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Protecting the Presidential Candidates (ePub)

From JFK To Biden

Frontline eBooks Politics American History

By Mel Ayton
Frontline Books
File Size: 7.0 MB (.epub)
Pages: 376
Illustrations: 16 black and white illustrations
ISBN: 9781399014090
Expected Re-release Date: 29th September 2021

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Protecting the Presidential Candidates is the first book of its kind to examine how presidents and presidential candidates were protected during the presidential election cycles – from JFK to Biden. It is also the first book of its kind to tell the story of the role of state troopers and private bodyguards in protecting presidential candidates.

Protection for candidates changed and evolved from the free-wheeling style of the 1950s and early 1960s, which afforded presidential candidates little or no protection, to the growth of bodyguard personnel, increased intelligence facilities and state of the art technology employed today to keep the candidates safe. Presidential candidates relish connecting with the public and it has given greater visibility to the bodyguards who are willing to place themselves between a presidential candidate and a would-be attacker.

In the milieu in which the Secret Service operates, bodyguards have witnessed the terrors of election campaigns when presidential candidates have waded into crowds to shake hands with their supporters, rode in open-top cars, and made sudden but risky changes to their schedules – oblivious to the fact that in every campaign there have been people stalking candidates with ill intent.

Many stories revealed in Protecting the Presidential Candidates have remained largely hidden from the public; some buried in newspaper archives and others in oral histories, presidential libraries or official government documents. The author draws on numerous sources, including FBI files, presidential biographies, vice presidential biographies, civilian bodyguard memoirs, Secret Service agent memoirs, White House staff memoirs and more so that these stories can now be told.

The book also allows readers to gain an insight into the personal as well as professional relationships between the candidate and the bodyguards who protected them. Some candidates were so trusting of their bodyguards they embraced them as part of an ‘inner circle’ of advisers. Bodyguards have also witnessed embarrassing moments in a candidate’s campaign and how intrusive they have been at the most delicate of moments. ‘The president’s day is your day,’ one agent said. 'Nobody sees the president the way an agent does.'

This was really interesting and I found it very informative. There was a lot I did not know even of current events.

I really recommend this and will be getting it for my husband for Christmas.

NetGalley, Caroline Wright

There are a handful of investigative historians, like author Mel Ayton, who are best known for their unique insights into American history. What is particularly remarkable about Ayton is that he is a British scholar who is widely admired and respected as one of the top experts in the world on the protection of U.S. presidential candidates. His latest work, Protecting the Presidential Candidates: From JFK to Biden, is the third in his wonderfully researched and brilliantly written series of books about this fascinating subject. And it is Ayton’s best and most important work to date.

Dan E. Moldea, author of The Hoffa Wars and The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy

With Protecting the Presidential Candidates, Mel Ayton takes a deep dive into the intersection between law enforcement and politics. Through meticulous research and compelling, character-driven stories, Ayton shows us that both running for President of the United States, and protecting those who do, are among the riskiest and most unpredictable pursuits in modern American life. An important contribution to the literature of the Secret Service and presidential politics.

John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Authors of Mindhunter and The Killer’s Shadow

The book shares very intimate details of assassination attempts on candidates, which makes for a very interesting read. It also shows how the secret service has evolved over the last more than half century to respond to increasing threats of violence.

Ayton shares a good mix of both positive and negative accounts of all of the presidential candidates, including some light hearted stories about those candidates who wanted to invite their teams to dinner or learn about their families. One warning though, for any people who are devout fans of Hillary, you may not like the chapter dedicated to the Clintons. Well within his right, Ayton shares accounts from the secret service that don’t do a lot of justice to the former president and First Lady.

I think Ayton does a really wonderful job sharing with the world what it’s like to be a secret service agent in charge of protecting people who experience violent threats every single day. This is definitely worth a read, if you’re interested in politics.

NetGalley, Alexis Forgit

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Fantastic what can I say, now downloading the JFK assassination dispelling the myths. Mel you have a forever fan in me!

NetGalley, Michelle Coates

With Protecting the Presidential Candidates, Mel Ayton takes a deep dive into the intersection between law enforcement and politics. Through meticulous research and compelling, character-driven stories, Ayton shows us that both running for President of the United States, and protecting those who do, are among the riskiest and most unpredictable pursuits in modern American life. An important contribution to the literature of the Secret Service and presidential politics.

-- John Douglas and Mark Olshaker,, Authors of Mindhunter and The Killer’s Shadow

Olivia Camozzi-Jones

About Mel Ayton

Mel Ayton has a master's degree in history from Durham University and is a former US Fulbright Teacher, deputy principal and college lecturer. He has worked as a historical consultant for the BBC, NBC News, National Geographic Channel and the Discovery Times Channel. Ayton’s books and articles have received praise from numerous media outlets including Fox News, The Michael Medved Show, The Peter Boyles Show, The Daily Express, The Daily Mail, USA Today, The New York Observer, TIME magazine, The Pittsburgh Tribune, The New York Post, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper and George Mason University's History News Network. His work has also been favourably reviewed by leading true crime authors Max Holland, David Aaronovitch, Gus Russo, Dan Moldea, Mark Olshaker, John Douglas, Professor John McAdams and Harvard Professor Emeritus Alan Dershowitz. In December 2011 California’s Deputy Attorney General, Jamie Fuster, requested Ayton’s assistance in preparing a brief challenging Sirhan Sirhan’s claim that he is innocent of the murder of Senator Robert F. Kennedy. The California courts eventually dismissed Sirhan’s request in 2015.

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