A couple of weeks ago, I was driving into work listening to the morning program on WMAL 630 here in the DC area. One of the in studio guests on this particular program was Del Quintin Wilber, author of the book "Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan." Since I consider Reagan to be the best president of my lifetime, I listened to the segment a little more closely that I usually do.
Wilber has been a reporter for various newspapers, most recently The Washington Post. He described how he came to write the book. If nothing else, Wilber is an excellent story teller. As I drove to work, I was riveted by the way he described the events of the assassination attempt by John Hinkley. He told how each split second decision helped to save Ronald Reagan's life. I knew after listening to him speak, that "Rawhide Down" would be the next book that I would download on my Kindle.
I was not disappointed. I was 20 years old when Reagan was shot. My recollections of the incident were that his life was never in serious jeopardy. However, "Rawhide Down" describes in tremendous detail how close Reagan came to dying on that day 30 years ago. It also gives us some more insight of the personality and character of the man. Reagan's presidency has been described as the most scripted in US history, but "Rawhide Down" shows us a great deal about Reagan in its descriptions of his words and actions in those unscripted moments.
As I said, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the life and legacy of Ronald Reagan and his presidency. That respect and admiration is only enhanced by my reading of "Rawhide Down." I highly recommend the book to anybody who admires Reagan or wants to know more of the history of our country. It is an intense and exciting narrative on a par with the most intense thriller as opposed to a dry historical narrative.