10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
I had bought a few books to read this anniversary week and weekend about John Kennedy and the assassination. I read a few but realised just why I saved "Five Days in November", by Clint Hill and Lisa McCubbin, to read tonight. It is a stunningly beautifully produced book - full of pictures - with just the right amount of text to bring the memories of that horrible weekend to life.
Clint Hill was 31 years old in 1963 and had been one the Secret Service agents assigned to guard Jacqueline Kennedy since the inauguration nearly three years before. She called him "Mr Hill" and he called her "Mrs Kennedy"; the respect they held for each other was real. He was the agent who had leaped onto the back of the car, pushing Jacqueline back into the car as she was reaching for a piece of the president's skull. He has lived the last 50 years wondering why he wasn't fast enough to save the president.
The text of the book looks at the four days - from leaving the White House on Nov 21st, a happy President and First Lady - to returning the following night with the presidential casket through the weekend and then the President's funeral and procession. The pictures are not captioned but the text accompanying them are all the explanation needed.
I usually write much longer and detailed reviews. I can't do that with this book tonight. Just please take my word that this is a book worth reading and keeping.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 24 November 2013
"Five Days in November" by Clint Hillbook is book that brings extensive story about the murder that shocked the whole world.
The story is told by Secret Service Agent Clint Hill who, in the recording of the event since then, was seen by the billion viewers jumping on the back of the presidential limousine in a desperate attempt to protect the JFK and his wife.
What makes this book different in relation to a number of previously issued books on same theme is that it provides first-person details of that horrible day that marked world history, together as never seen before pictures.
The author managed to create book that is intimate, touching and powerful, but also completely and authentically covered story made in documentary style.
That way, he has succeeded to bring his story of these unfortunate five days closer to younger readers which this year yet hasn't been born.
On the other hand, a reader shouldn't expect to read the book to be able to find out who is really behind the JFK assassination; there are no conspiracy theories inside or some new details that completely change the perception of the reader what happened that day.
Instead the reader is able to read the story of a man who somehow feels guilty having failed to prevent the tragedy, although his guilt for that is irrational.
And therefore he feels the need to publicly present all that has changed his life from that day, but also the lives of other Americans and people around the world.
Due to that his extensive, warm, human, but also documentary accurate work can certainly be recommended for reading...
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 January 2015
This book by Clint Hill is an expansion of his 2012 offering, ‘Mrs Kennedy and Me’. In that publication he provided an extensive overview of his entire career in the Secret Service. He dealt with the assassination in only three chapters. In ‘Five Days In November’, he (and his co-writer, Lisa McCubbin) devote the entire book to the event.
Readers seeking a detailed rendering and analysis of the assassination will not find it here, however. Hill offers no views on the arcane matters of ballistics, medical evidence or the assassin. Clint Hill confines his writing to only the events that he was involved in and that he had first-hand knowledge of. He didn’t investigate the crime; he became ‘collateral damage’ as a result of it.
In many ways this book reads like diary. Beginning with the departure from the White House the day before the assassination, Agent Hill offers intimate insights into his thoughts, words and deeds.
He was responsible for the personal protection of Mrs Kennedy and the bulk of the narrative revisits his interactions with her.
The Dallas trip turns from triumph to tragedy when Oswald opens fire. The lives of millions are affected and changed forever. Clint Hill was affected more profoundly than most.
The anguish that he and his fellow agents went through began even before the speeding motorcade reached Parkland hospital. Hill could see that JFK was already dead and, with a thumbs-down sign to the follow-up car, he made his fellow agents aware of the disaster that had befallen them and the world.
From here on, the book is emotionally highly charged. Hill struggles mightily to retain his professionalism as the normal, human emotions of guilt, loss and anger rage within him. His sense of ‘failure’ permeates much of what follows.
To the outsider, such a sense of ‘guilt’ seems hugely misplaced. Hill and his colleagues could have done nothing to prevent Oswald’s cowardly attack. Oswald was hidden from their view and he shot JFK in the back.
Hill’s reaction was conspicuously brave and, for all he knew or cared, more bullets might have been coming. He risked his life, but it was in vain.
The book is replete with photographs and those which cover the lying-in-State and funeral are especially poignant. The accompanying text reveals Clint Hill at his lowest ebb. He suffered greatly.
‘Five Days In November’ is an intimate and powerful narrative of one man’s nightmare made real. It’s a fascinating read.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 5 February 2014
Mr Hill, the CIA protection officer who jumped on the back of the JFK car to protect the president and Jackie was a real hero, now read HIS story.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 16 January 2014
Other than the occupants of the car, few were closer to JFK than Special Agent Clint Hill on November 22 1963 as the shots rang out in Dealey Plaza. Hill to this day remains haunted by the event. This book is a personal narrative - making it unusual when compared to the majority of books on the assassination.
I have read extensively on the JFK case and must say I found several interesting observations here that were new to me - which is hardly surprising as after all Clint Hill has remained fairly quiet on the details of the case over the last 50 years.
Hill claims he only heard 2 of the shots and that the first shot did hit Kennedy - making the time span very short - some 5.2 seconds. This is contrary to the now widely held theory that the first shot was fired earlier just after the turn onto Elm Street giving an 8 to 9 second time span for all the shots - a less remarkable feat.
Hill is keen to stress that being there on that day allows a much clearer understanding of what happened and he stresses that he does not believe in the conspiracy theories that populate the JFK assassination "world". Personally I think he is probably right, but this book is not about conspiracy theories nor about alleged assassin Lee Harvey Oswald, its about the five days in November that Clint Hill lived and indeed lived in horror on arriving in Texas and from the moment that the last shot struck JFK to the funeral in Washington on Monday 25th November 1963.
I held back from 5 stars because Hill sets up a conundrum in his final chapter. He believes Governor Connally was hit by the second shot rather than the Single Bullet Theory which states that the same bullet caused the wound of JFK and Connally - due to the simple fact that Oswald's rifle could not be fired twice within the short space of time in the Zapruder film where we see JFK and Connally react to being shot within a second of each other - too fast for Oswald's rifle to be fired twice.
Either one bullet went through both men or two shooters were involved and Hill believing that Oswald alone shot JFK effectively presents an impossible scenario. It would be my opinion (having interviewed people who witnessed that assassination although in 1983) that Hill did not hear an earlier missed shot and that in fact his opinion that Connally was hit by a second shot is simply wrong. But that aside you have to respect the man, he was the only Secret Service man to react to the shots in time to have a chance of making a difference and he almost did. He came very close to being hurled into the road as the limo sped off, but managed to hold on and he is here fifty years on to tell his side of the story and that is there were three shots fired from above and behind him at 1230 local time, Dealey Plaza, Dallas, Texas November 22 1963.
Highly recommended for those with an interest in the case. For those wanting more detail, you can do no better than "The Kennedy Assassination" by British academic Peter Knight.
on 10 May 2014
I have always been interested in JFK as he died before I was born, but yet my parents generation loved him. The book isn't a work of literary genius, but the story is simply told by the Secret Service man that was there and from the heart. If you are interested in this peace of US history - it's a good easy read.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 18 June 2014
A work very much of its time, and the product of a ghost writer, here is SA Clint Hill reassuring us that all was well, except that the President got shot dead. Mrs Kennedy liked Hill and we should too. But the Secret Service apparently did its best (I don't think) and were all dedicated men (I don't think).
Fine, but while I find myself liking Hill he was either naïve (which I doubt) or not in the Secret Service loop (which I suspect was true). You have to read this if you are an assassination historian/nerd (whichever fits) but make sure you read everything else. Like 'The Kennedy Detail' this is not revealing truth, just a personal story which has to be taken with the proverbial pinch of salt. It is a revealing smokescreen and why am I not surprised?
on 27 November 2014
From the man who really was right there at the time, hanging off the back of the car that was carrying the remains of JFK. A book of real power and great sadness. A would recomend to anyone who has an interest in JFK.
on 7 March 2014
Although there is understandably a repeat of some of the material in 'Mrs. Kennedy & me' by the same author, this book is a very good read. So absorbing, I found it difficult to put down! Highly recommended.
on 13 January 2014
First hand account of the assassination of JFK from Clint Hill, who witnessed the events. Superb re-telling, well presented and good photos.