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As in a play, presidents, vice presidents, and presidential candidates perform on stage for the public and the media. What the nation’s leaders are really like and what goes on behind the scenes remains hidden. Secret Service agents have a front row seat on their private lives and those of their wives and children.    Crammed with new, headline-making revelations, THE FIRS As in a play, presidents, vice presidents, and presidential candidates perform on stage for the public and the media. What the nation’s leaders are really like and what goes on behind the scenes remains hidden. Secret Service agents have a front row seat on their private lives and those of their wives and children.    Crammed with new, headline-making revelations, THE FIRST FAMILY DETAIL: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents by Ronald Kessler tells that eye-opening, uncensored story.   Since publication of his New York Times bestselling book In the President’s Secret Service, award-winning investigative reporter Ronald Kessler has continued to penetrate the wall of secrecy that surrounds the U.S. Secret Service, breaking the story that Secret Service agents who were to protect President Obama hired prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia and revealing that the Secret Service allowed a third uninvited guest to crash a White House state dinner.   Now Kessler presents far bigger and more consequential stories about our nation’s leaders and the agency sworn to protect them. Kessler widens his scope to include presidential candidates, former presidents after they leave the White House, and the presidents’ relationships to their first ladies and children.   From observing Vice President Joe Biden’s reckless behavior that jeopardizes the country’s safety, to escorting Bill Clinton’s mistress at Chappaqua, to overhearing First Lady Michelle Obama’s admonitions to the president, to witnessing President Nixon’s friends bring him a nude stripper, to seeing their own agency take risks that could result in an assassination, Secret Service agents know a secret world that Ronald Kessler exposes in breathtaking detail.   THE FIRST FAMILY DETAIL reveals: · Vice President Joe Biden regularly orders the Secret Service to keep his military aide with the nuclear football a mile behind his motorcade, potentially leaving the country unable to retaliate in the event of a nuclear attack. · Secret Service agents discovered that former president Bill Clinton has a blond mistress. Within minutes of Hillary Clinton’s leaving, the woman—codenamed Energizer by agents—shows up to be with Bill every day while the likely future presidential candidate is away. · The Secret Service covered up the fact that President Ronald Reagan’s White House staff overruled the Secret Service to let unscreened spectators get close to Reagan as he left the Washington Hilton, allowing him to be shot by John W. Hinckley Jr.   · Secret Service agents have been dismayed to overhear Michelle Obama push her husband to be more aggressive in attacking Republicans and to side with blacks in racial controversies.   · Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan diverted agents from protecting President Obama and his family at the White House and ordered them instead to protect his assistant at her home and illegally retrieve confidential records as a favor to her.    · Because Hillary Clinton is so nasty to agents, being assigned to her protective detail is considered a form of punishment and the worst assignment in the Secret Service.    · Secret Service agents were ordered to ignore security rules and allow the SUV carrying actor Bradley Cooper to drive unscreened into a secure restricted area when President Obama was about to deliver his speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner.    · Vice President Joe Biden spends millions of taxpayer dollars flying to and from his home in Delaware on Air Force Two. His office tried to cover up the costs of the personal trips.   · Because the Secret Service refused to provide enough magnetometers at his campaign events, Mitt Romney regularly left himself open to assassination by giving speeches to unscreened crowds.    · Vice President Joe Biden swims nude at the vice president’s residence in Washington and at his home in Delaware, offending female agents.  


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As in a play, presidents, vice presidents, and presidential candidates perform on stage for the public and the media. What the nation’s leaders are really like and what goes on behind the scenes remains hidden. Secret Service agents have a front row seat on their private lives and those of their wives and children.    Crammed with new, headline-making revelations, THE FIRS As in a play, presidents, vice presidents, and presidential candidates perform on stage for the public and the media. What the nation’s leaders are really like and what goes on behind the scenes remains hidden. Secret Service agents have a front row seat on their private lives and those of their wives and children.    Crammed with new, headline-making revelations, THE FIRST FAMILY DETAIL: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents by Ronald Kessler tells that eye-opening, uncensored story.   Since publication of his New York Times bestselling book In the President’s Secret Service, award-winning investigative reporter Ronald Kessler has continued to penetrate the wall of secrecy that surrounds the U.S. Secret Service, breaking the story that Secret Service agents who were to protect President Obama hired prostitutes in Cartagena, Colombia and revealing that the Secret Service allowed a third uninvited guest to crash a White House state dinner.   Now Kessler presents far bigger and more consequential stories about our nation’s leaders and the agency sworn to protect them. Kessler widens his scope to include presidential candidates, former presidents after they leave the White House, and the presidents’ relationships to their first ladies and children.   From observing Vice President Joe Biden’s reckless behavior that jeopardizes the country’s safety, to escorting Bill Clinton’s mistress at Chappaqua, to overhearing First Lady Michelle Obama’s admonitions to the president, to witnessing President Nixon’s friends bring him a nude stripper, to seeing their own agency take risks that could result in an assassination, Secret Service agents know a secret world that Ronald Kessler exposes in breathtaking detail.   THE FIRST FAMILY DETAIL reveals: · Vice President Joe Biden regularly orders the Secret Service to keep his military aide with the nuclear football a mile behind his motorcade, potentially leaving the country unable to retaliate in the event of a nuclear attack. · Secret Service agents discovered that former president Bill Clinton has a blond mistress. Within minutes of Hillary Clinton’s leaving, the woman—codenamed Energizer by agents—shows up to be with Bill every day while the likely future presidential candidate is away. · The Secret Service covered up the fact that President Ronald Reagan’s White House staff overruled the Secret Service to let unscreened spectators get close to Reagan as he left the Washington Hilton, allowing him to be shot by John W. Hinckley Jr.   · Secret Service agents have been dismayed to overhear Michelle Obama push her husband to be more aggressive in attacking Republicans and to side with blacks in racial controversies.   · Secret Service Director Mark Sullivan diverted agents from protecting President Obama and his family at the White House and ordered them instead to protect his assistant at her home and illegally retrieve confidential records as a favor to her.    · Because Hillary Clinton is so nasty to agents, being assigned to her protective detail is considered a form of punishment and the worst assignment in the Secret Service.    · Secret Service agents were ordered to ignore security rules and allow the SUV carrying actor Bradley Cooper to drive unscreened into a secure restricted area when President Obama was about to deliver his speech at the White House Correspondents Dinner.    · Vice President Joe Biden spends millions of taxpayer dollars flying to and from his home in Delaware on Air Force Two. His office tried to cover up the costs of the personal trips.   · Because the Secret Service refused to provide enough magnetometers at his campaign events, Mitt Romney regularly left himself open to assassination by giving speeches to unscreened crowds.    · Vice President Joe Biden swims nude at the vice president’s residence in Washington and at his home in Delaware, offending female agents.  

30 review for The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents

  1. 5 out of 5

    Sharlene

    I was hoping for more of a historical perspective and feel like I got the TMZ version of life with the President's and their over worked security. It seemed that there was also a political bias in the writing because most of the Republicans were good to work with and the Democrats were awful. It is also clear that this author is a Hillary hater, as it seemed a lot of print was used to disparage her. There was also a reference or two to "women" agents who were "not fit" and or over weight. Funny I was hoping for more of a historical perspective and feel like I got the TMZ version of life with the President's and their over worked security. It seemed that there was also a political bias in the writing because most of the Republicans were good to work with and the Democrats were awful. It is also clear that this author is a Hillary hater, as it seemed a lot of print was used to disparage her. There was also a reference or two to "women" agents who were "not fit" and or over weight. Funny how there was no mention of similer descriptions for the male agents. Very disappointed in this book and would not recommend it to anyone.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Keith

    You may need to take a shower after reading this book before you feel clean again. I wasn't prepared for the TMZ-like nature of this crummy book. I was interested in the history and operations of the Secret Service, and to my knowledge I hadn't read a Kessler work before. He only has about 5 points in the entire book, and two of them are Democrats are evil and Republicans are saints. To give you a clue where Kessler is coming from, he complains in a chapter on the Clintons (he has several) that t You may need to take a shower after reading this book before you feel clean again. I wasn't prepared for the TMZ-like nature of this crummy book. I was interested in the history and operations of the Secret Service, and to my knowledge I hadn't read a Kessler work before. He only has about 5 points in the entire book, and two of them are Democrats are evil and Republicans are saints. To give you a clue where Kessler is coming from, he complains in a chapter on the Clintons (he has several) that the biggest problem with Kenneth Starr is that he wasn't aggressive enough. I probably could have overlooked the blatant partisanship and low-brow tone - but the dishonesty with which Kessler approaches the work makes it hard to take anything he says at face value. The number of misleading "facts" were piling up before I got to Chapter One. Kessler spends a lot of time rehashing some of the worst of "journalistic" sleaze from the Clinton years, and cherry-picking his way through many other years of tawdry dirty laundry and political mud. Even for what it is - a partisan right-wing hack job of a look at First Family Secret Service details - it is lousy, thin, and rather poorly written. I'm heading for that shower.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Christine

    Well that was...interesting? It's disturbing to no end the staggering amount of corruption within our government, both within the leadership and the departments. That's certainly not ground breaking news though so I will leave a couple lasting impressions I had from the book, one I was surprised by and one not so much. First, I have FINALLY found something to like about the Obama's! I wasn't sure that was even possible but at last I have. According to this author, the Obama's are actually kind an Well that was...interesting? It's disturbing to no end the staggering amount of corruption within our government, both within the leadership and the departments. That's certainly not ground breaking news though so I will leave a couple lasting impressions I had from the book, one I was surprised by and one not so much. First, I have FINALLY found something to like about the Obama's! I wasn't sure that was even possible but at last I have. According to this author, the Obama's are actually kind and respectful to the secret service. They say that if you don't like someone it's because you just don't know them well enough. Yeah, whatever, I still don't like them but it's nice to know that they are kind to those who are willing to take a bullet for them. Second, I hope to dear heaven that our country NEVER, NEVER, NEVER allows a Clinton to live in the White House ever again. Hillary is the most evil and vile person to ever hold a government position. If even half the stories reported about her contain even a shred of truth then she is evil enough to give the devil himself a run for his money and that's saying something.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Rob Bailer

    This book comes off as whiny, self serving, and disorganized (especially the first few chapters.) The author exudes many characteristics of a disgruntled employee by discussing poor leadership in the secret service, stating that tools and training are not adequate for agents, and complaining about customers (the presidents and their families.) At the same time the book is a series of random snippets about first families acting in unbecoming ways. The author frequently jumps from one snippet to t This book comes off as whiny, self serving, and disorganized (especially the first few chapters.) The author exudes many characteristics of a disgruntled employee by discussing poor leadership in the secret service, stating that tools and training are not adequate for agents, and complaining about customers (the presidents and their families.) At the same time the book is a series of random snippets about first families acting in unbecoming ways. The author frequently jumps from one snippet to the next and often times several paragraphs in a row do not logically follow one another. What's worse is that most of the book is centered around information that in one way or another violates confidentiality agreements the agents have signed. Although there are some interesting stories in the book, I have a hard time recommending it to other people due to the unorganized and rant-style writing within.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Kathy B.T.

    I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Especially hearing about the character of the current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Quite an eye-opener. But just in general hearing about the Secret Service - how they work, the historical perspective's going all the way back to Abraham Lincoln and then back up to today's current activities. It was what I had hoped it would be. I'd like to read more by the same author. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Especially hearing about the character of the current presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Quite an eye-opener. But just in general hearing about the Secret Service - how they work, the historical perspective's going all the way back to Abraham Lincoln and then back up to today's current activities. It was what I had hoped it would be. I'd like to read more by the same author.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Bonnie Samuel

    If you accept this book for what it is, it's a mildly entertaining read. It's really nothing but a trashy tabloid in book form, filled with known falsehoods, sensational accusations and re-hashings of old debunked scandals. The author attacks Hillary Clinton with both guns blazing and goes so far as to claim that Kenneth Starr's investigation found her officially responsible for a staffer's suicide because she yelled at him in a meeting. Of course, Mr. Kessler has the inside scoop on this unveri If you accept this book for what it is, it's a mildly entertaining read. It's really nothing but a trashy tabloid in book form, filled with known falsehoods, sensational accusations and re-hashings of old debunked scandals. The author attacks Hillary Clinton with both guns blazing and goes so far as to claim that Kenneth Starr's investigation found her officially responsible for a staffer's suicide because she yelled at him in a meeting. Of course, Mr. Kessler has the inside scoop on this unverifiable tidbit, because, as he says, this "official" finding "disappeared" from the final, public version of the report. How convenient for Mr. Kessler. I was amused by the few pages devoted to the "football", the suitcase that lets the president launch nuclear war from anywhere at anytime. The author tells us that information about what's in the suitcase is so classified that everything that has been published about it so far is wrong, then goes on to tell us what's "really" inside. So either he published top-secret information or he's being less than honest in his reporting of the "facts". If you're careful not to accept anything in this book as truth and just read it for pure entertainment value, it's pretty light, easy fare that can be finished in a few hours. Don't pick this one up if you have a serious interest in the Secret Service and how they operate. It won't be worth your time.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Chris Aylott

    It's hard to know what to make of this. Kessler has strong qualifications as an investigative reporter, but the book reads as a partisan hatchet job. The public information he reports can be verified, and the information about Secret Service procedure is both interesting and well-sourced. But the salacious bits that everyone will read the book for comes almost entirely from anonymous sources with unknown agendas. There's some reason to believe that Kessler got a lot of agents to talk out of scho It's hard to know what to make of this. Kessler has strong qualifications as an investigative reporter, but the book reads as a partisan hatchet job. The public information he reports can be verified, and the information about Secret Service procedure is both interesting and well-sourced. But the salacious bits that everyone will read the book for comes almost entirely from anonymous sources with unknown agendas. There's some reason to believe that Kessler got a lot of agents to talk out of school, and that what they said is mostly accurate. It's also entirely possible that Kessler is scoring points and sales with highly selective quotes from a few biased sources. It's just impossible to tell. Kessler does not help his credibility with his hand-to-cheek, "Oh my, those awful (mostly Democratic) politicians!" The man's been reporting on Washington since 1970 -- he knows how the town works. He's clearly playing to the tell-all crowd here, not trying to write serious journalism about public policy. There's nothing wrong with a juicy tell-all book, but any revelations need to be taken with copious amounts of salt.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Bill Powers

    Kessler's book gives detailed accounting of how many of the powerful in Washington behave when they no one is looking and how they treat the "powerless". It also serves as a warning that Americans should take elections, and the character of those they elect, much more seriously rather than treat them as giant popularity contests. Kessler's book gives detailed accounting of how many of the powerful in Washington behave when they no one is looking and how they treat the "powerless". It also serves as a warning that Americans should take elections, and the character of those they elect, much more seriously rather than treat them as giant popularity contests.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Linda

    Ronald Kessler's books are always interesting. I've read several of his behind the scenes in Washington accounts. This one either dovetails or steals from another of his books In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect. What is the most profound thought I take from this book? Perhaps before we vote for someone, we should be allowed to discover how s/he treats others who, although may be considered insignificant, have eye-o Ronald Kessler's books are always interesting. I've read several of his behind the scenes in Washington accounts. This one either dovetails or steals from another of his books In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect. What is the most profound thought I take from this book? Perhaps before we vote for someone, we should be allowed to discover how s/he treats others who, although may be considered insignificant, have eye-opening observations of behind closed door antics. I ended up thinking better of some and shaking my head "how could they?" at others.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Marca

    Book is almost laughable in its lack of objectivity. Alternate titles: “Republicans Good; Democrats Bad” or “Hillary Clinton is an Evil Bitch.” The most repeated phrase is: “Hillary flew into a rage.” I actually got the feeling at times that Kessler wrote the book solely to exact some kind of revenge on Hillary. That said, the book is like catnip with lots of juicy gossipy tidbits about the peccadillos and personal quirks/flaws and outright outlandish behavior of our country’s leaders and their Book is almost laughable in its lack of objectivity. Alternate titles: “Republicans Good; Democrats Bad” or “Hillary Clinton is an Evil Bitch.” The most repeated phrase is: “Hillary flew into a rage.” I actually got the feeling at times that Kessler wrote the book solely to exact some kind of revenge on Hillary. That said, the book is like catnip with lots of juicy gossipy tidbits about the peccadillos and personal quirks/flaws and outright outlandish behavior of our country’s leaders and their families from the inside view of their Secret Service protectors. We also get the history of the Secret Service and how it operates, and how it can be undermined by the very people it protects. The Secret Service itself has been in the news lately for letting security slide, but the reader gets some perspective how this happens – it’s a slippery slope. Despite the heavy-handed depiction of the Democrats, I don’t necessarily disbelieve Kessler’s reports. There have been other stories and books over the years that generally support his assertions. I also agree with Kessler that how our leaders treat “common folk” behind closed doors is very telling; women know not to go on a second date with a guy who treats the wait-staff badly at a restaurant. I admit to being a Democrat, and it gives me pause when I read these stories. However, I’ve read the same kind of stories over the years about various elected officials from both parties, some from the GOP side equaling what Kessler writes about Hillary.

  11. 5 out of 5

    James McHugh

    This was a fun and interesting read. I noticed that a lot of the negative feedback around the book seems to simply be based on the idea that Democrats come of looking bad in this book and Republicans looking good. I’d argue that anyone surprised by the basic revelations put forth (ie: Hillary is a pain, Carter was fake, the Bush twins were annoying or Barbara was kind) really hasn’t paid attention to the last 30 years of time. While some of the inside details could come off as tabloid-esque, the This was a fun and interesting read. I noticed that a lot of the negative feedback around the book seems to simply be based on the idea that Democrats come of looking bad in this book and Republicans looking good. I’d argue that anyone surprised by the basic revelations put forth (ie: Hillary is a pain, Carter was fake, the Bush twins were annoying or Barbara was kind) really hasn’t paid attention to the last 30 years of time. While some of the inside details could come off as tabloid-esque, the simple opinion of each POTUS and First Lady as well as their children seem to be long held and common views of these individuals which have been well publicized in the media on both sides of the isle. What this book did do was give some, more specific, examples of stories from agents as to why they hold views that most Americans already know are a common opinion of these individuals. You can take them at their word or reject them outright that is simply up to the reader, but I will say it was an entertaining read. If you hold the view that George W. was and is a sadistic monster or that Hillary is a soft spoken sweet caring person who’s just like the rest of us, don’t bother picking this title up, someone is going to tell you something they saw first-hand and you are going to call them a liar based on no credible evidence of your own. If you simply want a look inside the opinions of agents and how they feel they have been treated in this dangerous field then the reading may be somewhat eye opening.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Rick

    I think Ronald Kessler has written a better book but it's still weak. I like Mr. Kessler's books because he examines those powerful but somewhat secretive government agencies. Where he falls down is that he often focuses too much on the salacious gossip at the expense of true reporting. His expose about the use of Secret Service agents protecting civilians at the expense of the President. The book could have used much more of that and much less of how Hillary Clinton is a nasty person and Bill C I think Ronald Kessler has written a better book but it's still weak. I like Mr. Kessler's books because he examines those powerful but somewhat secretive government agencies. Where he falls down is that he often focuses too much on the salacious gossip at the expense of true reporting. His expose about the use of Secret Service agents protecting civilians at the expense of the President. The book could have used much more of that and much less of how Hillary Clinton is a nasty person and Bill Clinton was having an affair. (GASP) The cronyism and politics of the management of the Secret Service is truly disturbing and that could be a earth changing book but he never goes far down that road. This is a decent book which chooses not to be great. For that reason I can't recommend it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Albert W Tu

    I knew going in this book would be pulp but it still managed to disappoint. It is really a quickly slapped together compilation of gossip, which isn't by default a bad thing, but the book lacks any narrative structure or flow. We read insider accounts to better understand the humanity of the players, and yes to see scores settled. This seems to dwell on the score settling to an unhealthy and unsatisfactory degree. Still, it is fascinating to read how differently the Presidents, VPs and their wive I knew going in this book would be pulp but it still managed to disappoint. It is really a quickly slapped together compilation of gossip, which isn't by default a bad thing, but the book lacks any narrative structure or flow. We read insider accounts to better understand the humanity of the players, and yes to see scores settled. This seems to dwell on the score settling to an unhealthy and unsatisfactory degree. Still, it is fascinating to read how differently the Presidents, VPs and their wives have treated those that are there to serve and defend them, and how differently they are scorned or beloved by their protectors. [Summary: Mr and Mrs Bush 41 and 43 tops, Mr and Mrs Obama, as well. Others...not so much.]

  14. 5 out of 5

    Karen

    This book is the National Enquirer, no I think the Star, of presidential books. Gossipy, malicious with a clear agenda. I grew suspicious after Mr. Kessler basically blames Vince Foster's suicide on Hilary Clinton because she yelled at him. I looked him up and he is editor of a right-wing news outlet NewsMax. Poor critical thinking skills (his leap from "Dick Cheney was nice to us" to his determination that he is of stellar character would earn him an F on a high school paper), poor writing and This book is the National Enquirer, no I think the Star, of presidential books. Gossipy, malicious with a clear agenda. I grew suspicious after Mr. Kessler basically blames Vince Foster's suicide on Hilary Clinton because she yelled at him. I looked him up and he is editor of a right-wing news outlet NewsMax. Poor critical thinking skills (his leap from "Dick Cheney was nice to us" to his determination that he is of stellar character would earn him an F on a high school paper), poor writing and shockingly free with details about people, places and situations that should be kept secret (hence the name Secret Service). I am sorry I wasted my time.

  15. 4 out of 5

    David Smith

    First of all I chuckled at those who gave this book one star, claiming it to be a TMZ style book and deeming the author as obvious Hillary-haters. Big deal. More than one credible source tags her as a self-serving power monger. It is also widely known that Jimmy Carter was a selfish phony in the White House as well. The writer here was actually quite complimentary of the Obama family compared to their Democrat predecessors. I enjoyed the book and thought it accurately portrayed the current state First of all I chuckled at those who gave this book one star, claiming it to be a TMZ style book and deeming the author as obvious Hillary-haters. Big deal. More than one credible source tags her as a self-serving power monger. It is also widely known that Jimmy Carter was a selfish phony in the White House as well. The writer here was actually quite complimentary of the Obama family compared to their Democrat predecessors. I enjoyed the book and thought it accurately portrayed the current state of the Secret Service based current events. I recommend it highly. P.S. If you really want Hillary to be President...plan to get what you deserve.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Ingrid457

    Too bad Kessler came to his material with a clear prejudice: I noticed all Democrats were terrible people, all Republicans the salt of the earth.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Some interesting information, but I wasn't prepared for the blatant partisan slant. The author's "sources" didn't have much good to say about very many Democrats (right down to attacking then-10-year-old Amy Carter as "spoiled rotten." Eww!) And the most intense fire seemed to be directed at Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. (I'm sure it's just a coincidence that they're the two people most likely to be in contention for the 2016 Democratic nomination?) Knowing that unnamed Secret Service agents we Some interesting information, but I wasn't prepared for the blatant partisan slant. The author's "sources" didn't have much good to say about very many Democrats (right down to attacking then-10-year-old Amy Carter as "spoiled rotten." Eww!) And the most intense fire seemed to be directed at Hillary Clinton and Joe Biden. (I'm sure it's just a coincidence that they're the two people most likely to be in contention for the 2016 Democratic nomination?) Knowing that unnamed Secret Service agents were "dismayed" by Pres. Obama's public reflections on Trayvon Martin doesn't tell me about anything but the political leanings of the agents. (And the author's political leanings too, since he saw this as a relevant detail to include...then again, knowing these political leanings is quite helpful in evaluating the rest of the book!) And a shot at Michelle's 2008 "proud of my country" remark? Really?! I guess since the Obamas apparently treat their Secret Service agents wonderfully, the author felt he had to find SOMETHING to snipe at them over. The writing was also fairly poor. Facts that I was supposed to be scandalized by were repeated 3 or 4 times, presumably for emphasis, but it left me wanting to snap, "Yes, you just said that!" Near the end of the book, the author acknowledged the criticism that Secret Service agents telling the world about the private behavior of protectees can damage the trust between agents and protectees and make the protectees more likely to try to evade protection. (Ya think?) But the author insisted the public's "right to know" all these personal details in order to evaluate the character of presidents or potential presidents should supersede that concern. Sorry, NO. One can argue about how much personal information about presidents and presidential candidates the public has a right to know, but they DON'T have the right to know it from the people whose sole job it is to protect them. The author rightly noted in the book that an assassination is a direct assault on democracy, that the mission of the Secret Service to prevent such a thing from occurring is of utmost importance, and he expressed extreme alarm at any situation or activity that might compromise that mission in any way...unless, apparently, that activity is agents spilling gossip to him that will help him sell books. And furthermore, if we DO accept this idea of it being okay for Secret Service agents to double as opposition researchers, publicizing "dirt" on the people they're supposed to be protecting, wouldn't the public also have the right to know who these agents are so that we can evaluate the credibility of the information they're giving us? Shouldn't their names, backgrounds, political affiliations, etc., be made available? The author provides none of this information about his sources, though as mentioned, one can pretty well guess about their political affiliations. Disappointing book overall.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Georgette

    Very quick read. As I said, his previous books covered much of what you wanted to know about the Secret Service detail and the first families. This one seemed to be a lot of filler. Chapters often seemed to just be filler. Still enjoyed it, just not as much as the others he has written. This felt like a lot of "extras" jammed together into a book, just because. *I received this copy of the book from my association with Blogging for Books.* Very quick read. As I said, his previous books covered much of what you wanted to know about the Secret Service detail and the first families. This one seemed to be a lot of filler. Chapters often seemed to just be filler. Still enjoyed it, just not as much as the others he has written. This felt like a lot of "extras" jammed together into a book, just because. *I received this copy of the book from my association with Blogging for Books.*

  19. 5 out of 5

    Sue

    The book I have in hand today is The First Family Detail by Ronald Kessler. The title interested me but I must admit I didn't spend much time checking out the author or the book's description. That was a very poor judgment call on my part. In my mind's eye I thought I was getting a nice behind the scenes book about quirky habits of the first families and the presidents as viewed by their Secret Service agents; maybe something on the order of Caroline Kennedy catching butterflies in a paper bag o The book I have in hand today is The First Family Detail by Ronald Kessler. The title interested me but I must admit I didn't spend much time checking out the author or the book's description. That was a very poor judgment call on my part. In my mind's eye I thought I was getting a nice behind the scenes book about quirky habits of the first families and the presidents as viewed by their Secret Service agents; maybe something on the order of Caroline Kennedy catching butterflies in a paper bag or Lucy Johnson learning to drive. When I tore open the delivery package and pulled out the book, I cringed when I saw the author name as Ronald Kessler. The author has a reputation to be factually inaccurate and often cites information received by second and third hand accounts without verification. But…I selected the book from Blogging for Books, so I will give an honest opinion. Not really fair to judge a book by its cover or the author's previous history, is it? However, a few pages into the book I was already holding my nose. One particular statement leapt out in the prologue, " [Secret Service Agents are] required to sign confidentiality agreements, they are sworn to secrecy, but they opened up for this book." Maybe I am full of horse feathers, but doesn't confidentially disclosed information sound like an oxymoron to you? The book is 263 pages long, excluding the index and secret service chronology. The chapters are short, caustic, gossipy and derogatory. When someone is praised or revered it is because his or her pious life is used to highlight the derogatory and dishonorable behavior of someone else. Lady Bird Johnson is depicted as Mother Theresa's first cousin to make LBJ look like Voldemort. Lady Bird could take care of herself! I lived in Texas for a while. I heard stories too. I am going to admit I only completely read three chapters. I just couldn't finish the book. I felt soiled and nauseous and in need of a deep cleansing shower. I will tell you about those three chapters in some detail. Just to be fair, I did thumb through the remaining chapters and looked at the pictures. It didn't look to me that things improved in quality and character. The prologue opens in the Ozzie and Harriet world of the hamlet of Chappaqua, NY. Birds are chirping and Mr. Rogers, in his ubiquitous sweater, sits on the front porch of the general store waving. The scene is quickly ruined by the description of life in that hamlet as the Clintons move into the neighborhood in 1999. If you hate the Clintons, you are going to love the prologue. If you are a Hillary supporter, you are going to view this as an opportunity to re-feed the same red meat to the haters. Chapter 1 is named "Regular Joe Biden" and is about the author's perception that Joe Biden puts this country at risk caring "more about his image than carrying out the only significant responsibility required of him as vice-president: to launch retaliatory strikes in the event of a nuclear attack." His dereliction of duty centers on his desire for a more relaxed security detail around his own neighborhood. After accusing Biden of being irresponsible, he charges that Joe and his wife are kind to the agents but his behavior is bizarre. The only example of bizarre behavior offered to justify this claim is that Biden likes to swim naked in his own pool. The horror of it was exposed in the press! US News and World Report reported on Aug 1, 2014 in big bold print, "Biden Swims Naked; Upsetting Female Secret Service Agents, Book Claims." Chapter 2 returns to Hillary Clinton opening with this statement, "If Joe Biden is inconsiderate with Secret Service agents, Hillary Clinton can make Nixon look like Mahatma Gandhi." Kessler supports this claim by pasting stories already in print from one of his other books. He reports "In the President's Secret Service" that Hillary fired a White House usher for taking a phone call from Barbara Bush and repeats that story in this book. Citing from the same page in this other book, a stormy story about Hillary, an electrician and a light bulb is repeated. Hillary is by no means a saint. If she has no redeeming qualities and is completely horrendous as charged, surely there would be other salacious material to report. Why play the same tune on the harp over and over? Kessler tosses in a few bits of nasty dialogue and insensitive comments reportedly made to agents by Hillary (not saying she didn't say them) before repeating yet another recycled story. This time the author admits to recycling from his book, The Secrets of the FBI. The unsubstantiated story suggests that Hillary's emasculating comments led to Vince Foster's suicide a week later. Her cruel taunts, not defended by me in any way, cannot be the precipitating factor in that poor man's demise. Chapter 3 opens with LBJ shagging anything in a skirt; often openly in front of the staff. The graphic descriptions of LBJ running around Air Force One or the White House offices in the buff turned my stomach. When Kessler shares the Secret Service nickname for LBJ as Bull's Balls, an affectionate name for his over-sized testicles I had rather unflattering pictures cluttering my mind. But I was finished off with the repeated stories of his pissing off a boat in front of God and everyone or dictating to his secretary while defecating. Some things are better off left to the imagination. I don't read the National Enquirer and I certainly am not going to finish this book. I have much better ways to spend my time. I received this book from Blogging for Books for this honest review.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Middlestead

    If I read books in the bathroom this would be a bathroom reading book

  21. 4 out of 5

    Nick

    This is an abysmal book. I only finished because I wanted to be able to give it a fair review, and it was quite painful to do so. The book is awful on three main fronts: structure, style and content. For structure, there are twenty-something chapters, each existing in their own little world, in no particular order. It is as if the author wrote the book, then randomly arranged the chapters together. Very peculiar. Style-wise, this book seems to be written by a 5th grader. Very little depth to anythin This is an abysmal book. I only finished because I wanted to be able to give it a fair review, and it was quite painful to do so. The book is awful on three main fronts: structure, style and content. For structure, there are twenty-something chapters, each existing in their own little world, in no particular order. It is as if the author wrote the book, then randomly arranged the chapters together. Very peculiar. Style-wise, this book seems to be written by a 5th grader. Very little depth to anything, and plenty of generalizing. I was shocked to hear the author say he has written other books and even Op-Eds in the Washington Post. For content, instead of a thorough behind the scenes look at the Secret Service, you get an endless stream of disgruntled current employees and ex-employees complaining about management. If a President ever failed to say hello to an agent, you will hear about it. Every petty grievance ever will be thoroughly dissected. Was an agent overworked? Please, tell me about your long day! Is the boss mean? Can't wait to hear. Oh, and this is a real shocker: Presidential children can be a handful. Get out!! I also have a party game suggestion: every time the author mentions the MAJOR breach of security protocol where Bradley Cooper pulls his unscreened car into a secure area, take a drink. You will get tipsy quick though. I feel that in the author's mind, that was the single biggest incident ever and he will remind you of this every few chapters. There is also an odd dynamic that unfolds: one minute the Secret Service is the most advanced protection squad ever assembled, the next they are a ticking time bomb waiting for the next JFK disaster. Which is it?? Also, the most recent string of embarrassments and total failures (prostitution scandal, White House jumper getting inside, drunk agents crashing the gates)? Those are portrayed as simply due to management being lax, inevitably causing the offending agents to also be lax. A tidy explanation. The author appears to have a premise, and spends the book arranging his facts to suit it. Agents good - management bad. Unfortunately, after hearing from about the 50th disgruntled agent, you start thinking that maybe ISIS or a lone gunman should not be the number one risk to our President. An unhappy agent sounds far riskier!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brian Palmer

    This is a book both in need of an editor and a re-examination. The parts of it dealing with long-gone presidents were amusing in a very gossipy way -- things like Lyndon Johnson stripping down to shorts (regardless of who was around) whenever he had the chance, or Nixon assigning Kennedy secret service agents very early on in hopes that he would get back valuable secrets. Many of the chapters felt more like bullet points than real prose; the author had a bunch of points and wanted to blurt them o This is a book both in need of an editor and a re-examination. The parts of it dealing with long-gone presidents were amusing in a very gossipy way -- things like Lyndon Johnson stripping down to shorts (regardless of who was around) whenever he had the chance, or Nixon assigning Kennedy secret service agents very early on in hopes that he would get back valuable secrets. Many of the chapters felt more like bullet points than real prose; the author had a bunch of points and wanted to blurt them out, without setting them up or weaving a narrative out of it. Would work in a gossip column, but no so much for an actual book. Moreover, there was a lot of repetition. The biggest problem with the book was when the author shifted from discussing long distant presidents to politicians who are currently active (and not even presidents, at that, but potential presidents). Perhaps it's the author's bias coming through, or the sources that agreed to talk with him, but any mention of the Clintons seemed over the top; this formed a large part of the book's repetition, where the same points slamming the Clintons for treating the staff "like criminals" were made over and over again. Moreover, Joe Biden was chosen to be the subject of hte first chapter and was then revisited in very short order; I, at least, failed to see why it spent so much time on him. Some of the bias may suggest, rather than partisan poisoning of the wells for candidates in upcoming campaigns, grievances that are still fresh; and I'm sure gossip about current politicians make for a more entertaining book. But I was left feeling like it wasn't very balanced; if it had only focused on politicians no longer "in the game", I feel like the book might have worked better.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Mariejkt

    "The First Family Detail" by Ronald Kessler is stories from the secret service on behind the scenes of their protecting the first families. I will warn you right from the start this book gets graphic which is why I am calling it a toss up book. I did very much enjoyed to variety of stories of different presidents, vice-presidents, and their families from Johnson all the way to the Obama's. However the sexual details of one president and I am not talking Clinton but Lyndon B. Johnson was tabloid "The First Family Detail" by Ronald Kessler is stories from the secret service on behind the scenes of their protecting the first families. I will warn you right from the start this book gets graphic which is why I am calling it a toss up book. I did very much enjoyed to variety of stories of different presidents, vice-presidents, and their families from Johnson all the way to the Obama's. However the sexual details of one president and I am not talking Clinton but Lyndon B. Johnson was tabloid level gross. Some of Clinton's information was that level but not as bad as Johnson. That portion is the part that I did not enjoy at all. I will admit at first I was wondering if this was going to be one sided on the political party side well it was slightly. But the author did equally talk bad about democrat or republican families equally. Now with presidents on the other hand he did lean more positive on the republican party side. I am neither a republican or a democrat so I would had preferred a little less noticeable one-sided attitude with some of the presidents. A good part of this book was good and interesting information on behind the scenes with the secret service but the other part was just tabloid fodder type information. So I cannot recommend or not recommend this book as for me like I said before it was a toss up part good part tabloid. I was given this book from blogging for books for my honest review and was not required to give a positive review.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mary Sisney

    Kessler's book includes some interesting gossipy details about the Secret Service and the people they protect. Although I recognize that all of us are biased, I was accepting Kessler's positive (the Obamas, Reagan, Mr. & Mrs. Bush I and II, Chelsea Clinton, Rosalyn Carter) and negative (both Clintons, but especially Hillary, Nancy Reagan and her children, Al Gore, Joe Biden, Jimmy Carter and two of his children, the Bush twins when they were younger) portraits of the Presidents, Vice Presidents, Kessler's book includes some interesting gossipy details about the Secret Service and the people they protect. Although I recognize that all of us are biased, I was accepting Kessler's positive (the Obamas, Reagan, Mr. & Mrs. Bush I and II, Chelsea Clinton, Rosalyn Carter) and negative (both Clintons, but especially Hillary, Nancy Reagan and her children, Al Gore, Joe Biden, Jimmy Carter and two of his children, the Bush twins when they were younger) portraits of the Presidents, Vice Presidents, and some of their family members until I read the portrait of the Cheney family late in the book. According to Kessler and supposedly the Secret Service agents who protected them, Mr. and Mrs. Cheney and their fame and power-hungry daughter Liz are really wonderful people, but their less visible gay daughter Mary is a major jerk. I believe that people like Carter, Biden, and Hillary Clinton can project a nicer than they really are image on television, but why would Liz and Dick Cheney pretend to be jerks on television when they are really humble, wonderful people? According to Kessler, Mitt and Ann Romney are also down-to-earth and really care about the little people. Right. And I'm Snow White.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Amanda McBreen

    I did not think this book was fair and balanced. In many places it felt more like a 2016 Presidential campaign marketing ploy of whom to vote for or against based on Secret Service hearsay.Some of it was interesting but mostly it was dry and very politically slanted. Basically all Democrats are slimey mean jerks and all Republicans, while sometime still jerks are actually misunderstood good guys. All Republican wives are terrific. Kessler very much harps about money and the what ifs and how mali I did not think this book was fair and balanced. In many places it felt more like a 2016 Presidential campaign marketing ploy of whom to vote for or against based on Secret Service hearsay.Some of it was interesting but mostly it was dry and very politically slanted. Basically all Democrats are slimey mean jerks and all Republicans, while sometime still jerks are actually misunderstood good guys. All Republican wives are terrific. Kessler very much harps about money and the what ifs and how maligned the secret service has been throughout the years. There are way too many assumptions made about how outcomes would have been different throughout history if only the Secret Service had had the money to do more.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Hal

    My take on this book changed some as I worked my way through it. My first impression was the tattle tale stories on questionable bad behavior from some of our leaders seemed prying and petty. But as I went on considering some of the nastiness and hypocrisy displayed by some of these folks made me realize how flawed and self serving some of these individuals are. Some down right creepy. Yes there probably is a political bent that surfaces tbut probably to be expected from Kessler. One prescient e My take on this book changed some as I worked my way through it. My first impression was the tattle tale stories on questionable bad behavior from some of our leaders seemed prying and petty. But as I went on considering some of the nastiness and hypocrisy displayed by some of these folks made me realize how flawed and self serving some of these individuals are. Some down right creepy. Yes there probably is a political bent that surfaces tbut probably to be expected from Kessler. One prescient exposure was on Julia Pierson the director that eventually was dismissed for her poor conduct in the role.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Iva

    The book is a cross between a gossip sheet and an authentic expose on the people protected by the Secret Service. One learns the many code names (Clinton's mistress was called the "Energizer"), as well as what lengths the service goes to for protection. Laura Bush gets high marks from all, Nixon and Hillary and Bill get scathing reviews. Presidents' children are covered and the Bush girls were a challenge. All in all, the book provides useful information and a chance to know that these men and w The book is a cross between a gossip sheet and an authentic expose on the people protected by the Secret Service. One learns the many code names (Clinton's mistress was called the "Energizer"), as well as what lengths the service goes to for protection. Laura Bush gets high marks from all, Nixon and Hillary and Bill get scathing reviews. Presidents' children are covered and the Bush girls were a challenge. All in all, the book provides useful information and a chance to know that these men and women really do work hard to protect the leaders of our country. The audiobook was a good way to absorb this content.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jana

    This book reveals many shocking facts about the Presidents and their families, however it includes most of the same stories written about in Mr. Kessler's previous book, "In The President's Secret Service" published in 2010. There were very few new revelations in this one- which was disappointing. Those who did not read his first book on this subject will find it informative and a bit shocking. It is eye opening to read about the lack of character and morals of some of our former Presidents. The This book reveals many shocking facts about the Presidents and their families, however it includes most of the same stories written about in Mr. Kessler's previous book, "In The President's Secret Service" published in 2010. There were very few new revelations in this one- which was disappointing. Those who did not read his first book on this subject will find it informative and a bit shocking. It is eye opening to read about the lack of character and morals of some of our former Presidents. There are revelations in this book that should be considered before voting in the Presidental election in 2016.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    I started watching Scandal and am currently obsessed with White House staff and presidents' lives behind closed doors. The author is a journalist and many of the sources are anonymous so it reminded me more of a TMZ account of (select) presidents than 100% facts, which I was OK with. I am now convinced Hillary Clinton (number one on the most-hated list by Secret Service) is as sneaky and fake as Mellie Grant, but I need to do some more research on that... I started watching Scandal and am currently obsessed with White House staff and presidents' lives behind closed doors. The author is a journalist and many of the sources are anonymous so it reminded me more of a TMZ account of (select) presidents than 100% facts, which I was OK with. I am now convinced Hillary Clinton (number one on the most-hated list by Secret Service) is as sneaky and fake as Mellie Grant, but I need to do some more research on that...

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    I had to delete this book within the first hour of listening. It begins with a smearing of the Clinton's but after forwarding through the first three segments I could find nothing about the bush's. Maybe I missed it, but if so that was because whatever he wrote on them was little. I wasn't about to listen any further. I had to delete this book within the first hour of listening. It begins with a smearing of the Clinton's but after forwarding through the first three segments I could find nothing about the bush's. Maybe I missed it, but if so that was because whatever he wrote on them was little. I wasn't about to listen any further.

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