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Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill

Mrs. Kennedy and Me

by Clint Hill

Other authors: Lisa McCubbin

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This book is more interesting for what it doesn't say than what it actually relates. On the surface it's a rather pedestrian account of the Kennedy presidency, told through the adoring eyes of Mrs. Kennedy's secret service agent But if the reader looks between the lines, a different picture is revealed of a first lady who lived in her own rarified world - an existence that wouldn't be possible under the scrutiny of today's 24/7 media coverage.

Jacqueline Kennedy apparently made no secret of her distaste for politics and Washington, DC and managed to avoid participating in political life as much as possible - spending most of her time at the family's rented estate in Virginia or the Kennedy family's compounds in Hyannis Port and Palm Beach, as well as taking foreign junkets to India, Pakistan, Italy and Greece. Any First Lady who absented herself from the White House as much s she did today would find herself the subject of both media and political scrutiny.

The book also shows just how all consuming the job of a Secret Service agent can be. Author Clint Hill was rarely home during the four years of his assignment to guard Mrs. Kennedy and although he doesn't talk about its effect on his marriage, one can only assume that it was detrimental as while he names his sons in the book's acknowledgements, he doesn't say a word about his wife.

And, of course, the most riveting part of the book is of the fateful trip in November, 1963 to Dallas, Texas where Hill gives the reader a blow-by-blow description of the terrible events of that day.

I'm not sure this book will add anything to the mountain of material that already exists on the Kennedys, but it's a quick read and an interesting peek into the domestic arrangements of their lives. ( )
  etxgardener | May 10, 2015 |
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.

For the complete review including Book Club Notes, visit the Mini Book Bytes Book Review Blog. ( )
  aya.herron | Mar 15, 2015 |
This is a first hand account of Cliff Hill's 3 years serving as the primary Secret Service agent to Mrs. Kennedy. It was a well written, very easy to read account of the daily life of Mrs. Kennedy. The "trash" (JFK's) numerous affairs were omitted. ( )
  tess_schoolmarm | Jul 20, 2014 |
I had heard Clint Hill speaking on NPR about this book and was interested in the book. It was gentle, sad and respectful. One can hear the respect and love for the family in his narration. Seems to have been restorative for Mr. Hill to have written it and puts the Kennedys in a better light too. ( )
  EllenH | Mar 16, 2014 |
I suppose you can't criticize a book for doing what it said it would do: in this case, providing a Mr Hill's-eye-view of his life as a Secret Service agent protecting Mrs Kennedy during her White House years. We were indeed allowed close-up. However, this close-up proved to be a bit of a list of names (rich ones) and places (expensive ones) as Mr Hill itemized his itineraries dogging Mrs Kennedy's footsteps. He was clearly a top-knotch Secret Service agent - dedicated to his job and, in this case, apparently somewhat infatuated with his charge. Therefore, it was particularly disappointing to read about the way in which Mrs Kennedy exploited her position vis a vis Mr Hill, asking him to go beyond his call of duty, to do her present-shopping, buy her magazines, ride to hounds, water-ski, play tennis and generally behave like the rich boys she was used to having by her side. How was he supposed to say 'no'? I was expecting action-packed days as Mr Hill was tested to his limits protecting his charge so that she could conduct her arduous duties as First Lady without fear or threat. However, as it turned out, it was more an 1960s version of Upstairs Downstairs.
  Miribooks | Feb 25, 2014 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Clint Hillprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
McCubbin, Lisasecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to the men and women of the U.S. Secret Service, both past and present, who have continued to steadfastly provide protection for the leadership of this great country as well as its financial interests. Your unwavering and selfless dedication to duty set an example for all to follow. I am proud but humble to have served among your ranks.

And to Caroline Kennedy, known as "Lyric" to the agents and "Buttons" to your father. I sincerely hope that many of the stories in this book bring back fond memories of your years in the White House. Your father adored you and John, and as well you know, your mother was extraordinary--a lady in every sense of the word.
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It was with great trepidation that I apprached 3307 N Street in Georgetown on November 11, 1960.
"You aint learning anything when you're talking."

(This quote was on the wall of the Head of the Secret Service office where Clint Hill had been summoned at the beginning of the book.)
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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"For four years, from the election of John Fitzgerald Kennedy in November 1960 until after the election of Lyndon Johnson in 1964, Clint Hill was the Secret Service agent assigned to guard the glamorous and intensely private Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. During those four years, he went from being a reluctant guardian to a fiercely loyal watchdog and, in many ways, her closest friend."… (more)

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