The Confession of Secret Service Agent Clint Hill

Secret Service Agent Clint Hill & Friends- I am always on their minds

Vince Palamara Secret Service Expert & Author





Secret Service JFK

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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Why Gerald Blaine's book "The Kennedy Detail" backfired...big time

The public- not just myself- has spoken (just a sample):

"This is without doubt one of the worst accounts of the assassination I've ever encountered (and I've read quite a few). Gerald Blaine, who was on the Kennedy Secret Service detail, spends the first section of the book lauding himself for his courage to write the story. He spends the next section of the book lauding how brave and wonderful all of the secret service agents were. Throughout these sections he adds superfluous dialogue (recreated after 45 years) that are supposed to add a human touch to the book but instead seem silly and pointless. For example, there are myriad places where the author adds dialogue about agents saying "hi" to each other or talking about the weather" (using "he said" repeatedly). The author is also overly prone to cliches and hyperbole. Repeatedly he talks about the agents "knowing" President Kennedy "like a brother" or of agents "knowing" the Kennedy children as well as they knew their own children. The author equates the secret service agents' loss to that of Mrs. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy, and President Kennedy's closest friends and aids. Such hyperbole only detracts from the magnitude of the tragedy.

What might be most disturbing about the book--an issue that also differentiates it from Clint Hill's account--is that the author never wants to take any responsibility for Kennedy's death. The agents failed in their sole mission: to protect the President. Only Clint Hill showed any remorse and guilt, and he was there to protect Mrs. Kennedy.

This book is a waste of time. There are many other accounts--namely that of Clint Hill--that are far better, more balanced, and far less cheesy.

The unabridged audio book is even worse. The narrator has a cheesy movie-trailer voice actor sound that just doesn't fit the context. He reads a sentence and then there's a huge, audible sucking in of air. He also never seems to realize how to pronounce Caroline Kennedy's name correctly!"


" In some ways, this book was a bunch of excuses from Secret Service Agents of not doing their jobs. Overworked, too hard, no family, lack in pay, and too much, but the assassination happened on their watch.

I am hard on this book because we probably lost one of our great leaders, due to resources and the lack of detail.

It's a shame that JFK wasn't able to complete his term. "

"Awful in every respect"
"Blaine's book is a piece of crap and so is he. He made things up in his book. READ VINCE PALAMARA'S BOOK- BLAINE HAS ZERO CREDIBILITY NOW. Because of Blaine, we lost JFK and gained the Vietnam War. Blaine almost killed LBJ, too---real nice guy... "
"The book aimed at explaining why the Kennedy Detail failed to protect President Kennedy and that is: that the President didn't want them appearing too protective of him, thereby alienating him from the people. The President wanted himself as close as he could be to his people.

I'm not convinced. The Kennedy Detail should, at least, have devised a plan that would serve both ways. "

"A non-fiction account with fabricated conversations! " [THIS ONE'S FOR YOU, LISA!]
"Reads a bit like a petition for sainthood of secret service agents, second only to JFK and Jackie. Doesn't answer any of the perennial questions. Doesn't mention any of JFK's liaisons except to deny his affair with Marilyn in the epilogue. Yes, the SS agents were terribly traumatized by their sense of failure to prevent the assassination, and one has to feel for them. But this book descends into unnecessary and repetitive bathos. "
"Blain's bizarre decision to include himself in the narrative in the third person is distracting to say the least. It makes the parts where he defends the secret service sound oddly defensive. And much of the reconstructed dialog doesn't sound genuine, and especially when the narrator magically know the intimate thoughts of one of the characters. Why an editor allowed this.. . dunno"
"I do not know why these individuals have waited 48 years to talk about what happened that day. However, in a positive light it offers unique insight into what it was like to work with President Kennedy and Mrs. Kennedy on the Secret Service Detail. It is an oral testimony of history through the eyes of men that were that day and witnessed the assassination first hand. Interestingly, the book was written by one agent that was not in Dallas that day.
One of the problems I have with the book is that I get the sense that the authors are suggesting that President Kennedy invited himself to be assassinated. Much is made of an order that JFK gave during a motorcade in Tampa one week before the assassination in Dallas. It so happens that the advance agent that planned all the security detail for the Tampa visit was the author Gerry Blaine.Secondly, I do not agree with teh treatment that former Special Agent Abraham Bolden is given in this book. The public should read Mr. Bolden´s story and hear what he has to say before rushing to judgement based on what is written in this book. I should note that Mr. Bolden was the first African-American Secret Service Agent ever chosen to protect the President, and he was chosen personally by President Kennedy.
Next, my biggest disagreement is that the authors discourage consipracy theories. I truly believe, as most of America does, that one man did not act alone on that day. To believe in the Warren Commission findings is a conspiracy of cover up over the eyes and minds of the American people. Although technology and research techniques have advanced, it does not mean that we cannot search for clues in helping understand what happened that day. It is quite the opposite, we are able to understand more.
Finally, just because a person is born after the assassination, does not mean they cannot have an opinion or not have the right to research it and try to help the community pursue the truth. I full heartedly disagree with the authors in their assumption that we young people have no constructive or well thought out opinion on this."

"There are some nice qualities about this book, like the insight from those that were responsible for protecting the president that awful day, but unfortunately it's what the book fails to include that leaves you wanting. You will enjoy being able see these Secret Service agents as human beings, but then your intelligence will be insulted when it's insinuated that Oswald acted alone. This book seems to be like some of the agents have a guilty conscious (and many of them should save Clint Hill). The fact that they lay the blame for that day at JFK is disturbing. What's worse is they play off the Oswald thing which by now anyone with a brain knows is not the whole story. If these men REALLY wanted to honor Kennedy's legacy they WOULD NOT continue to spew the Warren Commission garbage that's been proved wrong OVER AND OVER. In many ways this book desecrates the memory of JFK. It seems they forget to mention that MANY of the Secret Service agents WERE OUT PARTYING LATE the night before his murder. Clint Hill is the only agent I come out of this book with respect for. And where is the mention of the HORRIFIC driver practically stopping the car, instead of gunning it the second he hears shots? This book seems like it has an agenda, and that agenda DOES NOT involve seeking the truth about JFK's assassination OR honoring his memory. Save your money!"

"this book is a vehicle for former Secret Service agents to defend themselves against dereliction of duty allegations in losing Kennedy. They turn the tables and blame the dead president himself for his own death, claiming that, in an insulting way, he ordered agents off of the back of his vehicle. The assumption seems to be, that had he not done that, he would have been saved on November 22, 1963. This allegation holds no water and is an abomination. Beyond that, the book is highly critical of Jacqueline Kennedy for determining to walk eight blocks in the Kennedy funeral to the Church. She only insisted that she walk, others were afraid not to walk if she did. They could have ridden in a car. I think Mrs. Kennedy showed the nation that even after an assassination attempt, leaders of men should not hide."
"'a guide on how to cover your a** after a tragedy'
I am mixed on my review for this one... On one hand its an interesting read with some great inside info on the behind the scenes goings of the secret service; on the other hand I detested the third person narrative it was written in. It really could have been written without all of the whining about lack of sleep, etc.... I also didn't like how the book seemingly blamed Kennedy for his own murder or the ignorant stance that The Warren Report was correct.... Please! These men were enlisted to protect the president and failed. That is a terrible tragedy in its self but don't take the stance that Kennedy had a death wish when the agents rolled over and didn't stand up and realistically relay the risks."

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