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Del Quentin Wilber
Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber
Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber
Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber

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Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber

On March 30, 1981, President Ronald Reagan was just seventy days into his first term of office when John Hinckley Jr. opened fire outside the Washington Hilton Hotel, wounding the president, press secretary James Brady, a Secret Service agent, and a D.C. police officer. 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 and never-before-seen documents, photos, and videos, Del Quentin Wilber tells the electrifying story of a moment when the nation faced a terrifying crisis that it had experienced less than twenty years before, the assassination of President John F. Kennedy.


With cinematic clarity, we see Secret Service agent Jerry Parr, whose fast reflexes saved the president’s life; the brilliant surgeons 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. Read more…


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Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber


John Hinckley Jr. attempts to assassinate
President Ronald Reagan on March 30, 1981.

Click to see President Reagan’s
Daily Diary from March 30, 1981

President Reagan’s diary entry for March 30, 1981.

Click to see President
Reagan’s Handwritten Speech
Notes from March 30, 1981

President Reagan’s handwritten speech to the Building and Construction Trades Department (AFL-CIO) on March 30, 1981.

Click to see President
Reagan’s Final Speech
from March 30, 1981

President Reagan’s handwritten speech to the Building and Construction Trades Department (AFL-CIO) on March 30, 1981.

President Reagan discusses the shooting with Helen Thomas of UPI and Jim Gerstenzang of the AP

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Listen to the Ronald Reagan’s
Speech to the AFL-CIO

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Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber - Photo of Ronald Reagan

President Ronald Reagan

After a successful career in Hollywood, Ronald Reagan viewed his presidency as the best role of his life. But the most dramatic scene of his eight-year term was completely unscripted: just sixty-nine days after his inauguration, he was shot and almost killed. Thanks to Secret Service agents and skilled doctors—as well as his own relentless optimism and tough physique—the seventy-year-old man code-named “Rawhide” survived. Ever the entertainer, he even managed a few memorable hospital-bed quips.

Read more about President Reagan’s time at the hospital…

 



Rawhide Down: The Near Assassination of Ronald Reagan by Del Quentin Wilber - Photo of Agent Jerry Parr

Agent Jerry Parr

At age nine, Jerry Parr watched a movie called The Code of the Secret Service, starring Ronald Reagan as a dashing federal agent. From that day on, Parr dreamed of joining the Secret Service, and he did so in 1962. On March 30, 1981, he was head of the president’s security detail and at Reagan’s side when a deranged gunman opened fire outside the Washington Hilton hotel. Parr’s quick actions saved Ronald Reagan’s life.

 

 

 

Del Quentin Wilber interviews agent Jerry Parr:

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Watch an interview with agent Jerry Parr:

Jerry Parr’s Report
to the FBI

Jerry Parr’s report to the FBI describing the shooting and the events that took place to secure President Reagan at the hospital.



Memorable Speeches by Ronald Reagan