Secret Service Books Read and Unread

Frustrated by book reviews.

October 22, 2014

I’m interested in the Secret Service. The logistics of protection (both people and the currency) are endlessly fascinating.  Perhaps it is because the Secret Service is at the top of the law enforcement status hierarchy. 

So I’m a natural candidate to read books about the Secret Service.  There are many of these books, and I’ll list them below, but I’m not buying them.  Why not?  The reviews.  The reviews are not that great.  

Books are mostly opportunity costs measured in units of time.  Booking reading time is zero sum.  The time spent to read one mediocre book will crowd out the reading of a wonderful book.  Maybe not an existential loss, but a loss nonetheless.

So I read book reviews.  I also listen to your recommendations.   I browse.  And if I find an author that I like I will read everything that she or he writes.  

Lately, I’ve been wondering if my book buying following book review reading strategy actually makes sense.   How many books should I be reading, books that I would really like if I took the time to read them, if I had overlooked a middling review?  How many books would I find that have never been reviewed?

The last positive review for a book on the Secret Service that I read came from Ben Dolnick’s NPR's review of the Mark Costello novel Big If .  

The review was written in October of 2014, the book was published in August of 2011.  I saw the review, immediately downloaded the Kindle version, and was done with the book by the end of the week.  Dolnick is right.  Big If is a great novel.  You should read it even if you are not as interested as I am about the Secret Service.

Here are the books on the Secret Service that I’m not reading due to the reviews.  Please tell me I’m wrong.  Tell me that I should read these Secret Service books.  Or suggest others to read:

The First Family Detail: Secret Service Agents Reveal the Hidden Lives of the Presidents by Ronald Kessler.  (August 2014).

Note, this books is an update of Kessler’s earlier 2009 book (which I also have not read), In the President's Secret Service: Behind the Scenes with Agents in the Line of Fire and the Presidents They Protect.

Within Arm's Length: A Secret Service Agent's Definitive Inside Account of Protecting the President by Dan Emmett (June 2014).

Standing Next to History: An Agent's Life Inside the Secret Service by Joseph Petro and Jeffrey Robinson (April 2007)

Inside Marine One: Four U.S. Presidents, One Proud Marine, and the World's Most Amazing Helicopter by Ray L'Heureux and Lee Kelley (Published in May of 2014).

What are you reading?


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