The Kennedy Detail
Read excerpts, watch videos, get book reviews and more about The Kennedy Detail at Simon & Schuster.

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WATCH VIDEO CLIPS Cuban Missile Crisis Protecting Jackie Memories ______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Kennedy Detail Book Tour - Comment

Last night I went to our (awesome) local library and heard a talk by Gerald Blaine who has just published this book. He is one of the Secret Service agents with JFK when the president was assassinated in Dallas. Another agent, Win Lawson, was there also.

I bought the book as a gift for someone, started to browse through it, and was still reading at midnight. Guess I'll have to keep this copy. It is a fascinating account of this terrible event and what these agents still think of as a horrendous 'failure.' At the time, they had no trauma counseling and actually never have had. It was only a couple of years ago during an interview for the Discover channel that they finally began talking about their own experiences. The book seems to have become a catharsis for some of these brave and dedicated public servants. After only a few chapters, I can highly recommend it.

Louscraps's profile

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Inside Secret Service Training

The Making of An Agent

After 16 weeks of action-packed exercises that will test them to the core, the recruits in Training Class No. 283 will pass into the elite ranks of the Secret Service -- or leave humiliated

By Laura Blumenfeld

Special Agent in Charge Michael Bryant talks about the Secret Service and the rigorous program would-be agents must complete at the James J. Rowley Training Center outside Washington, D.C.

Launch Photo Gallery

LESSON ONE: Get Ready To Die

The teacher walks into the mat room.

"Good morning, Mr. Mixon," the students say in unison.

"Cut that [expletive] out. Don't act like you give a crap about my morning."

Steve Mixon smiles, or maybe it's a snarl. Before he became an instructor at the Secret Service training camp outside Washington, Mixon served as a team leader on President George W. Bush's Counter Assault Team.

"Everyone's going to leave today in some degree of pain," Mixon tells the special agent trainees.

The 24 recruits, dressed in black combat pants and jackets, stiffen into four rows, jingling handcuffs. Scott Swantner clenches his jaw. Krista Bradford rubs raw knuckles. One trainee, who broke a rib, is keeping it a secret, fearing he'll be discharged.

"Everything is in play here, guys. Everything you learned from Day One," Mixon tells them in a basement that muffles rifle blasts. "Assailant control. Guillotine chokeholds."

For the members of Special Agent Training Class No. 283, this is finals time. They have been cramming here for months, since days after the election of Barack Obama, hoping to join the men and women charged with protecting the president.

Not all of them will make it. Read More

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Join Caroline Kennedy to Celebrate President Kennedy's Birthday

John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum

Celebrate President Kennedy's Birthday

Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 12:00 noon

JFK in UniformYou are invited to join Caroline Kennedy and The Honorable Ray Mabus, United States Secretary of the Navy, for a very special celebration of President John F. Kennedy's birthday this Sunday, May 29.

During this historic celebration, Secretary Mabus will officiate at the Naming Ceremony for CVN 79 - a United States Nuclear-Powered Aircraft Carrier - to be built in the coming years and christened in 2018.

This inspiring and colorful celebration will include remarks by Caroline Kennedy and other dignitaries; a video presentation of President Kennedy's August 1, 1963 Address to the U.S. Naval Academy; the Presentation of Colors; music by the Navy Band; and the formal announcement by the United States Secretary of the Navy of the name to be given to the nuclear powered aircraft carrier CVN 79.

The Ceremony will take place in the Stephen Smith Center beginning at 12:00 noon. The U.S. Navy has requested that guests arrive by 11:30 a.m. dressed in either Business Attire or Service Uniform.

Seating is limited and reservations are required. Click here to register.

This event will be webcast live at

Sunday, May 22, 2011

With a Gaithersburg Book Festival Fan!

On Saturday, May 21, a book festival was held in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Two of the featured authors were Gerald Blaine and Clint Hill from the Kennedy Detail book. While this was a life-time moment for me, it was my chance to have my son to experience history. Even though Terrell may be too young to understand the significance of the moment, years later he will be able to say that he shook hands and met two people who are etched in American history.

BTW: Before I could [ask] Mr. Blaine & Hill can I take of picture of them with my son, they beat me to the punch...and here is the proof....

With Clint Hill and 6 Year Old Terrell Pullen

Courtesy of Jeffrey D. Pullen

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Secret Service Kennedy Detail

We told you about the recent trip to mid-Michigan by two members of the Kennedy detail, Secret Service agents whose job it was to protect JFK's life on November 22, 1963.

For Gerry Blaine and Clint Hill, in their own words, it was a job they failed to do, a burden that they've had to live with now for nearly half a century. Only now are some of their emotional wounds starting to heal.

Clint Hill, former Secret Service agent: "That's the name of the game in protection, you are at either 100 percent, 110 percent probably, or you are a failure."

Gerald Blaine, Author/former Secret Service agent: "But as an organization there are not many professions you can be 100 percent failure at. We thought we failed in Dallas, and all it takes is one mistake and everything is gone. On that particular day in Dallas, every advantage went to the shooter, we had none. We can't see who has been hit, if anyone's been hit, but apparently something is wrong, terribly wrong."

In writing his new book, The Kennedy Detail, former Secret Service agent Gerry Blaine has reopened some old wounds in order to help heal them. In the past century of American history, just one shift of Secret Service agents has lost a president- theirs. Emotional scars of blame have been festering for 47 years.

Gerald Blaine: "And so when it happened we buried it, we bit the bullet ourselves. There was no trauma counseling and we carried that all of our lives. It was a very difficult thing to do. We all became perfectionists. It was probably difficult on our children, we didn't allow mistakes after that."

Something former Michigan State treasurer Doug Roberts can relate to. He invited the retired agents to MSU to speak to students. Recently Dougs' father, the late Emory Roberts, was the Secret Service agent in charge that day when the president was assassinated. Emory Roberts also carried the burden of JFK's death to an early grave himself.

Doug Roberts, son of Emory Roberts/Secret Service: "My father lived for a number of years after the assassination, and of course we obviously got together on numerous occasions, and he would never talk about it."

Maybe no one has had it harder than agent Clint Hill. He was on the follow up car, on the running board, directly behind Jackie Kennedy. When the first shot was fired, he sprang off his vehicle and ran forward, slipping, but finally leaping onto the president's car in time to push the first lady back in, but too late to save the president's life.

Clint Hill: "Had I turned in a different direction, I'd have made it. It was my fault. If I had reacted a little bit quicker, I could have, I guess, I will live with that to my grave."

And in that rare and famous 1975 interview with CBS and Mike Wallace, Hill made it clear that constantly reliving the incident was for him a physical and emotional battle.

Clint Hill: "I have a severe neurological problem caused by what has happened in the past. They recommend psychiatric help."

Now with the passage of time and this book tour, Hill says he has managed to forgive himself for not being the one to take the bullet in Dealey Plaza, and admits, reluctantly, that if he had it to live all over again, the outcome might remain the same.

Clint Hill: "I came away with the conclusion that I did everything I could do that day. I couldn't have done anything more, I guess. When it happened it was like someone hit me in the stomach. I think I've lost my rage. At first I had a lot of rage. they're basically saying, you know, after 47 years, it's time, and also they're letting some of the burden off of them. They're making peace with themselves."

Hill was awarded a medal for his bravery on that day in Dallas, and yet...

Clint Hill: "It's always present, I still see certain images that will never go away."

It's a burden of failure only partially lifted, one that comes with an ominous cautionary note from men who witnessed a personal and professional tragedy, a nations' tragedy, firsthand.

Clint Hill: "We like to think that protection can be 100 percent, but we realize that it's not. There's always that possibility that something's going to happen. You never know what's around that next corner, therefore, there's a very distinct possibility at least that there will be an attempt, may not be successful, but I am sure at some point there will be an attempt. I just hope and pray that the agents who are there that day don't have to go through what I went through."

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Join Me at the Gaithersburg Book Festival - May 21, 2011
GBF News February 2011
In This Issue...
Pushing 40:
List of Featured Authors Expands to 38
The hard-working author recruitment team continues to amaze, having attracted almost 40 featured authors – all amazing in their own right – who will present and sign books at the 2011 Gaithersburg Book Festival. Last month we featured nine of our latest additions, and now we have 16 more to tell you aboutsee their mini bios below. A full list of our featured authors can be found on the GBF website.
  • Mary Amato is an award-winning children's book author, poet, playwright and songwriter. Her books have been translated into foreign languages, optioned for television, produced onstage, and nominated for children's choice awards in many states. Her latest is “Edgar Allan's Official Crime Investigation Notebook,” a mystery for children ages 7-10.
  • Gerald Blaine was hired in 1959 as a special agent of the Secret Service, and handpicked to serve on the elite White House Detail, the 34-man team responsible for protecting President Dwight D. Eisenhower. When John F. Kennedy was elected in November 1960, Blaine was immediately transferred to the President-elect detail and, for the next three years, accompanied President Kennedy all over the world. Blaine is the co-author “The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence,” in which he recounts his memories of those years and Kennedy's tragic assassination in 1963.
  • Alison Hart has been writing since she was seven years old when she wrote, illustrated and self-published "The Wild Dog" – a book she still shows young readers to prove that it's never too early to be an author. Today, she is the author of more than 20 mysteries and historical suspense novels for young readers and an adjunct college instructor teaching reading and writing.
  • Clint Hill is a former U.S. Secret Service agent who, at the time of John F. Kennedy's assassination, was responsible for Mrs. Kennedy. He was in the Presidential motorcade on that fateful November day in Dallas and is widely remembered as the agent who sprinted to the limousine in an attempt to save the President, leaping onto the car and, in the process, saving Mrs. Kennedy. Hill will be joining author Gerald Blaine in his discussion of the book, “The Kennedy Detail: JFK’s Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence.”
  • Matt Logelin is the author of “Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love.” Logelin is a widower and single father whose wife, Liz, died of a blood clot the day after their daughter, Madeline, was born. In this memoir, Logelin shares bittersweet and often humorous anecdotes of his courtship and marriage to Liz; of relying on his newborn daughter for the support that she unknowingly provided; and of the extraordinary online community of strangers who have become his friends.
  • Paula McLain is the author of “The Paris Wife,” a historical novel about the life of Ernest Hemingway and Jazz-age Paris, told in the voice of Hemingway's first wife Hadley. McLain says she was inspired to learn more about Mrs. Hemingway, when reading Mr.. Hemingway's memoir, “A Moveable Feast,” in which he wrote of Hadley: “I wished I had died before I ever loved anyone but her.” McLain is also the author of two collections of poetry. She lives in Cleveland with her family.
  • Linda Pastan has published 13 volumes of poetry, most recently “Traveling Light.” Two of these books have been finalists for the National Book Award. Pastan's poems have appeared in many journals, including The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, The Nation, The Georgia Review, and Poetry. She has been Poet Laureate of Maryland, and in 2003 she won the Ruth Lilly Poetry Prize for lifetime achievement. She lives with her husband in Potomac, Md.
  • Erica Perl is an award-winning children's book author. Her new picture book "Dotty" was published in August 2010. "Dotty" was called "a charmer" by Kirkus Reviews and was selected as a featured back-to-school book by Barnes & Noble for its national campaign. Perl is also the author of "Chicken Bedtime is Really Early,” “Ninety-three In My Family” and “Chicken Butt!”
  • Daniel Rasmussen is the New York Times best-selling author of “American Uprising: The Untold Story of America's Largest Slave Revolt.” A 2009 summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Harvard University, Rasmussen won three prizes for his senior thesis on the 1811 Revolt, including the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize, Harvard's top undergraduate academic honor. He grew up in Washington, D.C., and currently lives in Boston.
  • Lauren Redniss is the creator of “Century Girl: 100 Years in the Life of Doris Eaton Travis,” “Last Living Star of the Ziegfeld Follies,” and “Radioactive: Marie & Pierre Curie, A Tale of Love and Fallout.” Her writing and drawing has appeared in numerous publications including the New York Times, which nominated her work for the Pulitzer Prize. She was a fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars & Writers at the New York Public Library in 2008-2009 and became a New York Institute for the Humanities fellow in 2010. She teaches at the Parsons School of Design in New York City.
  • Scott Simon is a Peabody-Award-winning correspondent and host of NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday. His book "Baby, We Were Meant for Each Other: In Praise of Adoption" is a memoir of his and his wife's experience adopting two daughters from China and his take on what it means to be a father.
  • Pam Smallcomb is author of the books including “The Trimoni Twins and the Shrunken Treasure,” “The Trimoni Twins and the Changing Coin,” “The Last Burp of Mac McGerp,” and “Camp Buccaneer.” Her latest picture book, “I'm Not,” was an Amazon “Best Book of the Month for January 2011.” Pam lives in Maryland with her husband and four children.
  • Clare Vanderpool is the author of “Moon Over Manifest,” her first novel, which was awarded the 2011 Newbery Medal by the American Library Association as the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. Vanderpool lives in Wichita, Kan., with her family.
  • Douglas Waller is the author of “Wild Bill Donovan: The Spymaster Who Created the OSS and Modern American Espionage.” Waller is a veteran journalist and author. From 1994 to 2007, he served in TIME Magazine’s Washington Bureau, where he covered foreign affairs, including extensive work on the Middle East Peace negotiations and the wars in Iraq. Before that he worked at Newsweek reporting on major military conflicts from the Gulf War to Somalia to Haiti. This is the eighth book Waller has either authored or co-authored.
  • Robert Whitaker is the author of “Anatomy of an Epidemic: Magic Bullets, Psychiatric Drugs, and the Astonishing Rise of Mental Illness in America.” He has won numerous awards as a journalist covering medicine and science, including the George Polk Award for Medical Writing and a National Association for Science Writers’ Award for best magazine article. In 1998, he co-wrote a series on psychiatric research for the Boston Globe that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Public Service.
  • N.D. Wilson is the author of “The Chestnut King,” the third book in his “100 Cupboards” series novels, popular among kids in grades 4-7. The series tells the story of Henry York, a boy who finds his way to other worlds through the cupboards in the attic of his uncle's Kansas house. Feature film rights to the trilogy have been acquired by Beloved Pictures.
114 Local Students Enter GBF Short Story Contest
Maybe it was for the love of writing. Maybe it was for extra credit or a college application. Maybe their mothers made them do it. Or maybe it was for the $100 Barnes and Noble gift certificate. Whatever the reason, the response to our first short story contest for area high school students was a rousing success. We received 114 entries from 9th through 12th graders living in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C.

For the contest, we challenged students to write a story in 1,000 words or fewer that started with one of three lines provided by Sarah Pekannen, author of "The Opposite of Me" (2010) and "Skipping a Beat" (2011).

Round 1 judges recently finished evaluating all the entries, and are now in the process of narrowing them down to the Top 10. Once these finalists are selected, we'll start to post the stories on the GBF Blog, and we’ll also pass them on to our Round 2 judges, who are featured authors at the 2011 GBF. Our Top 10 finalists also will be reading their work at the coffee house during the festival. Stay tuned for details as to when that reading will take place!

Some interesting stats about our entries:
  • Demographics – 63 percent of entrants were from Montgomery County. We also had entries from Anne Arundel, Carroll, Frederick and Prince George’s counties in Maryland; Arlington, Fairfax, Fauquier and Prince William counties in Virginia, as well as Washington, D.C.
  • Schools – Most of our entrants attend public school, but we had one entry from a home-schooled teen and three entries from private schools.
  • Grades – Best we can tell (not everyone provided their grade), juniors made up the largest "class" from our entrants (visions of accolades for college applications dancing in their heads, perhaps?), with seniors coming in second, freshman third, and then sophomores.
  • Opening Lines – The most popular opening line, by far, was: "Don't open the box," my father always told me... The second most popular line (by a slim, slim margin) was: When I left my parents' house for good, I took five things with me… And in last place: In my entire life, I've fibbed dozens of times - usually to be polite or to get out of attending some mind-numbing social event - but I've only told one really big lie…

Save the Date

Book Festival

May 21, 2011
10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

GBF Thanks its Newest Sponsors
More and more companies are realizing the benefits of having their names associated a great literary event that attracts thousands of attendees from local communities, as well as cities up and down the East Coast and beyond.

In the last month, we've added a number of new sponsors for the 2011 GBF. They include:
We’re off to a great start, but we still need the support of additional sponsors to make the 2011 Gaithersburg Book Festival even better than last year. There are sponsorship levels to fit all budgets. Please visit the Gaitherburg Book Festival website for more information about 2011 sponsorships.
Blogging Away
Earlier this month, we introduced a new way for you to get insider information about the Gaithersburg Book Festival – the GBF Blog.

So what can you find on the GBF Blog that’s not on our website? Well, a lot, actually.

We’ll have exclusive Q&As with featured authors that we hope will whet your appetite and make you want to come to the festival to hear more from these amazing voices. You’ll also be able to find news about our featured authors – from whose latest book has hit the top of the New York Times Bestseller list, to articles and reviews that are making news. And we’ll be polling our readers with questions ranging from what you think is the most romantic book published to what books resulted in the best movie versions. So be sure to visit the blog and weigh in with your thoughts!

We’ll also feature original short stories from local high school students. Yup, that’s right – we’re going to give you a sneak peak of the Top 10 stories from our short story contest, which drew 114 entries from around Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. The student authors will have the chance to read their stories at the festival coffee shop on May 21, which will be followed by the announcement of the winning story and presentation of a $100 gift card to Barnes & Noble to the champion.

We'll post other updates as we get closer to the festival itself. And we hope we'll hear from you. Have a question about the festival? E-mail us. We'll do our best to answer online.
We Want You:
Volunteers Needed
The Gaithersburg Book Festival is an enormous undertaking, which would not be possible without the generous assistance of numerous volunteers.

We are continually recruiting volunteers for a number of opportunities. SSL hours are available for high school students. You must be at least 16 years old to apply.

Visit the GBF website for more details.

If you're interested in becoming part of this great event, take a few seconds and sign up to volunteer. We'll be in touch to coordinate as we get closer to the event.
Vendors: Show Your Stuff at the 2011 GBF

The Gaithersburg Book Festival is a terrific event at which to showcase your literary-related wares!

Whether you’re an author, poet, publisher, literary agent, bookstore, or have any other sort of business that caters to the book industry, here’s a great opportunity.

For a very modest price, you’ll get a booth for the day and have a chance to meet and interact with thousands of attendees.

For more information on becoming an exhibitor at the festival, please view our Exhibitor & Vendor Application.

Festival Sponsors

Media Sponsors

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