“It’s a strange twist that having spent my so-called prime years protecting political figures from death, I now spend a lot of time helping people surrender to it. But the impulse to protect and the impulse to bear witness come from the same place. I know those impulses come from God and God is love,” Jerry Parr writes in his epilogue in his book, In the Secret Service – The True Story of the Man who Saved President Reagan’s Life. At three hundred and twenty-six pages, this paperback book is targeted toward readers who are interested in the United States’ Secret Service and its undying vow to protect our president. Told from a Christian viewpoint, there is no profanity, sex or extreme violence so any mature teenager and older may enjoy it. Also included are eight pages of colored photographs, a copy of a letter the author wrote about the shooting, acknowledgements, a timeline, chapter notes, and index. This reader wishes all pronouns of God were capitalized for reverence. Although Jerry Parr is no fictional James Bond, his life as a Secret Service Agent for America during the rocky nineteen sixties to nineteen nineties is a true testament of his devotion and love of protecting others. Ironically watching a Ronald Reagan movie about the Secret Service, the eight year old child of the Depression never knew what adventures were ahead of him serving our country. Working his way up the ranks as an older agent, he witnessed and was a part of history. After protecting Lee Harvey Oswald’s mother and wife in Texas after John F. Kennedy was killed, he was assigned to several vice presidents including Johnson, Humphrey, Agnew, Ford, and Mondale. He also worked at the Foreign Dignitary Protective Division where he protected Jordan’s King Hussein and others. Towards the end of his career, he was on the presidential detail that covered Presidents Carter and Reagan. The book does not overly focus on the attempted assassination of President Reagan but explains how Parr dealt with the guilt of the man being injured on his watch. Having been to six continents setting up “advances,” dined with dignitaries, and known presidents and their personalities intimately, he shows how he went from protecting others to helping with the sick deal with end-of-life issues during his retirement years. As the writer confirms God was there, right by his side, during all the frightening, interesting, and sometimes comical experiences of an agent’s life, the reader is captivated with the inner circle details of the Secret Service and how one man viewed the world that surrounded him. This book was furnished by Tyndale House Publishing in lieu of an unbiased review.
The book Inside the Secret Service with Jerry Parr is an informative book in two parts. In the first part of the book, Parr tells about how he got to the Secret Service. He tells us about his life growing up and his time in the Air Force. In the first part, Parr treats his readers to some inside views of the different presidents, vice presidents, and others he helped protect. He also gives us a pretty good idea of what life is like as a secret service agent. Parr tells his readers about the differences in how protectees interacted with their agents and their families. We learn who tried to make holidays and special occasions away from home and family a little more bearable and which protectees seemed to be oblivious to the situation. Parr tells us about his interactions with protectees such as Yasser Arafat and Anwar Sadat. We are given some insight into what it was like to protect Jimmy Carter who did not want to disappoint the people who wanted to see him and would often put himself in harm’s way. Parr also describes in detail the day Regan was shot. He tells of previous encounters with the would-be assassin, John Hinckley, Jr. He gives readers details about what happened inside the limo and what decisions were made and why. We hear that Parr’s wife Carolyn was working across the street from where the assassination attempt took place. Readers learn what she went through as she and her coworkers tried to ascertain what happened to her husband Jerry. Nowhere in this book does it appear to this poor redneck that Parr is trying to toot his own horn or embellish. If anything, he seems to downplay his role in the entire incident. The second part of the book gives us insight into Parr’s life after the Secret Service. It tells of his ministry and his walk with God. Don’t get me wrong, the adventure is not over when he retires from the service. In fact, Parr has an adventure that is on the action adventure level of the Secret Service without the backup of SWAT teams, police, and dozens of other agents. Parr tells us how a tiny woman takes on a heavily armed detachment of armed men in a third world country, and wins. This book is worlds different from Standing Next to History by Joseph Petro. Petro gives his readers a fascinating account of his life in the secret service. Petro took over the Presidential Protection Detail (PPD) sometime after Jerry Parr left it. The two books, In the Secret Service and Standing Next to History, complement one another without much duplication of information. One of these books was written by the father of a little girl whose “Daddy works at the airport.” Find out which one. Book Review Policy Our policy on book or other product reviews is to give our readers/viewers our honest opinion of the book or product. From time to time, publishers and or manufacturers or other product representatives will give us a copy of their product free for the purpose of writing a review. In this case, we were given the book by the publisher Tyndale through their Tyndale rewards program. No review, positive or otherwise, was required. We are under no obligation to write a positive review. There have been occasions when we have written a negative review after having been given a product. We often provide links to products on Amazon.com where our readers/viewers can make a purchase and help support the continued operation of this blog. We strongly encourage you to check out your local library. Many libraries now offer free electronic borrowing. We are disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 http://www.access.gpo.gov/nara/cfr/waisidx_03/16cfr255_03.html Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” We obtained this product from the publisher, Tyndale. Tyndale made this available through their Tyndale Rewards program. This did not influence our opinion or review in anyway.