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Taking Aim at the President: The Remarkable Story of the Woman Who Shot at Gerald Ford Hardcover – December 23, 2008


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan Trade (December 23, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230610234
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230610231
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,113,512 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

On September 22, 1975, Sara Jane Moore attempted to kill President Gerald Ford. Investigative journalist Spieler traces the unlikely assassin's convoluted path as the suburban housewife who abandoned her children meandered through relationships, marriages and careers ranging from bookkeeping to political activist turned FBI informant. Moore assumed varied personas, a skill she first displayed as an actress in high school. Despite three decades of contact with Moore, Spieler admits she still cannot explain what led Moore to attempt to kill Ford. But Spieler offers a portrait of an erratic, unstable woman with a protean capacity to shift identities, with the 1960s and '70s as a dramatic backdrop. Fans of true crime accounts or contemporary history will savor this portrait of the first woman to make an assassination attempt on an American president. (Jan. 12)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Review

Winner of the 2009 San Francisco Book Festival Award (Wild Card category)

"Spieler offers a portrait of an erratic, unstable woman with a protean capacity to shift identities, with the 1960s and '70s as a dramatic backdrop. Fans of true crime accounts or contemporary history will savor this portrait of the first woman to make an assassination attempt on an American president." - Publishers Weekly

"It is the obligation of the thoughtful journalist to tell us something meaningful that we don’t already know. In Taking Aim at the President, Geri Spieler is more than up to the task.The byzantine tale ofSara Jane Moore's double, triple and quadruple lives, with so many bizarre groups - including the federal government - exploiting her vulnerabilities, is the stuff of Hollywood fiction. The fact that it’s all true, and told with precision by Spieler, raises Sara Jane’s story to something significantly more than a footnote to history." - Alan Weisman, author of Prince of Darkness: Richard Perle, The Kingdom, the Power & the End of Empire in America and Lone Star: The Extraordinary Life and Times of Dan Rather "A well-written, fascinating story about an inexplicable moment in American History." - Carl Stern, Professor of Media and Public Affairs, George Washington University, and former NBC News correspondent

"Geri Spieler has done a marvelous job of unraveling the details surrounding one of the most bizarre events in American history, Sara Jane Moore’s attack on Gerald Ford." - James Dalessandro, author of 1906 and Citizen Jane

"Talk about truth being stranger than fiction! Captivating." - The San Francisco Chronicle


More About the Author

Investigative journalist and award-winning speaker Geri Spieler established a professional relationship with Sara Jane Moore that lasted for thirty years. This unique access to her enigmatic subject, combined with her diligent independent research, reveals information never before known in Taking Aim at the President: The Remarkable Story of the Woman who Shot Gerald Ford. Published by Palgrave-Macmillan, in bookstores January 2009.

Geri has written articles for the Los Angeles Times, was a featured correspondent for the San Francisco Chronicle, and was published in Westways magazine and Forbes. She founded and edited Electronic Commerce News, a technology journal published by Phillips Business Information, which led to a six-year assignment as a Research Director and Analyst for the Gartner Group, an international technology advising company.

Geri grew up in Southern California and now resides in the San Francisco Bay Area.

' Past president of the San Francisco/Peninsula Branch of the California Writers Club
' Chair of the 2005 Jack London Writers Conference
' Founder and Chair of the SF/Peninsula Writers Club Open Mic
' Winner-Second Place Non-fiction, 2006 San Francisco Writers Conference

Customer Reviews

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 16 customer reviews
I read the book over the weekend.
Gretchen Heffler
For the way this book brought my attention to topics that I would have otherwise missed, it gets my definite recommendation and 5 stars.
Ganymed Stanek
There are actually two stories revealed in this book; both fascinating.
H. Mcgill

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Mark G. Maloy on August 9, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Geri Spieler has taken her unique relationship with Sara Jane Moore and cashed-in with the only book out now about this complex and troubled woman. Spieler, with her "inside" access creates the illusion we are getting the full story about the bizarre life of Sara Jane Moore. What's bizarre here is the way she manipulates what we are allowed to know.

After having to research deeper into this book I found some very strange errors and omissions.

A completely inaccurate story about an amnesia episode then WAC PFC Sara Jane Kahn had in Washington, DC in May 1950. According to Spieler, Sara was touring the White House alone and without identification on a lovely cherry blossom time afternoon. A richly detailed account follows of her then collapsing on the White House lawn complete with Secret Service Agents rushing to her and taking her to Walter Reed Hospital for treatment. Nurses finding hidden photos of Sara in her dress then used in papers all over trying to identify the mystery woman with amnensia. Her mother in West Virginia and her estranged husband in Pennsylvania supposedly seeing the photos and rushing to her bedside to ID her. "Suspicious" FBI wondering about her. Suspicious indeed! Especially since you couldn't go near the White House in May 1950, as it was completely shelled to the bare walls inside having a massive modernization renovation.

Funny thing is when you read the actual SINGLE newspaper account that Spieler loosely cited on this yarn, the story doesn't match except it was Sara and she did have some sort of weird loss of memory episode. It's a lot more involved in items left untold in this fable, but there's only so much space available here to report the many holes in this story.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By S. J. Snyder on May 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Maybe there is no "core" to Sara Jane Moore, but, psychologically speaking, Geri Spieler gets about as close as you can. Moore clearly has some sort of mental health issues -- histrionic, narcissistic, and a neurotic version of borderline personality disorder, perhaps. But why? Her family of origin seems all relatively normal, not just her parents but her siblings.

But, you can see instability, as well as a narcissistic self-focus, histrionically played out, through multiple husbands, multiple life changes, abandonment of children, unrealistic self-views and more.

Eventually, Moore winds up working in radical movements in San Francisco and as an FBI informant at the same time, then, crazier yet (pun intended) telling both sides she was actually working for the other side.

That eventually led up to the fateful 1975 day, in which (which I did not know before) due to a gun with a bad sight, Moore missed Ford by only six inches.

Spieler wonders if the final group with which she associated, Tribal Thumb, didn't put her up to the shooting, if only indirectly. But, because Moore pled guilty without going to trial, nobody could be subpoenaed. And, given the screw-ups of lack of communication between Secret Service, FBI and San Francisco PD, Spieler speculates they were all likely glad there was no trial either.

That said, we may never know too much about Sara Jane Moore. She eventually became uncooperative with Spieler, and nobody else will likely even get that close. So, this is your best shot.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ganymed Stanek on November 4, 2009
Format: Hardcover
When Sara Moore took aim at President Ford, I was yet to be born 5 years later in Europe. Even after living in the San Francisco Bay Area for a few years, I knew very little about the assassination attempt, until I came across this book that shed light onto the events from the many perspectives of the police, FBI, media, Sara Moore, her acquaintances and even the author. Equally fascinating to me was the unexpected content of the book. Geri Spieler introduces the reader to the many radical left movements in the Bay Area of the 70s that played a big part in Sara Moore's life. I don't know where else I would have been able to experience this historical time in such an authentic way. The second unexpected gain reading this book provided was the chance to see inside the heavily convoluted mind of Sara Moore, who when interacted with for only short periods of time, must have appeared completely normal. It made me aware of the many other 'Sara Moore's' that must be out there, that we interact with daily, and just maybe will, maybe will not cause harm one day. For the way this book brought my attention to topics that I would have otherwise missed, it gets my definite recommendation and 5 stars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Gretchen Heffler on April 16, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I read the book over the weekend. Wow, what a fast, interesting, read. As they say, I could not put it down. It was written in such a great article type narrative that it just flowed. The citations really made the book, otherwise it would have seemed like a figment of the author's imagination. I would recommend this book to all history buffs whose short attention span has made reading any book written in dry prose a deal breaker. I can't believe this has not been made into a movie, truth is stranger than fiction!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Eve Y. Visconti on February 23, 2012
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Geri Spieler has written a fascinating account of an often overlooked incident, and in so doing shakes up our idea of what a potential assassin looks like. The book is not only the story of a bizarre woman, but is also spot-on in its depiction of the political climate of the day. A must-read for anyone interested in left-wing politics and/or the motivation of a would-be assassin. A well-written, well-researched, compelling true story that at times reads like a mystery novel, and at times like the investigative journalism that it is.
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