A Washington Post Notable Nonfiction Book for 2011
On March 30, 1981, President Reagan walked out of a hotel in Washington, D.C. and was shot by a would-be assassin. For years, few people knew the truth about how close the president came to dying, and no one has ever written a detailed narrative of that harrowing day. Now, drawing on exclusive new interviews, Del Quentin Wilber tells the electrifying story of a moment when the nation teetered on the brink of chaos. With cinematic clarity, we see the Secret Service agent whose fast reflexes saved the president's life; the brilliant surgeon who operated on Reagan as he was losing half his blood; and the small group of White House officials frantically trying to determine whether the country was under attack. Most especially, we encounter the man code-named Rawhide, a leader of uncommon grace who inspired affection and awe in everyone who worked with him.
Reagan was the only serving U.S. president to survive being shot in an assassination attempt. In Rawhide Down, the story of that perilous day--a day of chaos, crisis, prayer, heroism and hope--is brought to life as never before.