Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Review: 'Mrs. Kennedy and Me' by Clint Hill

✰✰✰✰ He was the agent assigned to protect her; she was the First Lady. Mrs. Kennedy could have anything she wanted, and she chose Secret Service agent Clint Hill to protect her. Initially, Hill was disappointed in his assignment as he envisioned tea parties and trips to the ballet. However, Hill soon discovered that protecting Mrs. Kennedy was a welcome challenge. She loved water skiing, tennis, and horseback riding. She traveled a lot and spent as little time as possible at the White House. As a spontaneous and adventurous woman, she loved keeping everyone on their toes.

Former Secret Service agent Clint Hill kept his silence for nearly half a century before deciding to tell his story. As Hill explains, Secret Service agents protect their charges during the best and worst of times. Mr. Hill had the privilege of protecting Mrs. Kennedy from 1960 – 1964, a time when she experienced both joy and tragedy. Together, Mr. Hill and Mrs. Kennedy formed a professional relationship based on trust. This is a book about that relationship and a close-up look at the former First Lady’s daily life. Along the way, Hill includes interesting tidbits about everything from Mrs. Kennedy’s travel itineraries to descriptions of her iconic dresses to information about Secret Service protocol. Hill, also, provides insight into the events of “that day in Dallas” when President Kennedy was assassinated.

The Bottom Line: Clint Hill’s personal account of the years he spent protecting Mrs. Kennedy as her Secret Service agent is both engaging and very readable. It is obvious that Hill was very fond of his charge and would have done anything for her. The writing style reflects Hill’s dedication and loyalty to his charge and his job. If you are looking for rumors or scandal, you won’t find it here. Hill’s book reads like a tribute to the former First Lady. Enthusiastically recommended for history buffs and fans of biographies.

Book Club Notes: Overall, the group enjoyed this quick read. Ratings ranged from 3.5 to 5 stars. Our discussion focused on Mrs. Kennedy's quest for privacy in contrast with her active lifestyle. It was interesting to learn how little time she actually spent at the White House. This is a fascinating close-up into the life of one of America's most famous women. Highly recommended for book clubs with a focus on history and biographies. Check out these reading group questions from Simon and Schuster
Details: Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill with Lisa McCubbin. Paperback published by Gallery Books in 2012. 344 p. ISBN: 978-1-4516-4846-1

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