counter create hit Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan - Download Free eBook
Ads Banner
Hot Best Seller

Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan

Availability: Ready to download

A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book for 2011 A Richmond Times Dispatch Top Book for 2011 A minute-by-minute account of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was just seventy days into his first term of office when John Hinckley Jr. opened fire outside the Washington Hilton A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book for 2011 A Richmond Times Dispatch Top Book for 2011 A minute-by-minute account of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was just seventy days into his first term of office when John Hinckley Jr. opened fire outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, wounding the president, press secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent, and a D.C. police officer. 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 and never-before-seen documents, photos, and videos, Del Quentin Wilber tells the electrifying story of a moment when the nation faced a terrifying crisis that it had experienced less than twenty years before, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. With cinematic clarity, we see Secret Service agent Jerry Parr, 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.* Rawhide Down is the first true record of the day and events that literally shaped Reagan's presidency and sealed his image in the modern American political firmament. *There have been many assassination attempts on U.S. presidents, four of which were successful: Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy. President Theodore Roosevelt was injured in an assassination attempt after leaving office.


Compare
Ads Banner

A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book for 2011 A Richmond Times Dispatch Top Book for 2011 A minute-by-minute account of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was just seventy days into his first term of office when John Hinckley Jr. opened fire outside the Washington Hilton A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book for 2011 A Richmond Times Dispatch Top Book for 2011 A minute-by-minute account of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan, to coincide with the thirtieth anniversary On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was just seventy days into his first term of office when John Hinckley Jr. opened fire outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, wounding the president, press secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent, and a D.C. police officer. 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 and never-before-seen documents, photos, and videos, Del Quentin Wilber tells the electrifying story of a moment when the nation faced a terrifying crisis that it had experienced less than twenty years before, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. With cinematic clarity, we see Secret Service agent Jerry Parr, 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.* Rawhide Down is the first true record of the day and events that literally shaped Reagan's presidency and sealed his image in the modern American political firmament. *There have been many assassination attempts on U.S. presidents, four of which were successful: Abraham Lincoln, James A. Garfield, William McKinley, and John F. Kennedy. President Theodore Roosevelt was injured in an assassination attempt after leaving office.

30 review for Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan

  1. 4 out of 5

    John

    "Freedom is Too Good for Hinckley. Thirty years after he shot my father Ronald Reagan, he spends one-third of the year as a (mostly) free man." So begins a Viewpoint in Time Magazine's April 4, 2011 issue by Patti Davis. Davis continues, "One of his victims, the main target -- my father -- died more than six years ago. Three others remain. Former White House press secretary James Brady is 70. The most gravely wounded and the first one shot, he sustained a massive brain injury that left him "Freedom is Too Good for Hinckley. Thirty years after he shot my father Ronald Reagan, he spends one-third of the year as a (mostly) free man." So begins a Viewpoint in Time Magazine's April 4, 2011 issue by Patti Davis. Davis continues, "One of his victims, the main target -- my father -- died more than six years ago. Three others remain. Former White House press secretary James Brady is 70. The most gravely wounded and the first one shot, he sustained a massive brain injury that left him paralyzed on one side and forever impaired. Timothy McCarthy, now 62, was a Secret Service agent trained to take a bullet for the person he was protecting. That's what he did. He dived across my father and was shot in the abdomen. Thomas Delahanty is 76. On March 30, 1981, he was a District of Columbia police officer. After being struck in the back by one of Hinckley's bullets, he was left with permanent nerve damage and was forced to retire...Jim Brady is now almost completely blind. He has spinal stenosis...For the last year, he's been screaming in his sleep." His wife Sarah does not know why, he lives his life in a wheelchair and a bed. Hinckley had a narcissistic need to impress women and he commited this crime to impress the actress, Jodie Foster and the government continues to argue today that he still has this "narcissistic need." Davis goes on to state -- I will use some of her words and paraphrase others -- that Hinkley spends his days strolling around the grounds at St. Elizabeths Hospital feeding stray cats or going on supervised visits to the beach and bowling alleys. He plays his guitar and sits in the sun reading and has had a job at the hospital library and has had numerous girlfriends. Since 2000 he has been allowed unsupervised visits off hospital grounds. He is now allowed to visit his mother in Williamsburg for 10 day stays 12 times a year. He's been given permission to obtain a driver's license and get a job. He does volunteer work and he has expressed his wish to someday settle down in Williamsburg. I was almost finished with this gripping and excellent book when I chanced upon the article by Patti Davis. It was very distressing to read of the soft glove treatment of Hinckley who Davis reveals had wealthy parents and a "tenacious lawyer." Hinckley had previously decided to assassinate President Carter and so followed him to Dayton in October 1980 and came within an arms length of the President in a crowd of ardent supporters. This was a dry run though and a test to see how close he could actually get to the President; he carried no weapon on this occasion. He then followed Carter to Nashville and at the last minute changed his mind and did not approach Carter again. In November, however, he refocused his attention to the President elect, Ronald Reagan, and on March 30, 1981, just two months into Reagan's Presidency, struck and struck with devastating results. As Hinckley opened fire -- 6 shots -- Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr grabbed the President and shoved him into the Presidential limousine just as a bullet following a path between the door and the frame of the car hit. The limo sped off toward the White House as there were no immediate signs that the President had been shot but Reagan claimed that Parr might have broken one of his ribs. When Reagan said he could not breathe Parr saved Reagan's life again by unilaterally diverting the limousine to George Washington University Hospital where in about an hour an operation was performed that saved his life for the third time that day. Just for information. While reading this book I remembered that I had seen the 1972 Lincoln Reagan rode in that day plus the 1961 Lincoln Kennedy rode in in Dallas and the Victorian rocking chair Lincoln sat in at Ford's Theater. All are permantly housed in the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, Michigan in addition to 1939 and 1950 Lincoln Presidential Vehicles.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Yibbie

    This is a very detailed chronicle. Wilber carefully introduces us to those most involved or affected by that day. Each move of every politician, police officer, Secret Service agent, relative, are recounted as are the preparations of the assassin. That's as far as I read before choosing to stop. The language became to foul for my personal standards.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Dan Curnutt

    There are days that you will never forget, such as 9/11. The day that President Reagan was shot is one of those. The picture on the cover of the book speaks a 1,000 words. If it were not for the quick action of Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr our nations history and that of the world would be different. If President Reagan had died we might still have the Berlin Wall. This book is a historical document that reads like a best selling novel of the highest caliber. Wilber has done his research well There are days that you will never forget, such as 9/11. The day that President Reagan was shot is one of those. The picture on the cover of the book speaks a 1,000 words. If it were not for the quick action of Secret Service Agent Jerry Parr our nations history and that of the world would be different. If President Reagan had died we might still have the Berlin Wall. This book is a historical document that reads like a best selling novel of the highest caliber. Wilber has done his research well and gives a blow by blow account of that fateful day. There are so many heroes that it is hard to focus on just one. The book deals mainly with the medical trauma team that saves the Presidents life. Little details come to light that shed even more evidence on the calm and thoughtful actions of the medical team. One point that seems minor yet speaks columned is that Dr. Aaron calmly decided to treat Reagan like any other patient and thus he had his usual team of surgeons scrub in, that included Dr. Adelberg, an intern. What's important is that a much more experienced doctor offered to scrub in, but Dr. Aaron turns him down because they have never worked an OR together. Dr. Aaron wants the team he knows and trusts. So, an intern is later holding the beating heart of the most powerful man in the world. Great drama, and true. The medical side of this thriller will keep you reading. Once I started I couldn't stop. History was made and this account of several hours is fantastic. Not everyone did well on that day and Wilber doesn't pull any punches. Alexander Haig is treated fairly in this book which means that we see his egotistical flaws completely. Assistant press secretaries also fared poorly without the leadership of their boss, Jim Brady, who was fighting for his own life after being shot in the head. So Wilber gives us the good, the bad and the ugly. One person who doesn't get enough attention, because that wasn't the purpose of this book is Secret Service Agent Timothy McCarthy. I remember the video on television showing his reactions. He immediately upon hearingnthe gunshots turned toward the shooter and in front of the President and puffed himself up to be the biggest possible target. Fornhis efforts he was shot in the chest. His actions as much as anyone's saved the life of the president and displayed the training and dedication of Secrect Service Agents to the full. I can't recommend this book highly enough. I think it should be a must read for high school students. Enjoy!

  4. 5 out of 5

    happy

    This is a very engaging behind the scenes look at the day President Reagan was shot. It does not delve into Reagans policies, but gives almost a minute by minute account of that day. In addition to the shooting itself, the author looks at the main personalities that were involved. John Hinkley and how he came to be there, the doctors and nurses at George Washington Hospital, the Secret Service Agents and of course President Reagan. Mr. Wilber brings the chaos that was the emergency room/trauma This is a very engaging behind the scenes look at the day President Reagan was shot. It does not delve into Reagan’s policies, but gives almost a minute by minute account of that day. In addition to the shooting itself, the author looks at the main personalities that were involved. John Hinkley and how he came to be there, the doctors and nurses at George Washington Hospital, the Secret Service Agents and of course President Reagan. Mr. Wilber brings the chaos that was the emergency room/trauma center to life. The deep concern of the Medical Personnel when they couldn’t stop the bleeding, Pres Reagan lost more than half his blood, the calmness of the surgeon in the operating room when he couldn’t find the bullet in his lung. He also discusses some of the coincidences that happened. These include Agent Parr, the lead agent of the Security detail deciding at the last minute to accompany the President to the Hilton Hotel, the fact that George Washington Hospital had just recently been upgrade to a level one trauma center, Agent Parr’s decision not to go to the White House and go directly to the hospital instead. The confusion around who was in charge is also discussed as well as its ramifications to Sec Haig, as well as the disastrous press conferences, when people who were not used to dealing with the Washington Press Corps tried to give press briefings. For me, Pres Reagan is definitely the star of the book. The author brings him to life! He is portrayed as one having grace under pressure. His line about the medical staff being Republican was used twice, once when he first arrived in the emergency room and later in the operating room. Later when talking to one of his nurses, asking her if Nancy knows about them. This is a fairly slim volume (appox 225 pages) and I was captivated by it. I read it in one sitting. I highly recommend this book.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Robert

    This book easily clocks in at five stars. Reading almost like a top notch thriller this book absolutely captivated me. For those that remember the day Reagen was shot, I was still in high school, this is the untold story. Kept back from the press and the public, for good reason, the true events of how we almost lost one of our Presidents is laid bare in these pages. Go into the surgery room as the doctors attempted to save the lifes of Reagen and Press Secretary Brady. Feel the raw emotion as This book easily clocks in at five stars. Reading almost like a top notch thriller this book absolutely captivated me. For those that remember the day Reagen was shot, I was still in high school, this is the untold story. Kept back from the press and the public, for good reason, the true events of how we almost lost one of our Presidents is laid bare in these pages. Go into the surgery room as the doctors attempted to save the lifes of Reagen and Press Secretary Brady. Feel the raw emotion as the agents of the Secret Service and the Washington Police tackle Hinckley and place him into custody. Experience the terror that Nancy Reagen felt upon hearing that her husband was taken to the hospital following a shooting that had occured. And best of all throughout this whole experience was Reagen himself. Always the entertainer his jokes and quips have to make a person smile as he himself said that he was just trying to entertain the crowd. This book comes off with high recommendations from me to anyone even thinking of reading it.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Rivka

    Finished it it a day -- I could not put this book down. It was well written and the author somehow managed to make this historical account read with the excitement of a good suspense novel. It was compelling. I highly recommend this book. Read it.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Susan Liston

    This is a minute by minute account of the day Reagan was shot, it's not comprehensive coverage of the whole story, just a brief epilogue at the end. Quick and harrowing reading. As a person who is geezerly enough to remember this clearly, it's weird to think back on how much we didn't know....before the Internet or cable news, there was far, far less information available and as I recall, it wasn't known for some time how badly injured Reagan actually was. It was long time later that it came out This is a minute by minute account of the day Reagan was shot, it's not comprehensive coverage of the whole story, just a brief epilogue at the end. Quick and harrowing reading. As a person who is geezerly enough to remember this clearly, it's weird to think back on how much we didn't know....before the Internet or cable news, there was far, far less information available and as I recall, it wasn't known for some time how badly injured Reagan actually was. It was long time later that it came out that it was worse then they originally let on and in fact he almost died. By then he was fine, so we thought, well, he obviously didn't die, and that was that. At least that's how I remember it. And I've never read that much about it since. But golly gee willikers, he really could have easily died. Took them forever to even realize he'd been shot. One note....I almost DNF'd this at the beginning. The author, who is a reporter and should know better, gushes over the wonderfulness of Ronald Reagan in the most nauseating and unprofessional manner. He settles down after awhile.

  8. 5 out of 5

    chucklesthescot

    I was looking through Google trying to find a Q author for my Alphabet Soup Challenge when I stumbled across this and instantly bought it as I've always been interested in politics and political scandals and assassinations. This book starts with the few days leading up to the shooting and a bit of background on the President and his staff. It let us know a bit about each person in the President's party who were caught up in the drama of the day. Then it switches to pretty much a minute by minute I was looking through Google trying to find a Q author for my Alphabet Soup Challenge when I stumbled across this and instantly bought it as I've always been interested in politics and political scandals and assassinations. This book starts with the few days leading up to the shooting and a bit of background on the President and his staff. It let us know a bit about each person in the President's party who were caught up in the drama of the day. Then it switches to pretty much a minute by minute starting with the morning of the shooting-what the President was doing, which of his staff were deciding to go with him or stay at the White House, switching rosters at the last minute, what the shooter was doing, the security getting ready at the hotel. It was setting the scene for what was coming and I was fascinated by it. The tension slowly builds until the shooting itself. It shows the utter chaos in the situation as the men shot fall to the ground, the men who grabbed the shooter and took him down, the witnesses and the getting the President into the car and away. It then follows the President to the hospital along with the other wounded men, the arrest of the shooter, the reaction of the medical staff, the news breaking at the White House and the aftermath at the scene of the shooting. We are with Nancy's staff as she rushes to the hospital, in with the White House staff as they squabbled, George Bush Senior rushing back to take charge, the police interrogation of the shooter and his obsession with Jodie Foster, and the medical battle to save both the President and James Brady. It was pretty dramatic and it unfolded in the way the film Parkland does, a film I loved, dealing with the murder of JFK. I thought this book covered everything I wanted to know about the shooting and the aftermath and I will be reading this many more times!

  9. 5 out of 5

    Mary Ronan Drew

    Monday, March 30, 1981, was a cool day in the DC area. I was working in the library at TRW Washington Ops in McLean that afternoon, listening to the radio, thinking about a visit to the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms, when a news bulletin on the radio announced that someone had attempted to assassinate the president at the Washington Hilton. I remember watching the TV news that evening and being appalled at the attempted murder of the president and the injuries Monday, March 30, 1981, was a cool day in the DC area. I was working in the library at TRW Washington Ops in McLean that afternoon, listening to the radio, thinking about a visit to the Jefferson Memorial and the Tidal Basin to see the cherry blossoms, when a news bulletin on the radio announced that someone had attempted to assassinate the president at the Washington Hilton. I remember watching the TV news that evening and being appalled at the attempted murder of the president and the injuries to James Brady, a secret service agent, and a police officer. But we were assured that President Reagan was ok. He had walked into the hospital from his limo and had cracked jokes with the medical people in the emergency room. He was not ok. He had taken a bullet in his side and it lodged about an inch from his heart. When he arrived at George Washington University Hospital he was in shock and losing a great deal of blood. It took quick, sure work by exceptionally skilled trauma doctors and nurses to pull him through. Rawhide Down is the story of that assassination attempt, so nearly successful despite elaborate secret service attempts to prevent that kind of thing, and dramatic work by the professionals at GW Hospital that kept the president alive during those precarious early hours. The Secret Service and the doctors and nurses at George Washington University Hospital saved Ronald Reagan’s life on the 30th of March, 1981, but it was the years of changes and increased training of the secret service and the revolutionary change of the emergency room at GW into a shock/trauma center in the past five years that made it possible. Rawhide Down tells the story of the developing secret service professionalism in the years since the assassination of John Kennedy, the increased training the agents underwent by the early 80s and the frequent target practice they were required to undertake, in the basement of the Old Post Office Building on Pennsylvania Avenue. They needed what one agent called “muscle memory,” the kind of reaction that happens without conscious thought. Film of the shooting shows that the incident took 1.8 seconds from the first shots to when Reagan was safely in the car. There was no time to think about what to do. The GW emergency room had recently undergone a dramatic upgrade. A Vietnam vet was assigned in 1976 to reorganize the department and he looked to the Baltimore Shock/Trauma Center, a relatively new concept at the time, for guidance in training medical personnel to deal with the frequent gunshot victims and auto accident casualties that they dealt with in that hospital. Because they were so highly organized and so carefully trained the emergency room doctors were able to discover the nature of Reagan’s wound and knew how to treat it quickly. This makes for exciting reading. The author, a reporter for the Washington Post, has done extensive research and talked to all the principals who are still alive excepting Nancy Reagan, who is still unable to talk about that terrible day. There is an interview with the agent who saved Reagan's life twice that day here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=31Q52_... 2011 No 57

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joe

    Book twenty-two of my presidential challenge. Ronald Reagan was the President during my formative years but I remember little about him. I vaguely remember that it seemed like the President was a grandpa-type figure in that he was old and always had a corny one-liner that seemed to work despite itself. Modern day Republicans revere him like a God even if they mostly seem to have forgotten his policies and use him as a sounding board to simply state their own opinions. That has made me almost Book twenty-two of my presidential challenge. Ronald Reagan was the President during my formative years but I remember little about him. I vaguely remember that it seemed like the President was a grandpa-type figure in that he was old and always had a corny one-liner that seemed to work despite itself. Modern day Republicans revere him like a God even if they mostly seem to have forgotten his policies and use him as a sounding board to simply state their own opinions. That has made me almost reflexively not want to like him but I know that isn't fair. I mean, just because a lot of dumb dumbs like someone doesn't mean they suck. Maybe Che Guevara was cool. Maybe Bob Marley really was that laid back. Maybe Ronald Reagan was a good President. But I didn't want to read many of the biographies out there. Most of them appeared to me to be hero worship by the same jerks that make me angry. So I decided on "Rawhide Down" and I'm glad I did. "Rawhide Down" covers the day back in 1981 when John Hinckley Jr. tried to assassinate Reagan. The book was an in-depth look at all facets of that day from Ronald to Nancy to Hinckley to the Secret Service to the surgical staff to the FBI. It gives enough biographical information that you really get a good sense of the President without any gushy overkill. Plus, the day in the life take on things is a really neat feel for a Presidential biography. I should read more like that. The book really felt like a companion piece to the book I read on President Garfield, "Destiny of the Republic." Even the motivations of the assassin and would be assassin were spookily similar. If you flipped those two guys around chronologically, Garfield would have clearly lived and Reagan would have clearly died. The world never really understood how close Reagan came to dying that day. It shouldn't be surprising that he did, he was 70 years old and he got shot people! After reading this, I really do like Reagan. He was funny and wore the Presidency well. I may not agree with all of his policies and he seemed to let his second term get away from him (as most do) but I can definitely understand all the hero worship.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Grace

    In the early 1980s, the US economy was suffering from a severe recession. The newly elected president, Ronald Reagan, only two months after his inauguration, had received a very low approval rating of only 59. This was an extremely low rating for a newly elected president. [Del Quentin Wilber], in his well-researched book [Rawhide Down], makes apparent that the events of March 30, 1980, and the weeks following, aided in raising and maintaining Reagan's approval rating so much, that eight years In the early 1980s, the US economy was suffering from a severe recession. The newly elected president, Ronald Reagan, only two months after his inauguration, had received a very low approval rating of only 59. This was an extremely low rating for a newly elected president. [Del Quentin Wilber], in his well-researched book [Rawhide Down], makes apparent that the events of March 30, 1980, and the weeks following, aided in raising and maintaining Reagan's approval rating so much, that eight years later when he left office, he was able to exit with the highest approval rating of any president since Harry Truman. On that day in March, John Hinkley, Jr., a suicidal young man with an obsession for Jodie Foster, attempted to assassinate Reagan. Wilber details the events of that day, sometimes minute by minute, to illustrate exactly what happened and how close Reagan, whose code name was Rawhide, really was to dying. In doing so, he reveals the true character of Reagan, his courage, his wit and humor, and 'grace under pressure.' Wilber relates how Reagan joked with the doctors and nurses before and after surgery and shows that Reagan was in very good health for a man of 79 years. This helped to ease the fears of many, who felt that Reagan, the oldest US President ever, was too old to handle the challenges of the position. Wilber also explains that this event aided Reagan in achieving many of his goals as President. Wilber also relates other events going on at the same time that Reagan is undergoing examination and surgery. He tells of the blunders which some of Reagan's staff make in their handling of the situation. Wilber keeps the pace going quickly, and smoothly transitions back and forth between people and events so that this book holds your interest and is an easy and fast read.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Vertrees

    Fascinating book. It is hard to look back knowing what we know now and realize that they didn't know what was going on at the time- that there could be a conspiracy, more shooters, etc. I am certain they had no idea it was a crazy guy trying to impress an actress. Trying to imagine how Jody Foster might feel at the time- that must have been (and still is) unreal. The medical part was fascinating and frustrating. It seemed like it really dragged along, but in the interview at the end with the ER Fascinating book. It is hard to look back knowing what we know now and realize that they didn't know what was going on at the time- that there could be a conspiracy, more shooters, etc. I am certain they had no idea it was a crazy guy trying to impress an actress. Trying to imagine how Jody Foster might feel at the time- that must have been (and still is) unreal. The medical part was fascinating and frustrating. It seemed like it really dragged along, but in the interview at the end with the ER nurse it seemed like it went faster than it seemed in the book. I really enjoyed this story on a critical part of history.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Benjamin

    A fast-paced minute-by-minute account of the shooting, an entertaining and informative read. Still, it's pretty superficial and kind of feels like part of the whole mythologizing program surrounding Reagan. I'm interested in finding out further background information on everybody's actions throughout and the political repercussions.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Greg Mathis

    As something of a Reaganophile, Ive read most of the 40th presidents biographies. From charitable treatments of the 80s by Reagan acolytes to rather antagonistic, faultfinding endeavors, every book conveys its own opinion of the Gipper. This account, however, concerns itself with the realities of one day: the day Reagan was shot. Providing sufficient background without unduly widening his scope, Wilber provides interesting and unique vantage points in this narrow angle account many biographers As something of a Reaganophile, I’ve read most of the 40th president’s biographies. From charitable treatments of the 80s by Reagan acolytes to rather antagonistic, faultfinding endeavors, every book conveys its own opinion of the Gipper. This account, however, concerns itself with the realities of one day: the day Reagan was shot. Providing sufficient background without unduly widening his scope, Wilber provides interesting and unique vantage points in this narrow angle account many biographers are unable to capture with such detail. I can’t say there was much new in this text concerning the facts of the day, but I can say that the personal sketches of each figure involved provided a more three-dimensional look at what proved to be a watershed moment in the American psyche after the Kennedy tragedy. Not only was America’s confidence restored by Reagan’s recovery and attitude, so was (perhaps) Reagan’s own first term agenda.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jason Pringle

    Great book. As exciting as an action-adventure novel. Unlike many reviewers I don't have a clear memory of the tragic events when they happened, except that I remember that it was in all the news and I like everyone else waited anxiously for news about the President's condition. At the time I was not aware just how seriously President Reagan was wounded. After reading this excellent and well-documented work, I realize how close we came to losing a great leader. While I do admire the quick action Great book. As exciting as an action-adventure novel. Unlike many reviewers I don't have a clear memory of the tragic events when they happened, except that I remember that it was in all the news and I like everyone else waited anxiously for news about the President's condition. At the time I was not aware just how seriously President Reagan was wounded. After reading this excellent and well-documented work, I realize how close we came to losing a great leader. While I do admire the quick action of the Secret Service agents, I also wonder if there was some serious lapse of judgment that allowed the lunatic to get close enough to shoot him in the first place.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Matt

    Wilber's book touches on numerous interesting points of view on this 'where were you?' event in US history. Piecing together the story lines of the numerous actors leading up to the March 30, 1981 attempt, Wilber follows through with a detailed account of the scenes within the hospital, police station, and White House. Wilber brings the reader up close to these exciting subplots that make the larger event even more intriguing. Drawing on an apparent plethora of research and news reports, Wilber Wilber's book touches on numerous interesting points of view on this 'where were you?' event in US history. Piecing together the story lines of the numerous actors leading up to the March 30, 1981 attempt, Wilber follows through with a detailed account of the scenes within the hospital, police station, and White House. Wilber brings the reader up close to these exciting subplots that make the larger event even more intriguing. Drawing on an apparent plethora of research and news reports, Wilber brings the events to life in a casual writing style, addressing much. The text reads more like a strongly narrated piece of fiction, in that it does not cite interviews with Agent X or Dr. Y, which makes it easier for the curious reader whose desire is not to attend a university lecture. Wilber also posits some of the thinking that crossed Hinckley's mind as he made his way to the Hilton and his strong obsession with Jodie Foster, in hopes of impressing the young actress. While not trying to speculate or delve too deeply into Hinckley's past, Wilber presents some interesting facts about the assassin's muddled past. Hinckley does, sadly, not play a central role in the book, save the lead up to the shooting, some of the Foster-obsession, and a little post-event police interrogating. As mentioned above, the book examines the assassination attempt from numerous angles and the power vacuum that arose from Reagan's incapacitation. The most interesting would be the constitutional ramifications of Reagan's injury. With the 25th Amendment at their disposal, members of the Cabinet spent hours trying to decipher what it meant and how to use it. While used in Ford's ascendency to power in '74, no precedent existed for an incapacitated president, especially one who was unable to sign power over to the vice-president. Secretary of State Haig's misrepresentation of the line of succession opens the power vacuum and brings political power into question, but Wilber lets the reader come to their own conclusions. Well written and easy to digest, Wilber hits the mark with this novel, encapsulating an eerie day in US history. Kudos Mr. Wilber for this interesting book. A nice change from the denser non-fiction tomes I usually read.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Christian Petrie

    When I was helping my son with his project on the Cold War at the library, I came across this book. As kid, I remember hearing the news about the shooting, but I don't everything that went on. As an adult I'm was interested to see what I remember vs what happened. It is very different seeing everything that was involved. This book gives the details of the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. In it you are given a break down of the events of that day. The book opens with Reagan waking up and When I was helping my son with his project on the Cold War at the library, I came across this book. As kid, I remember hearing the news about the shooting, but I don't everything that went on. As an adult I'm was interested to see what I remember vs what happened. It is very different seeing everything that was involved. This book gives the details of the assassination attempt on Ronald Reagan. In it you are given a break down of the events of that day. The book opens with Reagan waking up and ends with him going to sleep after surgery. Del Quentin Wilber gives a lot of details. These details don't bog down the book. The writing is crisp and straight forward. Even though you know the outcome, you are caught up in the book because you might not all the details and what happens next. At the time how close Reagan was close to dying was not told. With this book you are brought into the decisions that are made once the attempt is done. You also see that if certain things had gone differently, Reagan could have died. The other aspect of that day, which I did not know, was how his cabinet handled the crisis. Time is spent with who made which decisions, and where Bush was during the time. This part becomes more of how did the government handle things during as the day went on. Near the end of the book, things slow down as things pass the danger zone. One thing that I wished the author had done was give more details on what happened with the Secret Service Agent and DC Officer who were shot. Once the book switches to the hospital, their stories are dropped off. The story of Jim Brady's surgery is given some time as well, though not as much as Reagan's. Adding more details would made the book longer, but could have rounded the events of the day. Also Hinckley is given less time as the book goes on. Of course his arrest and trial could fill their own book. If you are into history, this is a good book to read. I enjoyed it and was able to breeze through it no time.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Kayla

    *** FOR SCHOOL, REALLY BAD REVIEW *** Rawhide Down: The Near 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 book of that terrible day. Now, coming from new interviews, Del Quentin Wilber tells the exciting story of a moment when the nation faced a terrifying crisis. With clarity, *** FOR SCHOOL, REALLY BAD REVIEW *** Rawhide Down: The Near 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 book of that terrible day. Now, coming from new interviews, Del Quentin Wilber tells the exciting story of a moment when the nation faced a terrifying crisis. With 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 quickly trying to determine whether the country was under attack. Most especially, we encounter the code-name Rawhide, a leader who inspired affection and awe in everyone who worked with him. Rawhide Down’s main idea of the book revolve does around his near death experience, but it also reflects on Reagan’s life as a swift, and cunning person, man, and president. The book goes into great detail about how he is always happy, and still manages to get a joke in, whether it is about his speech, or about him being one of our oldest presidents of the US. There is a lesson hidden in the book. As there is in any book. But what I learned is that you shouldn’t take life for granted. Live for today, and cherish every moment you have on earth, as Reagan did. He was a happy, joyful man of many colors. But if one thing is clearly implied in this book, it’s that life is short, and when a near death experience happens to you or a family member, it hits hard. And you then realize that life is precious. In my opinion, this is a great book if you’re interested in the real story and details of what happened on March 30, 1981. Reagan was one of our best presidents, and what he went through and dealt with, while being president with enough on his plate already, should be known around the world for his braveness and heroism.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Don

    Had it not been for Nolan Crabb's glowing review, I would never in a million years have picked up this book which chronicles the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan which took place in March of 1981. I am not a Reagan fan and, while the event portrayed in this book is one I clearly recall, reading a minute by minute account about it would have seemed like overkill. Let me assure you: this is well worth your time. The author's background as a journalist is evident in his meticulous Had it not been for Nolan Crabb's glowing review, I would never in a million years have picked up this book which chronicles the assassination attempt on President Ronald Reagan which took place in March of 1981. I am not a Reagan fan and, while the event portrayed in this book is one I clearly recall, reading a minute by minute account about it would have seemed like overkill. Let me assure you: this is well worth your time. The author's background as a journalist is evident in his meticulous reporting and strong attention to detail. It is that very detail combined with exceptional writing which makes this book stand out. You'll experience the events of that infamous day in ways you never thought possible simply because of Wilbur's talent. You'll be amazed at just how many people's clear thinking and genuine decency made a significant difference in the outcome. If you are anything like me, you'll think, as you read about John Hinckley, about our mental health system and why it needs reform. You'll be stunned when you consider all the ways in which our president shapes not only the United States, but the entire world. This is most definitely not a book about Reagan's politics or policies. Such things are mentioned, but only in order to paint a picture of the events. While my opinions about Reagan's presidency were not in any way changed, I admired the courage and humanity he exhibited during this very stressful and unscripted time when his "true self" was exposed to the world. Although I hold very definite political convictions, I am horrified by the divisive and hateful comments I am hearing from both sides during our current election season. For me, this book serves as a powerful reminder of our inherent humanity. Even if that's this book's only merit -- and it isn't -- it's well worth the read.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Maria

    The nightmare of every Secret Service agent came true on March 30, 1981. A deranged assassin fired six shots at the President of the United States and Agent Jerry Parr reacted exactly the way he was trained, saving Ronald Reagans life and sparing the nation the tragic premature burial of another president. Wilber delivers a comprehensive, detailed account of the day of the shooting and the controlled chaos following immediately after. President Reagan came closer to death than was ever reported, The nightmare of every Secret Service agent came true on March 30, 1981. A deranged assassin fired six shots at the President of the United States and Agent Jerry Parr reacted exactly the way he was trained, saving Ronald Reagan’s life and sparing the nation the tragic premature burial of another president. Wilber delivers a comprehensive, detailed account of the day of the shooting and the controlled chaos following immediately after. President Reagan came closer to death than was ever reported, and for the first time the American public can see how close we came to losing our president to an assassin’s bullet. Regardless of your political stance, no one can argue that Ronald Reagan was a stellar human being and a devoted husband. The doctors and nurses who worked fervently to save his life all comment on how polite and respectful he was to the entire hospital staff, and Reagan’s approval rating soared after the shooting. The minute details are revealing and poignant, and Reagan turned what could have been a horrific day into a life-long lesson in faith and resilience. The lives of many were forever changed that day, and as prominent a moment in history this was, up until now there has never been a book written to cover the entire event as it happened. Wilber has done just that and delivered an important record for everyone to add to their must-read list.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chad

    This book was fascinating, well-written, and extensively researched. Includes behind-the-scenes look at the Secret Service and the medical team that treated President Reagan, as well as the Reagan staff on this chaotic day. Much more professional than In the President's Secret Service which I also read recently -- Rawhide Down simply reports the events, without an axe to grind. This book was in the same vein as Columbine and Black Hawk Down: a detailed and intriguing account of a tragic event in This book was fascinating, well-written, and extensively researched. Includes behind-the-scenes look at the Secret Service and the medical team that treated President Reagan, as well as the Reagan staff on this chaotic day. Much more professional than In the President's Secret Service which I also read recently -- Rawhide Down simply reports the events, without an axe to grind. This book was in the same vein as Columbine and Black Hawk Down: a detailed and intriguing account of a tragic event in recent history, showing the best and the worst of the people involved.

  22. 4 out of 5

    John DeDakis

    While the events described in this book were unfolding, I was doing Person on the Street interviews as a reporter for the NBC affiliate in Madison, Wisconsin. Now comes the full, moment-by-moment account of the near assassination of President Ronald Reagan near the beginning of his first term in office. The book is fast-paced and vividly detailed. What's especially insightful are the perspectives of the Secret Service agents and doctors who saved Reagan's life. Anecdotes of how Nancy Reagan While the events described in this book were unfolding, I was doing Person on the Street interviews as a reporter for the NBC affiliate in Madison, Wisconsin. Now comes the full, moment-by-moment account of the near assassination of President Ronald Reagan near the beginning of his first term in office. The book is fast-paced and vividly detailed. What's especially insightful are the perspectives of the Secret Service agents and doctors who saved Reagan's life. Anecdotes of how Nancy Reagan reacted to the shooting and her husband's jaunty humor in the face of death are especially entertaining. The would-be assassin thought that by shooting the president he would impress actress Jody Foster. Instead, the experience led Reagan to believe his life had been spared for a reason and galvanized his efforts to end the Cold War with the Soviet Union.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Poor Jodie Foster, that's all I can say. The recent shooting of the Arizona congresswoman and her constituents led to an outpouring of appreciation for the split-second bravery for those on scene and the unflappable precision of the hospital personnel who saved her life. A similar feeling of gratitude can go out to the folks depicted in this book, a breathless narrative about Ronald Reagan's near-assassination; Rawhide Down often feels more like a commendation than a dry recitation of facts. It is Poor Jodie Foster, that's all I can say. The recent shooting of the Arizona congresswoman and her constituents led to an outpouring of appreciation for the split-second bravery for those on scene and the unflappable precision of the hospital personnel who saved her life. A similar feeling of gratitude can go out to the folks depicted in this book, a breathless narrative about Ronald Reagan's near-assassination; Rawhide Down often feels more like a commendation than a dry recitation of facts. It is only because of those individuals who made rapid-fire, informed decisions on behalf of the president and the three others wounded in Hinckley's attack that March 30, 1981, did not become a date as famous as Nov. 22, 1963, and Dec. 8, 1980. But Wilber's book makes you realize how close history came to changing forever.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Bruce Gilbert

    I thought Rawhide Down was a very interesting read and quite enjoyable. Rawhide is the nick-name given to President Reagan by the Secret Service. Despite already knowing most of the events and the outcome of the March 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan, Rawhide Down offers new details and in depth information that surrounded that fateful day. The book is very precise and detailed and the part where the victims are brought into the hospital after the shooting is very graphic. Almost I thought Rawhide Down was a very interesting read and quite enjoyable. Rawhide is the nick-name given to President Reagan by the Secret Service. Despite already knowing most of the events and the outcome of the March 1981 assassination attempt on President Reagan, Rawhide Down offers new details and in depth information that surrounded that fateful day. The book is very precise and detailed and the part where the victims are brought into the hospital after the shooting is very graphic. Almost too graphic! I was able to finish this book in about a week, which is pretty much a record for me. I am a slow reader and often get bored reading novels easily. I was never bores with this one though. No matter your political affiliation or if you were a big fan of Reagan or not, you should pick up this book!

  25. 5 out of 5

    Leonardo Etcheto

    Great storytelling, fascinating breakdown of the events. It is always interesting to read how some lessons are learned and other are not. Lots of preparation and precautions on who he meets inside, but little crowd control. Hinckley just wanted to impress Jodi Foster, and he was able to get of 6 shots from 15 feet away. I had not realized that ERs were just barely being organized for true emergency care. Reagan was fortunate in that he had quick care, not the norm for the time. This book Great storytelling, fascinating breakdown of the events. It is always interesting to read how some lessons are learned and other are not. Lots of preparation and precautions on who he meets inside, but little crowd control. Hinckley just wanted to impress Jodi Foster, and he was able to get of 6 shots from 15 feet away. I had not realized that ER’s were just barely being organized for true emergency care. Reagan was fortunate in that he had quick care, not the norm for the time. This book reminded me of how much progress we have made, in so many fields, that most of us are not even aware of. The level of chaos in the Whitehouse was surprising, too many people without a clear second in command and a screwy information flow. This book shows how Reagan really was something special, a genuinely nice guy.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Gary Brittain

    If you want to know what happened on March 30, 1981 at the Washington Hilton then this is the book you need to read. I purchased this book and would have finished it one sitting if I had the time, however I did finish in 5 days!! Del takes you right there and let's you know what happened with Pres Reagan, Nancy, Reagan's aides (especially Alex "I'm in control" Haig). As a self proclaimed Reaganite, I would give this book 7 out of 5 stars!!! IT IS AN EXCELLENT READ!!! If you get a chance to meet the If you want to know what happened on March 30, 1981 at the Washington Hilton then this is the book you need to read. I purchased this book and would have finished it one sitting if I had the time, however I did finish in 5 days!! Del takes you right there and let's you know what happened with Pres Reagan, Nancy, Reagan's aides (especially Alex "I'm in control" Haig). As a self proclaimed Reaganite, I would give this book 7 out of 5 stars!!! IT IS AN EXCELLENT READ!!! If you get a chance to meet the author at one of his book signings you will come away with an instant need to read this book. ENJOY!!!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Becky

    I like well-written books about historical events. Based on amazing amounts of research and countless interviews, this book explains in clear, well-written prose everything that happened the day Ronald Reagan was nearly killed by an assassin. Some of this information is new, discovered by the author through the Freedom of Information Act. Surprisingly, no one has covered the assassination attempt in this much detail before. I had no idea that Reagan lost close to 50% of his blood and very nearly I like well-written books about historical events. Based on amazing amounts of research and countless interviews, this book explains in clear, well-written prose everything that happened the day Ronald Reagan was nearly killed by an assassin. Some of this information is new, discovered by the author through the Freedom of Information Act. Surprisingly, no one has covered the assassination attempt in this much detail before. I had no idea that Reagan lost close to 50% of his blood and very nearly died in the ER; some of the doctors didn't think there was any way he would survive that much blood loss, and his vital signs weren't promising. Fascinating and well written.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Robert Morrow

    This is a very tight, strong narrative of the events related to the attempted assassination of President Reagan. While not as broad or as socially significant as Hellhound on His Trail, the book is an exciting, dramatic read once you get into the story. The primary objection I had to the book was the introductory material, which was far too worshipful of Reagan than is proper for a history. All Wilber had to do was tell the tale: the man's courage and humanity during this crisis spoke for itself This is a very tight, strong narrative of the events related to the attempted assassination of President Reagan. While not as broad or as socially significant as Hellhound on His Trail, the book is an exciting, dramatic read once you get into the story. The primary objection I had to the book was the introductory material, which was far too worshipful of Reagan than is proper for a history. All Wilber had to do was tell the tale: the man's courage and humanity during this crisis spoke for itself and the book would have had greater impact had the author allowed readers to discover that for themselves.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Jay Roper

    Being a political junkie, and a huge Reagan fan, in addition idolizing the precision movements of the Secret Service, I found I could not put this book down and really enjoyed it. Its written in a time-line fashion based on recent declassification of the hospital reports, exhaustive interviews and a recently released audio tape recording from the Situation room in the White House that happened that fateful day 30 years ago! It really gives insider detailed information on how close we came to Being a political junkie, and a huge Reagan fan, in addition idolizing the precision movements of the Secret Service, I found I could not put this book down and really enjoyed it. Its written in a time-line fashion based on recent declassification of the hospital reports, exhaustive interviews and a recently released audio tape recording from the Situation room in the White House that happened that fateful day 30 years ago! It really gives insider detailed information on how close we came to having our history changed if several people did not make the right choices and we could have easily lost Reagan. Definitely worth a read!

  30. 5 out of 5

    Kathleen

    The book follows what happened to Reagan on the day he is shot by John Hinkley Jr. What is interesting about this book is it doesnt talk very much about Hinkley. I think there was a total of 10-15 pages explaining his actions leading up to the shooting and what happen to him while Reagan was in the hospital. The rest of the book follows Reagan. It describes the chaos in the emergency room and what was happening at the white house when no one was sure if Reagan would make it. It details his The book follows what happened to Reagan on the day he is shot by John Hinkley Jr. What is interesting about this book is it doesnt talk very much about Hinkley. I think there was a total of 10-15 pages explaining his actions leading up to the shooting and what happen to him while Reagan was in the hospital. The rest of the book follows Reagan. It describes the chaos in the emergency room and what was happening at the white house when no one was sure if Reagan would make it. It details his surgery. Very interesting.

Add a review

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Loading...
We use cookies to give you the best online experience. By using our website you agree to our use of cookies in accordance with our cookie policy.