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Del Quentin Wilber spins quite a yarn with “Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan”. This is a detailed telling of the story and a page turner at that. Wilber has, in the process, done a great service to readers by revealing current information about the attack not readily available at the time. The chapters on the attack, the trip to the hospital, the surgeons’ work and surrounding circumstances is particularly exciting. The author, to me at least, seems to admire Reagan and some who did not care for him or his policies might be put off. However, if one will just read the story much can be learned. The reading of Jason Culp is very good.
10 of 10 people found this review helpful
First of all, let me say that this was a fantastic read. Very, very interesting stuff.
The background information on Hinckley was very interesting. I knew the guy was enamored with Jodi Foster, but I had no idea that he had actually left things for her at Yale and called her and spoke to her at her dorm numerous times. The story of him "stalking" Jimmy Carter was also news to me.
The details surrounding the assassination attempt were very thorough, and told from various points of view. Reagan's sense of humor during the whole ordeal was something else. The book brought out a wide range of emotions for me, from sadness at the unfortunate outcome for Jim Brady to chuckles at Reagan's comments to the medical staff throughout his stay.
I was glad they had so much information and detail regarding Reagan's surgery itself, as it is always interesting to learn how doctors/surgeons make the decisions that they do.
The other big surprise is to realize how far we've come, technology-wise, since 1981. The inability to reach George Bush during his flight and other "communication" issues are almost unbelievable in today's world of texting, cell phones and the internet.
The only criticism is that the book is too short. I almost did a double-take in my car when the readers said "Epilogue.....". I couldn't believe it was over. I was very surprised that there was nothing written from Jodi Foster's perspective. Apparently the author didn't (or couldn't) interview her. And although the author described the early parts of Hickley's interrogation, there was very little detail after the authorities identified the motive for the crime.
As I stated at the beginning - a very enthusiastic thumbs up from this reader! Trust me - you won't regret reading this one......
5 of 5 people found this review helpful
This is an uneven book about an American President I'd rather underrated - until now. It's emphasis flits from Secret Service agents, the President himself, his would-be assassin, Reagan's political team and the hospital medical staff. But the overriding impression is of the humanity (and humility) of the President himself. I now understand why he is such a popular figure there to this day.