20 Years in the Secret Service

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 12 Dec 2018

Member Reviews

A recommended read if you are both interested in secret service stories and contemporary political stories.
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This book is such a good insiders view into the life of someone who is side by side with a president every day.  The president's security team sometimes goes unnoticed, and I think this is a great book to bring some glory to that team. Of course there are multiple people who work for the president, but not all are willing to give their life for him (or her).

It was so lovely to see how two people can care for each other even though they are in such different worlds, and can build a friendly relationship.
I learned a lot with this book, mostly because the world has changed since Rufus. I hadn't realized how much the events of the attempted homicides had ended up forming the SS and how unpreoccupied some presidents were about their own security.

It was also surprising to me how the security teams don't always continue when the presidents change. I knew the cabinet changed, but I hadn't thought that happened to the security teams too. 

If you've ever been curious about the secret service history throughout the years and want some insider little stories, this is the perfect book. It made me wish there was a volume 2, with the most recent presidents.
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This fascinating book documents in his own words the career of U.S. Secret Service Agent Rufus W. Youngblood who during his twenty year career in the Secret Service provided protection for Presidents Truman, Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, and Nixon. A tribute to a career of service and self sacrifice the book is formed of Youngblood's 1973 memoir with the addition of one hundred personal photographs showing him in the company of the American Presidents  he was guarding which adds an extra resonance to the text. This is not only an individual account of his work but a look at how the protection of American Presidents developed over the years. It is worth remembering that in addition to foiled plots and near misses no less than four American Presidents have been assassinated while in office and the book looks at how the procedural operations and tactics of the Secret Service were always trying to mitigate new threats and staying one step ahead of potential danger. The most worrying incidents appeared to take place on foreign visits with often unfriendly crowds surrounding the motorcade procession.

Written often in a chatty anecdotal manner, there is no doubt that Youngblood is a natural storyteller and we get glimpses of the personalities of the men he served with some amusing stories including  Eisenhower being chased by a rogue golf cart. But it is the events surrounding the Kennedy assassination that inevitably take centre stage here and have naturally haunted the Secret Service since leading to the central question of whether it could have been prevented. The graphic account of the events of that November day will culminate in Youngblood pushing down and  shielding Vice President Johnson in their car while the shots rang out. Reading his account it is apparent that there were some buildings along the motorcade route that should have been secured and it is a mark on the Secret Service that still endures to this day.

If you are interested in American history and politics this book will give you a fascinating insight into the events and personalities of this dramatic period. Although I think it would have been perhaps more informative to have had the photographs placed within the book instead of at the end this in no way detracts from what is a really good read.
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I cannot recommend this book more highly! I'm a huge history buff and love politics. This was exactly the right book for me. It brought back so many memories of growing up in the Kennedy era. I

Rufus Youngblood was a Secret Service agent assigned mostly to the White House from the Truman era onward. The knowledge of the Presidents and their families he provided is amazing and his respect for the men and women he protected is heartwarming. It's a history and personal reflection of some of the great men of our times. I loved reading it and highly recommend it.

Thank you to NetGalley and Greenleaf Book Group for the opportunity to read and provide an honest review of this book.
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I have always been fascinated with the Secret Service and their dedication to the protection of our highest leaders. This is a wonderful account of an historic period of our United States history.
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I am sorry I would love to read this book however when I go to download it it only gives me the option to download to pdf... I use kindle can you please help me with this?
             Thank you,
                 Tiffy
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An Insider's Story
Coming to this book with minimal expectations I found that it was an enthralling account of a true insider. Not a political one but someone close to a succession of presidents and privy to their private moods and tensions.
Rufus Youngblood served a number of presidents of different styles and politics. His commitment however was unwavering.
To hear from someone who was there when John F Kennedy was shot and the understand the impact that had on future presidential security is compelling reading.
Secret Service life clearly has its’ ups and downs and I’m in awe of Mrs Youngblood for enduring the long hours and frequent absences resulting from his demanding job.
Definitely a book to spend some time with.
This book was provided as an advance copy by the publisher in return for an honest review. I reviewed it on Amazon on 4 December 2018.
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This is a fascinating look at history through the eyes of someone who saw it happening first hand.  It's very well written in an easy-to-read style.
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For more reviews and bookish posts please visit: http://www.ManOfLaBook.com

20 Years in the Secret Service: My Life with Five Presidents by Rufus W. Youngblood is a memoir spanning the author’s career. The book has been published in 1974, this is a re-release which includes photographs from Mr. Youngblood’s collection not included in the first printing as well as a forward by Clint Hill.

I picked up this book because I was looking for something similar to Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford by Clint Hill which I enjoyed very much. To my delight, I enjoyed 20 Years in the Secret Service: My Life with Five Presidents by Rufus W. Youngblood just as much.

Mr. Youngblood shares how he entered the Secret Service and got onto the Presidential detail. He goes on to share his experience the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated, very interesting since Mr. Hill’s account was fresh in my head.

I enjoyed the easy manner in which the book is written in, Mr. Youngblood loved his job and the Presidents he swore to protect. One can tell that Mr. Youngblood is a witty, charming person who is friendly and must have been one heck of a storyteller.

I really enjoyed the little anecdotes the author shares with the readers. We get an intimate look into the Presidents private lives, into the halls of power and glimpses of conversation and personality quirks.

The book is very readable and highly enjoyable. Even though the book was written over 40 years ago, still reads fresh and true.
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Youngblood has an interesting career in and of itself but he also witnessed key parts of American history. This is definitely a book to read if you are interested in the more intimate sides of history. I wonder how much has changed today.
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I enjoyed this look into the career of a Secret Service agent. Mr. Youngblood comes across as a very dedicated professional, with a good sense of humor. He has been around since the Kennedy administration and dealt with that assassination. He served all the President's up through Nixon. What a career!
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This is surprisingly an engaging read. This is a reprint of a 1973 memoir. Rufus Youngblood's daughter found personal photographs going through her father's belongings after his 1996 death that showed him with several US presidents and felt the photos would add to his memoir. She was right.

Youngblood took the job as a Secret Service agent by chance, when jobs in his degreed field of engineering weren't to be found. He was a devoted agent who started out at the end of Harry Truman's administration in 1952 through and stayed through the Nixon years. He does not reveal anything too personal about any of the presidents. This is not a tell-all book. There are some funny incidents with Eisenhower and his love for golf, who got chased by a rogue golf cart, to the more intimate moments he shared with the Johnson family, with whom he stayed in contact with until Lady Bird's death. There are also a few incidents that he shares that deal with a few close calls with Kennedy and Nixon before they were presidents.

This is also not a book about Secret Service operations and tactics. Technology has deemed the tactics of the 1950s and 1960s outdated anyway. But one senses a turn to more serious and guilt-ridden after the assassination of President Kennedy. There were obviously some buildings along Kennedy's motorcade route that the service should have scrutinized better to avoid what happened. Many chapters are devoted to Kennedy's assassination, as that put a mark on the agency that still exists today.

Youngblood developed a personal relationship with Lady Bird and the Johnson family. He reveals some touching moments with them. He gives President Johnson a more personal image. He shows how Johnson learned to consider the agency as a necessary evil and see the men in the agency as devoted servants willing to die for him. This more compassionate side of Johnson is a side I have seldom seen in narratives about him.

The many photographs of Youngblood have historical significance. He served in the agency through some troubling times.

I received a free digital copy through Netgalley.
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Rufus Youngblood has written a epic account of 20 years through Presidential history. There is humor, a sense of pride, and of course the account of the horrible tragedy of President Kennedy. I recommend everyone should read this memoir and remember the dedication of the Secret Service.
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