Thursday, November 22, 2012

49th Anniversary of the Assassination of JFK


On this Thanksgiving Day, I am thankful for my remarkable two sons, my wonderful family, great friends, and the freedoms we are privileged to have in America. For my dear friend Clint Hill, today is also a solemn day, as he remembers that dreadful day in Dallas, 49 years ago, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

Last week, Clint Hill and I sat down with Bob Barnard of Fox5 News in Washington DC.  Please click on the link to watch. Former Secret Service agent recounts JFK assassination

As we have traveled around the country, Clint and I have had the privilege to meet many men and women who currently serve in the U.S. Secret Service.  We give thanks to them today, for their selfless duty and ceaseless dedication to protecting the president.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Travel Updates

Thank you so much to everyone who attended our recent event at the JFK Hyannis Museum in Hyannis, MA. We had a wonderful time meeting so many people with connections to and fond memories of the Kennedys. We would especially like to thank Ned and Charlie Crosby for arranging a very special boat tour for us in the same area where Clint used to take Mrs. Kennedy water skiing. Clint spent countless weekends in Hyannis protecting President Kennedy and the rest of the family as they sailed and enjoyed the waters of Cape Cod. You can see pictures from our time in Hyannis on our Facebook page.

As previously mentioned, we are on our way to Ravello, Italy, for the 50th anniversary of Jackie Kennedy's trip there. We will be hosted by Franco Nuschese. Stay tuned for pictures and stories!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Upcoming Trip to Ravello

We are so thrilled to announce that we are headed to Ravello, Italy to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Clint Hill and Mrs. Kennedy’s trip there!

At a recent benefit dinner for the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, we connected with Franco Nuschese, the owner of Café Milano, where the event was held. It turns out that Mr. Nuschese is from a town called Minori, which is located very close to Ravello. He is kindly hosting us at a reception on July 24, where we will do a slide show and video presentation for the people of Ravello. This will be our first international press event for Mrs. Kennedy and Me, and we are very excited about it.

You can see pictures from the event where we connected with Mr. Nuschese, and read a wonderful article about Mrs. Kennedy and Me, in Washington Life Magazine.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Jackie Kennedy Exhibit Opens Today

A summer exhibit called "Jackie Kennedy--Life on Cape Cod" opens today at the JFK Museum in Hyannis, MA. It includes photographs, letters, and artifacts from the time she spent in Hyannis throughout her life. You can find more information about the exhibit here.

We are looking forward to visiting Hyannis for a presentation and book signing on July 15. We will be participating in the JFK Hyannis Museum Speaker Series at the Fellowship Hall of the Federated Church, Main Street. Hope to see you there!

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Upcoming Book Signing Events

If you’d like to meet Clint Hill and me, please join us at one of our upcoming book signing events. We are traveling all over the country and look forward to meeting many Mrs. Kennedy and Me readers!

Here is where we will be in the next few months:

June 30: Newseum, Washington D.C., 2:30 p.m.
Interview and book signing, reservations required

July 12: Tattered Cover Book Store, Denver, CO, 7:30 p.m.
Presentation and book signing

July 15: JFK Hyannis Museum, Hyannis, MA, 4:00 p.m.
Fellowship Hall of the Federated Church, Main Street
Speaker Series—presentation and book signing

September 25-29: Norsk Hostfest, Minot, ND
Scandinavian-American Festival

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Remembering JFK's Final Birthday on the Yacht Sequoia

 Forty-nine years ago, on May 29, 1963, first Lady Jacqueline Kennedy wanted to celebrate President Kennedy's 46th birthday in a very special way.  She knew he was always happiest when he was on the water, and surrounded by family and friends, so she organized an evening cruise aboard the presidential yacht, U.S.S. Sequoia.

In his memoir, Mrs. Kennedy and Me (Gallery/Simon and Schuster, April 2012), Secret Service Agent Clint Hill remembers the evening in great detail.

It was a dreary, rainy evening, making the open-air top deck unusable, so everybody was crammed inside the main and aft salons.  While Agents Floyd Boring, Ron Pontius and I stood post on the exterior walkways, the guests inside dined on roast filet of beef and 1955 Dom Perignon champagne.  People were in lively spirits to begin with, and as the night wore on, and the champagne flowed, the party got louder and livelier. There were plenty of toasts, and after birthday cake at the dining table, the president opened presents in the aft salon. Then the dancing started.  They were doing the twist, the cha-cha, and everything in between.  I don't think I had ever seen the president and Mrs. Kennedy having more fun. . . Nobody wanted the night to end. 

Tonight, May 29, 2012, I am privileged to join Clint Hill as he relives that historic birthday party aboard the Sequoia for a special memorial cruise with distinguished guests.  I can hardly wait!

Check back here for details and photos tomorrow.

Happy Birthday, Mr. President.  Your legacy continues.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Mrs. Kennedy and Me #2 on NYTimes Best Seller List

Clint Hill and I had barely checked into our hotel in Dallas this afternoon when we got a call from our editor, Mitchell Ivers, at Gallery Books.  

"In its second week, Mrs. Kennedy and Me is #2 on the New York Times Best Seller List," he said. "Congratulations!"

We are here in Dallas for a presentation tomorrow, April 19, 2:00 pm at the Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza.  Mr. Hill and I are thrilled that people are enjoying the book and that his moving story is resonating with readers of all ages. 

We've been on a whirlwind book tour with stops in New York City, Kansas City, San Diego/La Jolla, San Francisco/Corte Madera, and now Dallas.  Up at 4:30 am for early morning live television interviews and going non-stop many days until 10:00 pm after a book signing event.  I am having a tough time keeping up with Mr. Hill!

We did have a breather yesterday while in Belvedere, CA and took this self-photo on a beautiful day with the San Francisco skyline in the background.  

Sunday, April 8, 2012

USA Today Picks Mrs. Kennedy and Me

USA Today Weekend Book Picks

What should you read this weekend? USA TODAY's picks for book lovers include a memoir by Jacqueline Kennedy's Secret Service agent, and two kids' baseball books just in time for the new season.
Mrs. Kennedy and Me
By Clint Hill with Lisa McCubbin; Gallery, $26; non-fiction
It's been like Camelot all over again lately, with a flurry of books about Jack and Jackie Kennedy hitting the best-seller lists.
Now comes a "charming" memoir from Clint Hill, the Secret Service agent who was assigned to protect the first lady. Hill, now 80, became world-famous as the agent seen frantically climbing onto the back of the presidential limo the day JFK was assassinated.
Hill's great affection for the first lady shines through.
USA TODAY says *** ½ out of four. "An insightful and lovingly penetrating portrait of the Jacqueline Kennedy that Hill came to know."

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Lisa McCubbin on Writing Clint Hill's Mrs. Kennedy and Me

On April 5, I squeezed in a quick interview with Arthur Kade at the Peninsula Hotel in New York City about what it was like to write the book, MRS. KENNEDY AND ME, with Secret Service Agent Clint Hill.  The laughter, the tears, and re-living the memories.

Arthur was delightful, and while he kept referring to Jacqueline Kennedy as "Jackie O,"  I think that by the end of the interview, he may have broken the habit.  For, to Clint Hill, she will forever be, "Mrs. Kennedy."

Friday, April 6, 2012

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Secret Service Agent Clint Hill on Today Show

Thank you to NBC's Savannah Guthrie and producer, Jennifer Long, from the Today Show for the respectful and beautiful story about Clint Hill and his memoir, MRS. KENNEDY AND ME.  Savannah and the rest of the crew from the show were true professionals.  As a former television news anchor and reporter, I know how stretched for time these people are, yet they clearly did their homework, came prepared to the interview, and put together a piece which is just as classy and elegant as Mrs. Kennedy herself.  Well done Today!

Click here to see the moving interview: 

Monday, April 2, 2012

USA Today gives Mrs. Kennedy and Me Stellar Review



‘Mrs. Kennedy’: A relationship of 

respect, protection, love

If you're a Kennedy vulture looking for scandalous scraps of hushed-up affairs, look elsewhere. Retired Secret Service Special Agent Clint Hill's charming insider's chronicle of the Kennedy years is more of aDriving Miss Daisy tale that contains lots of Secret Service logistical stories and daily-life anecdotes but few startling revelations.
Not that Hill drove Mrs. Kennedy much. His job was to protect her. But this account by the Secret Service agent seen in the Zapruder film frantically climbing onto the back of the presidential limo to shield JFK and the first lady on that fateful day in Dallas is more about how a relationship between two strikingly different people in close contact evolves into genuine intimacy.
When Hill, now 80, first met Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy in November 1960, JFK had just been elected president and "Jackie" was pregnant with their first child, Caroline. Jackie was a rich girl, Mrs. Potter's School, Vassar, the Sorbonne, equestrian, married to the junior U.S. senator from Massachusetts. Clint Hill was an adopted small-town North Dakota boy, normal '50s childhood, Concordia College in Minnesota.
Hill had served on President Eisenhower's Secret Service detail and figured this reassignment to protect the next first lady was a demotion — the "Kiddie Detail." Little did he know he'd soon be accompanying Mrs. Kennedy on trips worldwide as she redefined the role of the modern first lady.
While Mrs. Kennedy's beauty, grace, intelligence and spirit quickly captivated Hill, her insistence on privacy and trying to raise her children normally are what earned his respect. He writes that he "wasn't there to be her friend," but he became one of her most trusted friends. He never uses the word, but not only did he adore her, it's clear from his book that Hill (who was married) loved her.
Yet they never ventured beyond formality. He was always "Mr. Hill," she was always "Mrs. Kennedy."
What makes this memoir memorable is that Hill was always there as the Kennedy legend evolved. He was there for Caroline's first snowman, and John-John's birth, for Thanksgivings at Hyannis Port and Christmases at Palm Beach. When Jackie's horse threw her headfirst, he raced to her side. As more than a 100,000 people lined the streets in New Delhi waving miniature American flags and cheering her, he was scanning the crowd for potential dangers. When she needed a tennis opponent, he did the best he could in his dark suit and Florsheim wingtips. While many of the book's anecdotes have previously been reported, Hill owns the point-of-view advantage.
At times, it's easy to tell where Hill's voice ends and co-author Lisa McCubbin's voice begins, such as when describing what Jackie was wearing: "an ice-blue long-sleeved silk coat with a matching whimsical beret." But McCubbin, an award-winning journalist, undoubtedly helped Hill sustain the storytelling quality of the narrative.
Nowhere in the book does that quality become more intense and dramatic than the 25 pages describing the day of the assassination and the disturbing details of Hill's eyewitness account as he climbed across the back of the limousine after hearing the first shot and seeing the president reach for his throat. What Hill saw in those seconds would haunt him forever.
As for JFK's infidelities, Hill upholds the "secret" side of his service and never even mentions any scandals. Still, the book conveys a sense of honesty and proves to be an insightful and lovingly penetrating portrait of the Jacqueline Kennedy that Hill came to know.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Jacqueline Kennedy's historic trip to Pakistan 50 years ago today

Gordon Parks (WHACA) and Agent Clint Hill at the Khyber Pass
From the personal collection of Clint Hill
50 Years ago this week, Secret Service Agent Clint Hill was with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy in Pakistan.  Here is Agent Hill (right) at the Khyber Pass.

Click below to watch this terrific video of First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy's historic trip to India and Pakistan from the JFK Library.  It is amazing how much the world has changed.  In MRS. KENNEDY AND ME, Clint Hill describes this incredible trip--the sights, the sounds, the challenging adventures--and reminds us of the almost inconceivable impact Mrs. Kennedy had on foreign relations.  She was a true ambassador.

Jacqueline Kennedy's Historic Trip to Pakistan and India

Video courtesy of John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Click here to buy MRS. KENNEDY AND ME

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Publishers Weekly Reviews Mrs. Kennedy and Me

The reviews are beginning to come in.  Here's what the notoriously critical Publishers Weekly writes about Mrs. Kennedy and Me.
Mrs. Kennedy and Me:
An Intimate Memoir
In November 1960, Hill, who had been on President Eisenhower’s Secret Service detail, wasn’t looking forward to his new assignment—which he viewed as a demotion—of protecting Jacqueline Kennedy. But a disappointed Hill soon realized he was actually serving the president “by protecting the things that were most important to him, personally—his wife and his children.” Hill was completely won over by the first lady’s spontaneity, curiosity, sincerity, and joie de vivre. He accompanied her to Greece twice; on the first trip, in 1961, he was under strict if baffling instructions from JFK to keep his wife away from Aristotle Onassis. Hill was with Mrs. Kennedy on a Virginia hunt where she flew headfirst over her horse and a rail fence, through the death of infant Patrick and in Dallas when the president was assassinated. Hill is close-mouthed about JFK’s infidelities. His book is most valuable for his perceptive recall of the daily routine and problems faced by the Secret Service detail. This is a worshipful, competent insider’s glimpse of a matchless first lady whose diplomatic skills and glamour enabled her to do the unthinkable: briefly wrest the Mona Lisa from France. Photos. (Apr.)

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mrs. Kennedy and Me Gets Kirkus Star Review

Kirkus Star

The Kirkus Star

Awarded to books of remarkable merit

"Of the many words written about Jacqueline Kennedy, these are among the best."

Evocative memoir of guarding First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy through the young and sparkling years of the Kennedy presidency and the dark days following the assassination.

Secret Service Special Agent Hill had not looked forward to guarding Mrs. Kennedy. The action was with the president. But duty trumped preference, and he first met a young and pregnant soon-to-be First Lady in November 1960. For the next four years Hill would seldom leave her side. Theirs would be an odd relationship of always-proper formality combined with deep intimacy crafted through close proximity and mutual trust and respect. Hill was soon captivated, as was the rest of the world, by Mrs. Kennedy’s beauty and grace, but he saw beyond such glamour a woman of fierce intelligence and determination—to raise her children as normally as possible, to serve the president and country, to preserve for herself a playful love of life. Hill became a part of the privileged and vigorous life that went with being a Kennedy, and in which Jacqueline held her own. He traveled the world with her, marveling at the adulation she received, but he also shared the quiet, offstage times with her: sneaking a cigarette in the back of a limousine, becoming her unwilling and inept tennis partner. When the bullet ripped into the president’s brain with Hill not five feet away, he remained with her, through the public and private mourning, “when the laughter and hope had been washed away.” Soon after, both would go on with their lives, but Hill would never stop loving Mrs. Kennedy and never stop feeling he could have done more to save the president. With clear and honest prose free of salaciousness and gossip, Hill (ably assisted by McCubbin) evokes not only a personality both beautiful and brilliant, poised and playful, but also a time when the White House was filled with youth and promise.

Of the many words written about Jacqueline Kennedy, these are among the best.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Book of the Month Club Selection

Exciting news!  Mrs. Kennedy and Me by Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin has been selected by Book of the Month Club/Quality Paperbacks as a featured alternate in their early April 2012 catalog—and also a featured alternate of the Doubleday Book Club, the Literary Guild, and the History Book Club! 

But don't worry, if you're not a Book of the Month Club member, you can pre-order your copy now at:
Simon and Schuster
Barnes and Noble  or support my favorite independent booksellers: 
Anderson's Bookshop Naperville, IL 
Rainy Day Books 

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

In Memory of Secret Service Agent Jack Walsh

Jack Walsh, loyal agent to the Kennedy family was laid to rest today.

I had the wonderful opportunity to meet Jack Walsh in September 2011, just four months ago, when Clint Hill spoke at the JFK Presidential Library and Museum.  Director Tom Putnam had arranged for Mr. Hill and I to go to the private "family room" upstairs in the library prior to the presentation.

We had been there just a few minutes when a group of people walked in, and Clint's face lit up with a smile as he recognized his old friend, Jack Walsh, whom he hadn't seen in more than thirty years.

"John Frances Michael Walsh!" Hill exclaimed.

As we sat on the sofas, the Kennedy memorabilia all around us, Jack and Clint reminisced about funny stories in New York City and at Hyannis Port.  Jack spoke with that lilting Boston accent and had such an exuberant personality, it was easy to imagine him with Caroline and John as young children.  It was a memorable evening and what a special treat to be there as these two old friends reconnected.

Clint Hill joins me in expressing our deepest sympathies to the Walsh family.  For a touching tribute to Jack Walsh, read this article in today's Boston Globe. jack-walsh-secret-service-agent-who-guarded-jfk-family

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Recording History

Article in JFK Library Foundation LEGACY Magazine