Category: Journals

1The workplace in a sense becomes a second home to the majority of us, and for some of us, they become even closer to us than those with whom we have a biological link. But what happens when you’re an agent in the Secret Service?  There is no set eight-hour workday for agents assigned to the first family. Instead, their hours are often unpredictable, long and extremely fatiguing. Nevertheless, the agents do their jobs to the best of their abilities and in the process create bonds with the members of the first family that sometimes remain in place many years after their service has ended.  Clint Hill, long retired from the Secret Service, is best remembered by many people from the Zapruder film, in which he is the sole agent that attempts to come to the aid of the president as jumps on the back of the motorcade as the Secret Service transports a mortally wounded John F. Kennedy to Parkland Memorial Hospital.  He has written several books on his time as a Secret Service agent with several presidents and the events that took place during that fateful trip to Dallas, Texas.  This is his memoir of his time with the former first lady and the relationship that developed.

The book begins as the JFK wins the election becoming the president-elect.  Hill, who previously served Dwight Eisenhower is assigned to guard Mrs. Kennedy.  At first, we see that he’s not thrilled with the assignment, but as we follow Mrs. Kennedy and Hill on their journey, we come to see that it was nothing short of incredible.  And even years later, the news of her death proves to be as much of a devastating blow as JFK’s death decades earlier. As Hill admits himself, he never fully recovered from Dallas and other agents handed in their resignations, unable to cope with what now be classified as post-traumatic stress disorder.  Cigarettes and alcohol become his sedatives of choice but remarkably, he was able to transform those dreadful memories into several well-written books about the personal lives of the first couple.

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, later Onassis, is still recalled as one of the finest first ladies to have ever occupied the White House.  Fluent in several languages, physically agile and highly intellectual,  her poise has been unmatched by many with the possible exception of the current first lady who will depart the White House at the end of year.  For year following JFK’s death, the press continued to follow her and her every move  garnered attention from all over.  In some places, it could  be argued that she might have been even more popular than JFK himself.  Through Hill’s memories, we are able to see her private side; fun-loving, cigarette smoking, thrill taking and highly personal, genuinely concerned about the privacy of her children.   Attempting to live as close to a “normal” life as possible, she takes great strains and places upon Hill, great burdens to maintain the strictest levels of privacy throughout their tenure together.  A monumental feat without question, but time and time again, Hill comes through earning the respect and permanent trust of the first lady.

True friendship is not easy to come by. But during his time as the protector of the first lady, he becomes one of her closest friends and confidants and the memories he shares are that of a man who truly enjoyed his job and lives with those moments, good and bad, every day of his life.

ISBN-10: 1451648464
ISBN-13: 978-1451648461

Journals

bolivian diaryOctober 8, 2017 will mark 50 years since Ernesto “Che” Guevara died in the jungles of Bolivia as he attempted to spread revolutionary ideology throughout Latin America.  The legendary and iconic symbol for revolution around the world became a martyr in the process and to this day, his image can be found on posters, hats, shirts and even coffee mugs.  His final campaign to bring revolution to Bolivia and the tragic fate that awaited him is one of the defining stories of the 20th century.  Guevara, the razor-sharp Argentine intellectual, posed a threat to the dominance of imperialism throughout Latin America and in particular was a deadly threat to the business interests of United States businessmen.  His death brings a sigh of relief to many governments around the world and deals a devastating blow the Castro regime in Cuba.  Che, although no longer legally a citizen of Cuba at that point, is finally returned home 30 years after his death, when he is returned with several other revolutionaries in 1997 and buried in Santa Clara.

Che was known to be meticulous at taking notes and the hundreds of pages of notes he took during the Cuban Revolution and his time in Congo have both been turned into books.  This is the authorized collection of the journal entries he made during this last campaign.  Some of the notes have been withheld by the Bolivian government for unknown reasons but the majority of Che’s notes have survived and are included here.  Introductions by Fidel Castro and Che’s oldest son Camilo are also included, giving the book a more sentimental feeling. In comparison to his prior journals, the notes here are small in number but in them we are able to see the difficulties faced by Che and his entourage as they try to replicated the success in Cuba.  Malaria, edema of the extremities, famine, distrust and various other conditions and ailments plague the group from the start decreasing the chances of success.  But in the face of adversity, Che continues as the master organizer focused on his goal to spread revolution throughout the continent.

Huey P. Newton once said that the first thing a revolutionary must understand is that he is doomed from the start.   Che’s mission in Bolivia bore the markings of one of impending doom, but his commitment to his unwavering goal of eradicating imperialism, compelled him to push forward in spite of dire warnings.  Towards the end of the campaign, he acknowledges the horrendous condition the group is in but we can only speculate as to what thoughts went through his mind as he awaited his fate at the hands of the Bolivian Army and U.S. Central Intelligence Agency.   He left behind a former wife, widow and five children.  His widow Aleida, son Camilo and second daughter Aleida Guevara March have carried on his legacy.  His writings and speeches will continue to remain with us as an example of one of the world’s sharpest minds gone far too soon.  But although he is gone, left behind journals such as this that give us a glimpse into the most critical moments of his life.

ISBN-10: 1920888241
ISBN-13: 978-1920888244

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