Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan

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Henry Holt and Company, Mar 15, 2011 - History - 320 pages
15 Reviews

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.

 

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - gayla.bassham - LibraryThing

Wilber is a much greater admirer of Reagan than I am -- and really, enough with the whole respected-the-Oval-Office-too-much-to-wear-shirtsleeves bit, it took me thirty seconds to Google a picture of ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - mrtall - LibraryThing

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 ... Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Del Quentin Wilber is an award-winning reporter for The Washington Post. He has spent most of his career covering law enforcement and sensitive security issues, and his work has been a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize.

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