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Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan [ RAWHIDE DOWN: THE… (edition 2011)

by Del Quentin Wilber

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Title:Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan [ RAWHIDE DOWN: THE NEAR ASSASSINATION OF RONALD REAGAN BY Wilber, Del Quentin ( Author ) Mar-15-2011
Authors:Del Quentin Wilber
Info:Henry Holt & Company (2011), Hardcover
Collections:Your library
Tags:Non Fiction, American Presidential History

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Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber

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"Today, Mr. President, we are all Republicans."

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was leaving a speaking engagement at the Washington Hilton when six shots were fired at him and his staff. It took only 1.7 seconds for John Hinckley Jr. to unload all six explosive-tipped Devastator bullets. Three men - the President's press secretary, a Secret Service agent, and a Washington D.C. police officer - lay wounded as the President was sped away. Initially, no one realized the President had been hit as well, but when Special Agent Jerry Parr saw blood on Reagan's lips, he instructed the driver to head directly to George Washington University Hospital. His instincts saved the President's life.

Del Quentin Wilber has written a riveting account of the events that day. It is not an exhaustive detailing of every fact surrounding the attempted assassination of President Reagan, but is a readable narrative that is as hard to put down as an engrossing novel. He includes the experiences of dozens of agents, officers, medical personnel, and those in the Reagan Administration in a real-time manner as it unfolded. It is both moving and terrifying to view the assassination attempt from the perspective of those who were there. It is highly inspiring to see the reaction of those around him - the agent who used his body to block the bullets, Parr's automatic response in protecting Reagan, and the medical personnel who cared for him. It is also chillingly interesting to see the motives behind John Hinckley's actions that day. Most of all it was nice to read of the way Reagan handled himself, from insisting on walking into the hospital to the jokes and words he used to offer comfort to others.

I remember hearing about the shooting in my 8th grade algebra class, and the shocked feeling that followed the teacher's sober announcement. But my memories from 30 years ago were fuzzy and it was amazing to read of everything that occurred. I re-watched the videos of the shooting online and was surprised to realize you could see the gun being fired and the wounded men going down - if they showed all that back then I certainly didn't remember it. I highly recommend this worthwhile book. ( )
  J.Green | Aug 26, 2014 |
Rawhide Down is a detailed account of that fateful day in 1981 when John Hinckley gunned down President Ronald Reagan and several members of his party outside a hotel in Washington DC.

This was of course a momentous day, but it seems in recent years it’s faded quite drastically into the cultural background. ‘Oh yeah, that’s right – Reagan got shot just after he took office . . .’. Reagan’s two terms were so eventful that this early incident seems far in the past indeed, and since Reagan seemed to recover so rapidly, it’s easy to forget how very close he came to dying.

This book brings back the memories of that day, vividly, and adds a great deal of fascinating detail and insight. It’s not a macabre book at all, though – in fact, strangely enough, it’s almost a ‘feel-good’ read. Not only did the President himself show remarkable bravery and savoir-faire, the medical team that saved his life was extraordinary. The sequences in the book that highlight, almost minute by minute, this team’s actions in saving Reagan’s life are gripping and often moving.

Most of the rest of the book focuses on the goings-on in the White House, as shocked members of the administration scrambled, sometimes ineffectively, to say and do the right things in the face of the great uncertainty and confusion that accompanies a threat to the life a world leader. Wilber recounts Vice-President Bush’s flight back from Texas to Washington, and the behind-the-scenes White House meetings that culminated in Al Haig’s bizarre announcement to the press. I found these parts of the book more interesting than compelling. At this historical distance – it’s over 30 years ago, now – I was more interested in what was happening to Reagan himself than to the ephemeral machinations of his administration.

But that is no criticism of Rawhide Down. Wilber’s account deserves to read by anyone interested in American history, in the life of one of our greatest presidents, and in human drama in general. ( )
  mrtall | May 28, 2012 |
Fascinating accounting of the assassination attempt on Reagan's life. Worthwhile reading if you are interested in Reagan or presidential assassinations.

http://ktleyed.blogspot.com/2012/02/rawhide-down-by-del-quentin-wilber.html ( )
  ktleyed | Feb 12, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I can remember being at work when this happened, and stopping by any TV that was on in order to get the latest updates. A good historical account of the assassination attempt of President Reagan. This book gives a good account of what happened on that day.
  CharlesSvec | Jan 28, 2012 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Well, good heavens I thought I'd already posted my review, but I guess that's what I get for thinking. Anyway, a really enjoyed this account. Of course, I'm rather fond of Reagan anyway, so this just added to my admiration. Much of the book covered what most people already knew about the assassination attempt. The most interesting parts of the book dealt with how close to death he really came and Nancy's reaction to the shooting. People always crtiticized her for being overprotective of him, but knowing how close she came to losing him makes that completely understandable. As for the political aspects of the story, none of that was terribley new, but if you are a youngster who wasn't around way back then, this would be a great place to start. ( )
  ShanLizLuv | Nov 21, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 080509346X, Hardcover)

Product Description

For the first time, a minute-by-minute account of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan

On March 30, 1981, President Reagan walked out of a hotel in Washington, D.C., and was shot by a would-be assassin. For years, few people knew the truth about how close the president came to dying, and no one has ever written a detailed narrative of that harrowing day. Now, drawing on exclusive new interviews, Del Quentin Wilber tells the electrifying story of a moment when the nation faced a terrifying crisis. With cinematic clarity, we see the Secret Service agent whose fast reflexes saved the president's life; the brilliant surgeons who operated on Reagan as he was losing half his blood; and the small group of White House officials frantically trying to determine whether the country was under attack. Most especially, we encounter the man code-named Rawhide, a leader of uncommon grace who inspired affection and awe in everyone who worked with him.

Ronald Reagan was the only serving U.S. president to survive being shot in an assassination attempt. In Rawhide Down, the story of that perilous day—a day of chaos, crisis, prayer, heroism, and hope—is brought to life as never before.

Amazon Exclusive: Bill O'Reilly Reviews Rawhide Down

For more than 13 years, Bill O'Reilly has presided over The O'Reilly Factor on the FOX News Channel. He is the author of ten books, the most recent of which is Killing Lincoln: The Assassination that Changed America Forever (available September 27).

Rawhide Down is enthralling because of the tremendous detail that Del Quentin Wilber provides to the reader. We learn about President Ronald Reagan's daily habits, his grooming, his demeanor on the job, as well as how he reacted after being shot. We also see how the would-be assassin, John Hinckley, conducted himself in the days leading up to the shooting.

This is fascinating stuff and, as a history buff, I couldn't get enough of it. Most Americans have nearly forgotten that Mr. Reagan was on the verge of death after being shot by the unstable Hinckley, and the drama of how the president's life was saved is intense.

This book is a page-turner from beginning to end and I believe you will learn a lot about an event that came razor-close to changing America forever and certainly altered the presidency of Mr. Reagan. Rich in detail with reporting I have never heard before, Rawhide Down rewards the reader on just about every page. Trust me on this.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:39:27 -0400)

A minute-by-minute account of the 1981 assassination attempt on the fortieth president reveals how close he came to dying, in a report that pays tribute to the individuals who saved his life and oversaw national security throughout the crisis.

(summary from another edition)

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