Rawhide Down: How We Almost Lost Yet Another President to An Assassin's Bullet

(photo credit: Ron Edmonds/AP)

From a young age, I was attracted to politics. I remember rooting for Gerald Ford vs. Carter while still in elementary school. I remember Carter crying at his loss to Reagan. And even though I couldn’t vote for Reagan in either 1980 or 1984, I was a supporter so to speak. In fact, I joined the Army Reserve partly due to patriotism, a spirit that Reagan seemed to help stir up during his presidency.

Del Quentin Wilber’s book informed me about things regarding this attempt on Reagan’s life and his presidency that I did not know. I remember the attempt on his life but I had no idea how close we came to losing him until reading this book. Also, I was shocked to see how close that attempt was to the assassination of J.F.K. I recalled that James Brady was forever changed by the bullet that struck his brain, however, Rawhide Down goes into details about his injuries and how that evolved into the controversial Brady Bill. Reagan was transformative as a president but it didn’t occur to me how much public goodwill he earned as a result of this horrible day in his life and in the life of the nation.

Reagan’s demeanor in the hours, days and weeks after he was shot surprised, pleased and inspired a nation that was relieved that they did not lose yet another president to an assassin’s bullet. It is quite likely, as Wilber recounts in his book, that Reagan wouldn’t have been as successful or as popular as he was if it weren’t for Hinckley’s actions. I guess it could be said, what Hinckley meant for evil, God used it for good in Reagan’s presidency.

Speaking of God, both Reagan and the Secret Service agent in charge that day felt that God had a purpose. Read what Reagan thought that purpose was and how he sought to change the world thereby. Also, read how an agent found renewed purpose for his life after retirement borne out of this life-transforming experience.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in politics or history. Whether the reader likes Reagan, loathes him or even has a grudging respect for him, this book is a good read. I trust each one who reads it will be grateful that Reagan is not remembered as yet another president lost to an assassin.

My review on Amazon

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