of history many of us wanted to know "the rest of the story". I didn't want to finish itPublished 4 months ago by gasser