An intriguing and inspiring read, impossible to put down.
The Kennedy Detail is an inspiring and intriguing read, one which lays bare the sacrifices of nearly anonymous men taking on a sisyphean task, and doing so without the slightest hint of self promotion or eventual reward. The book paints a vivid picture of men who constantly navigated the opposing needs of retail politics versus perfect security, using physical strength, endurance, acumen and psychology to constantly balance risks in real time, knowing always that a single moment's lapse could spell disaster.
The story is riveting, matched by an equally heartbreaking understanding that for a half a century these men have lived with the searing guilt and gnawing self-doubt of having lost a president during one of the most critical and volatile time periods in US history. This clearly wasn't an easy book to write.
It is difficult these days for most of us to recognize and truly comprehend the context of the events of November, 1963. Most of us simply weren't there, or weren't yet adults. But Blaine's recounting provides a window into the men, their lives, families and struggles, and the global and local events that shaped their day. It reveals the men of the secret service as the best of the best, not just in physical ability and mental acuity, but also in commitment, integrity, and duty.
It is this last aspect which gives the book its greatest impact - these were men for whom commitment was, and is, the guiding principal in their lives. It seems clear that JFK's commitment to the country was mirrored by the author and all the men whose entire lives were devoted to protecting the president and his family.
While this is a book that may primarily be of interest to those of us who remember using Brylcreem, it's one worth passing along to the younger generation around us. Examples of selfless duty and lifelong integrity are as valuable today as they were then.