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The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents Hardcover – August 5, 2014

3.8 out of 5 stars 959 customer reviews

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Crisis of Character: A White House Secret Service Officer Discloses His Firsthand Experience with Hillary, Bill, and How They Operate by Gary J. Byrne
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Ronald Kessler is the New York Times bestselling author of The Secrets of the FBI, In the President's Secret Service, and The CIA at War. A former Wall Street Journal and Washington Post investigative reporter, Kessler has won eighteen journalism awards, including two George Polk awards, one for national reporting and one for community service. He was named a Washingtonian of the Year by Washingtonian magazine. Kessler lives in Potomac, Maryland with his wife, Pamela Kessler.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Crown Forum; 1st edition (August 5, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0804139210
  • ISBN-13: 978-0804139212
  • Product Dimensions: 6.4 x 1.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (959 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Since others have prominently noted that this book is very similar to one of Kessler's earlier works, I will say this is my first exposure.

Content:
Although I lean conservative, I am neither a Democrat nor a Republican. I was eager to read this book because it interests me how the 'anointed' really live their lives. Opposite my expectation, I did not get the impression that this book's sole purpose was to bash one political party or the other. For example, the Obamas are generally portrayed in a favorable light, but not all good. The same is true of the Bush family. I do believe the author reported accurately what the Secret Service agents revealed to him. It seems that the book has two purposes. First, to expose the true character of our elected officials. And second, to expose how the Secret Service management makes bad decisions which ultimately puts protectee lives in danger. Not that it was wrong, or bad, but one thing that did not grab my interest were the parts that delved into the inner workings of the Secret Service.

Style:
This is mostly an easy read. However, in a couple of places in the book the author follows a couple of rabbit trails and then abruptly snaps back to the original subject. I found that to be hard to follow and a bit frustrating, which is why I took one of the stars away.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, and learned a few things. What more could you ask for? I will be recommending this book to my friends.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The author writes an interesting and thoughtful book about a part of government that many people are not very familiar with: the Secret Service. He describes the vast and impressive array of procedures employed in protecting presidents ,current and previous, vice presidents, and their families, as well as cabinet secretaries and political leaders in the line of succession to become president in case of a severe emergency. During a presidential election the leading candidates are also protected.

To accomplish their mission Secret Service agents must work in close proximity to all their protectees, becoming a part of their lives on a daily basis. This gives the agents a clear window through which to observe their personalities and character. Revelations from some of the agents indicate that what transpires in their clients' private lives may not comport with the image that they desire to show to the public.

As examples, the book describes how a number of protectees were especially "nasty" to the agents and their own staffs: Bill and Hillary Clinton, Nancy Reagan, Jimmy Carter and Al Gore.
Especially friendly and respectful to agents were Ronald Reagan, Bush 41 and 43 and their wives, Dick and Lynne Cheney and Mitt and Ann Romney. The sexual proclivities of LBJ, Bill Clinton (both inside and outside of the Oval Office) and Gary Hart are portrayed as important character issues. Some revelations are surprising, such as the preference of Joe Biden to swim naked in his home pool while being closely guarded by female agents. Many other observations of family members are also related, Including some of their drinking habits. Tension with the children of protected families seems to be prevalent in many cases.
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Format: Kindle Edition
After reading other reviews, I noticed this book has come under tremendous scrutiny for being an update to the authors first book on the secret service. Let me say, I didn't read that book and my review is strictly based on this title. I found The First Family Detail to be very informative on the dynamics of the Secret Service. I found it to also be very entertaining with respects given to the politicians that the Secret Service provides protection to -- some of which is humorous and confirms public perception. The balance of the intertwines of the Secret Service and the thought provoking coverage to our politicians and there families is 50/50. Personally, I would have rather had more of the later. I'd give this one a solid 4 stars and I will long remember some of the contents during the upcoming 2016 election because I'm sure some of the personalities covered in this book will be key figures during the election.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I could not wait to get this book into my hands and for the first half of the book my interest was held and I gained some insight I didn't previously have. As I progressed onto the second half of the book however; I began to lose interest as the author got busy repeating himself. So, in a nutshell, although there were some interesting stories and tidbits of information I found this book to be grossly overpriced and twice as long as it should have been. I will add however, that it really did upset me to find out the cost of V.P. Biden's misuse of both the helicopter and AirForce One when we can't get food in the mouths of many of the kids in this country!
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This is a good book, however it is 95% a carbon copy of Kessler's book "In the President's Secret Service." If you have read that already, you are only gaining stories about Joe Biden swimming nude in front of female agents and how he wastes millions of dollars flying back and forth from Washington to Delaware multiple times a day.
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