- Paperback: 288 pages
- Publisher: Crown Forum; Reprint edition (July 28, 2015)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 080413961X
- ISBN-13: 978-0804139618
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 1,158 customer reviews
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- #554 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > International & World Politics > Security
- #590 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > Specific Topics > Intelligence & Espionage
- #686 in Books > Politics & Social Sciences > Politics & Government > United States > Executive Branch
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The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents Paperback – July 28, 2015
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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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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.
Another focus of the book is an analysis of the management of the Secret Service. The author describes and details the incompetence and corruption of senior management that has resulted in poorly trained agents with very low morale, lack of leading-edge technology and weaponry to discover and eliminate threats, and in some cases a demonstrable lack of concern about national security. Prior lapses in standard procedures have resulted in the assassination attempts on presidents Reagan and Ford, and have put more current presidents in grave danger. After a number of recent scandals involving penetration of the White House grounds by dangerous perpetrators, the author ridicules president Obama's decision not to bring in a new director from the outside to replace the one who was fired, as he believes that as a result there will not be any change in the dysfunctional culture at the top.
LBJ and Spiro Agnew were both womanizers. LBJ was often crude and rude to the agents and even his family members.
Hillary Clinton is despised by the Secret Service Agents who protect her. She cusses like a sailor on leave and is rude to the agents. She and Bill Clinton have a business arrangement. She loves power and is very ambitious. Her daughter Chelsea is polite and respectful of Secret Service personnel.
Bill Clinton is a chronic womanizer, is always late and is a narcissistic and ego driven man.
Kessler reports that the agents love Laura Bush and think highly of the entire Bush family. This is true even though Jenna and Barbara were wild during the time their father occupied the Oval Office.
Richard Nixon was a formal and distracted man who only thought of politics and sports when in conversation with agents. Pat Nixon was a heavy drinker.
Jimmy Carter was self-centered and not friendly to agents. His wife Rosalynn was much better liked than her husband.
Ronald Reagan enjoyed joking and telling stories with agents but his wife Nancy was cold and aloof.
Gerald Ford was OK but was a tightwad who enjoyed running with the rich and famous.
The family of Barack Obama are friendly and the agents like serving him as well as his friendly wife Michelle and their two adorable and polite daughters.
Vice President Joe Biden has spent over one million dollars of taxpayer money for frequent air trips from D.C. to his mansion in Wilmington Del. Biden refuses to have the nuclear football near him when on the road.
The book is an interesting read and explains the life of a Secret Service Agent. Enjoy!