14 Popular Secret Service Books

The Secret Service is one of the most well-known government organizations in the world. Though they are often in the public eye, there is a lot about the Secret Service that remains hidden.

In fact, there are many interesting facts and untold stories about this agency that people don't know.

Check out this list of 14 secret service books for a closer look at this fascinating organization.

Secret Service Books

1. The Kennedy Detail: JFK's Secret Service Agents Break Their Silence

The Kennedy Detail

Written by: Gerald Blaine & Lisa McCubbin

Published: 2010

Pages: 427

It's no secret that John F. Kennedy's assassination has been the subject of countless books and documentaries over the years. Many people are still fascinated by what happened on that day in Dallas and the details surrounding JFK's death. This book gives us an inside look at the Secret Service agents responsible for protecting JFK from the inside.

Blaine and his fellow agents have finally decided to break their silence and share their stories about what happened behind the scenes on that fateful day. This book is sure to provide some new insights into one of America's most controversial moments. The Kennedy Detail also includes photographs to give you a better vision of this terrible event.

2. Riding With Reagan: From the White House to the Ranch

Riding With Reagan

Written by: John R. Barletta

Published: 2005

Pages: 256

John R. Barletta chronicles his experiences as a member of President Reagan's Secret Service detail. Barletta rode shotgun with Reagan during some of the most historical moments of his presidency, including his trips to China and the Soviet Union and his legendary visit to cowboy country at the ranch in Santa Barbara, California.

Barletta describes what it was like to be part of Reagan's inner circle and shares some never-before-heard stories about one of America's most beloved presidents. From the Challenger disaster to the fall of the Berlin Wall, Barletta was there for it all.

3. Secret Service Dogs: The Heroes Who Protect the President of the United States

Secret Service Dogs

Written by: Maria Goodavage and a foreword by Clint Hill

Published: 2016

Pages: 304

The Secret Service employs a variety of dogs to protect the President of the United States. These furry heroes are highly trained and critical in presidential security. In this fun and thrilling book, Goodavage highlights the heroic work of these extraordinary dogs.

The book is full of amazing stories about how these dogs have helped keep the president safe. Readers will learn about the different breeds used by the Secret Service, as well as some of their most exciting exploits. If you're fascinated by presidential history and want to learn more about the Secret Service's K-9 unit, then this book is for you!

4. Standing Next to History: An Agent's Life Inside the Secret Service

Standing Next to History

Written by: Joseph Petro & Jeffrey Robinson

Published: 304

Pages: 2005

John Petro worked for over 23 years in the Secret Service and served numerous presidents. He's experienced some of the worst, but he's also seen the humanity of our presidents, their families, and their staff. This book writes specifically about his four years serving under President Reagan.

This book will keep you on the edge of your seat as you read about training for assassination attempts over and over to make sure they could master any situation. He was chosen as the lead Secret Service member to protect Pope John Paul during his visit to the USA. And, most amazingly, he is one of only three people in the world that was at the meeting when Mickael Gorbachev and Ronald Reagan met and ended the Cold War. You will feel like you are standing right beside him as you read this thrilling memoir.

5. Breaking Tecumseh's Curse: The Real-life Adventures of the U.S. Secret Service Agent Who Tried to Change Tomorrow

Breaking Tecumseh's Curse

Written by: Jan Marie Ritter & Bob Ritter

Published: 2013

Pages: 352

Unlike most other books on this list, this is about love, relationships, the secret service, and written through a husband and wife. Even though Bob Ritter was in the Secret Service and has many stories to tell, this book takes a slightly different perspective as it also looks at what it is like being the wife of an agent.

Meanwhile, Jan Marie understands the job's needs that are so dangerous, but she also wants to have a loving family, as does Bob. The narrative, which intertwines those two stories, is enthralling; since Bob worked from 1972 to 1982, he dealt with some of the most challenging assignments. That is where the push and pull of family vs. work are so exciting and enthralling. You will want to read this book so you can see how they help break "Tecumseh's Curse" and build a solid and loving family at the same time.

6. Zero Fail: The Rise and Fall of the Secret Service

Zero Fail

Written by: Carol Leonnig

Published: 2021

Pages: 492

Initially started in 1865, the Secret Service didn't really come into its own until the assassination of John F. Kennedy. At that point, the service became one of the most prestigious law enforcement enterprises in the USA. You will get insights into assassination attempts, 9/11, and more that these agents had to deal with over the years.

However, this has slowly worn away, and it is now showing how, even with a budget of over 2 billion dollars, they are outdated and make mistakes. Sadly, instead of being well-coordinated at this point, infighting, disputes, and racial issues have caused these problems—seeing inside this organization in a way that others have been able to make this book so unique.

7. In the Secret Service: The True Story of the Man Who Saved President Reagan's Life

In the Secret Service

Written by: Jerry Parr & Carolyn Parr

Published: 2013

Pages: 326

Could you imagine being right beside President Ronald Reagan when John Hinckley, Jr stepped forward and attempted to assassinate him? Well, Jerry Parr was right there, so he can give you the inside scoop. However, the story is more than that as you get to see what it is like being in the secret service and his way of navigating the job and the people he’s hired to protect.

He and his wife Carolyn relate how instead of being a hero, you are hopefully never noticed or needed to be in the public eye. Because, if you are, you have failed at your mission. Even though his work with President Reagan is the focus, there is so much more to this man as he worked for other presidents. Even beyond that, when he retired, he and Carolyn started working to help the homeless, orphans in El Salvador, people living with AIDS, and more. After reading this book, you will realize those quiet people can sometimes be the most prominent heroes.

8. Mrs. Kennedy and Me: An Intimate Memoir

Mrs. Kennedy and Me

Written by: Clint Hill & Lisa McCubbin

Published: 2012

Pages: 343

Although the assassination of John F. Kennedy is a sadly familiar story, most people know little about the life of his wife, Jacqueline Kennedy. Clint Hill was one of the first Secret Service agents assigned to protect Jackie Kennedy, and he remained at her side for the duration of her husband's presidency. In this book, you will get an eye-opening look at one of America's most iconic first ladies.

Drawing on previously unpublished personal recollections, Hill and McCubbin paint a rich portrait of JFK's widow. Instead of just being the woman that most of us think we know, Jackie was irreverent, funny, and very eclectic. As would be expected, it also goes into the assassination and his thoughts about it and how he knew he’d give his life to save Jackie.

9. Within Arm's Length: The Extraordinary Life and Career of a Special Agent in the United States Secret Service

Within Arm's Length

Written by: Dan Emmett

Published: 2012

Pages: 224

Most of us think we know what we want to do when we are kids but then realize that it was just a dream. However, when the 8-year-old Dan Emmett saw President Kennedy assassinated, he realized he wanted to be in the secret service and protect the president and the world. He made that dream come true.

With twenty-one years of service protecting presidents, starting from George Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush, he has seen it all. His stories range from how difficult it can be to deal with some of the presidents to make sure the first ladies are safe and problems relating to even family because of the job. If you want to feel what it is like being an agent and knowing that you will gladly lay down your life for the people you are hired to protect, you have to read this book.

10. The Echo from Dealey Plaza: The True Story of the First African American on the White House Secret Service Detail and His Quest for Justice After the Assassination of JFK

The Echo from Dealey Plaza

Written by: Abraham Bolden

Published: 2008

Pages: 416

Can you even imagine what it would be like for President John F. Kennedy to ask you to be his secret service agent? Even more so, can you guess what it would be like since you'd be the first African American secret service agent? Abraham Bolden can and did, and his autobiography about it is fantastic and insightful.

Hoping that the USA was becoming more tolerant of race, he was quickly disabused by the treatment he received from others. Even worse, he saw that the other agents were often lazy, didn't show up for their assignments, and sometimes were even drunk on the job. When he tried to expose this, he was instead set up by others and convicted and put in prison. Instead of just the usual secret service agency book, this one sheds light on so much more than just being President Kennedy's protector.

11. 20 Years in the Secret Service; My Life With Five Presidents

20 Years in the Secret Service

Written by: Rufus W. Youngblood

Published: 2018 (1973)

Pages: 288

Since he served for twenty years, agent Youngblood has seen more than his share of scary events. As you know, numerous books deal with the agents focusing on President Kennedy during the assassination. However, Agent Youngblood was assigned to Vice-President Lyndon B. Johnson and protected him during the attempt.

Most people don't realize that there was an attempt on President Truman's life, and Youngblood recounts that among so much else. During his career, he oversaw presidents starting from Truman until Nixon. This book shines through his absolute devotion to his job and his ability to show just how much he respected and liked almost everyone he met. Initially published in 1973, it has been updated.

12. Behind the Shades: A Female Secret Service Agent's True Story

Behind the Shades

Written by: Sue Ann Baker

Published: 2015

Pages: 221

As we've seen so far, most of the Secret Service stories are lived and told by men. Sue Ann Baker's story is quite a bit different. One of the first five women hired at the agency in the 1970s, this book primarily focuses on the four years that she served in it.

She knew that she'd have to deal with some sexism on the job, but her incredibly positive attitude limited that. Instead, she focuses primarily on the events that happened on the job. It is a fun read since Baker has a great sense of humor and tells stories such as meeting Shirley Temple, her friendship with Eleanor McGovern, and more. You will be amazed at how much she accomplished in just four years.

13. Five Presidents: My Extraordinary Journey with Eisenhower, Kennedy, Johnson, Nixon, and Ford

Five Presidents

Written by: Clint Hill & Lisa McCubbin

Published: 2016

Pages: 464

As written above, agent Clint Hill served with distinction, and this is a recount of his time working with the secret service until he retired in 1975. Since he spent so many years and was involved in so many dangerous situations, you know that his stories will be unique, no matter whether they are terrifying or humorous.

Some of the events that he had to deal with include the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Vietnam War, the assassinations of John F. Kennedy. Even more than that, it included Robert F. Kenney, Malcolm X, and Martin Luther King, Jr. He was in the agency under Nixon when Watergate was discovered and throughout the Cold War. Simply stated, you will learn more about the secret service and the five presidents he served than you can ever think possible.

14. Survivor's Guilt: The Secret Service and the Failure to Protect President Kennedy

Survivor's Guilt

Written by: Vincent Michael Palamara

Published: 2013

Pages: 576

As with many of the Secret Service books out there,  people questions what went wrong during the Kennedy assassination. One question that continues to be debated is whether the Secret Service did everything possible to protect the president. Some believe that the agency failed in its duty, leading to JFK's assassination.

With information from agents, people working in the White House, and others, it is a very compelling and confounding question that Palamara tries to answer. Some of the questions include why the buildings around Dealey Plaza weren't searched more carefully, possible threats on his life before even making the trip and possible conspiracy theories by some of the agents serving them.

Could this tragedy have been prevented if all the security options had been in place and the area secured? You'll have to read the book to find out.