Five Days in November

Five Days in November

by Clint Hill, Lisa McCubbin

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Don’t miss the New York Times bestseller Five Days in November, where Secret Service agent Clint Hill tells the stories behind the iconic images of those five infamous, tragic days surrounding JFK’s assassination, published for the 50th anniversary of his death.

On November 22, 1963, three shots were fired in Dallas, President John F. Kennedy was assassinated, and the world stopped for four days. For an entire generation, it was the end of an age of innocence.

That evening, a photo ran on the front pages of newspapers across the world, showing a Secret Service agent jumping on the back of the presidential limousine in a desperate attempt to protect the President and Mrs. Kennedy. That agent was Clint Hill.

Now Secret Service Agent Clint Hill commemorates the fiftieth anniversary of the tragedy with this stunning book containing more than 150 photos, each accompanied by Hill’s incomparable insider account of those terrible days. With poignant narration accompanying rarely seen images, we witness three-year-old John Kennedy Jr.’s pleas to come to Texas with his parents and the rapturous crowds of mixed ages and races that greeted the Kennedys at every stop in Texas. We stand beside a shaken Lyndon Johnson as he is hurriedly sworn in as the new president. We experience the first lady’s steely courage when she insists on walking through the streets of Washington, DC, in her husband’s funeral procession.

A story that has taken Clint Hill fifty years to tell, this is a work of personal and historical scope. Besides the unbearable grief of a nation and the monumental consequences of the event, the death of JFK was a personal blow to a man sworn to protect the first family, and who knew, from the moment the shots rang out in Dallas, that nothing would ever be the same.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781476731513
Publisher: Gallery Books
Publication date: 11/19/2013
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 256
Sales rank: 58,274
File size: 80 MB
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About the Author

Clint Hill is the New York Times bestselling author of Mrs. Kennedy and Me and Five Days in November. A former Secret Service agent who was in the presidential motorcade during the John F. Kennedy assassination, Hill remained assigned to Mrs. Kennedy until after the 1964 election. He then was assigned to President Lyndon B. Johnson at the White House and later to Richard Nixon, eventually becoming the Assistant Director of the Secret Service for all protection. He retired in 1975.

Lisa McCubbin is the coauthor of four New York Times bestsellers: Five Presidents; Mrs. Kennedy and Me; Five Days in November; and The Kennedy Detail. A former television news anchor and reporter, she currently resides in the San Francisco Bay area. Visit her at

Read an Excerpt

Five Days in November


It makes no difference how old you are, or what you have experienced, there are times in your life that affect you so deeply that, no matter what you do, no matter how hard you try to erase them, your mind will never let the memories fade. For me, there were five days in November 1963, when I was thirty-one years old, that are seared into my mind and soul. In the blink of an eye, everything changed, and in the fifty years since, those days remain the defining period of my life. As fate would have it, the photos snapped by journalists, witnesses, and bystanders during those five days are like the scrapbook that is in my mind. I was thrust onto the pages of history and have spent the majority of my life keeping silent about what I witnessed.

Recently, however, I have come to realize that the grief I’ve held inside for half a century is shared by nearly everyone who was alive at that time, and that those days marked a defining period not just for me but for all of us. It has been a reluctant journey, but now, despite how painful it is, still, to relive those days, I understand that my memories are important to history.

President Kennedy’s election in 1960 coincided with the blossoming of a new era in American history. There was a marked difference between the outgoing leader—seventy-year-old President Dwight D. Eisenhower, a five-star general, a grandfatherly figure—and the incoming forty-three-year-old President John F. Kennedy, with his quick wit and charismatic smile. In his eloquent and stirring inaugural address, President Kennedy stated, “Let the word go forth from this time and place, to friend and foe alike, that the torch has been passed to a new generation of Americans . . .”

His words rang true to those of us in that younger generation. We could see his vision. Financially, we were doing better than our parents had done, the economy was growing, and even for those who were struggling, there was hope and promise ahead.

This was also the beginning of the television age—a time when Father Knows Best and Leave It to Beaver idealized the wholesome traditional families of the 1950s, while the nightly news brought images of civil rights clashes into people’s living rooms. The presidential debates between Kennedy and Nixon were the first ever shown on television, and the stark contrast between the younger, handsome Kennedy’s charming ease and Nixon’s apparent discomfort arguably tipped the election in Kennedy’s favor in the last critical weeks of the election.

President Kennedy recognized the power of television and its ability to connect him with the American people. He was the first president to conduct live televised press conferences without delay or editing, and people loved them. His quick-witted bantering with the press was so entertaining that college students and shift workers would rush home to tune in, while housewives scheduled their ironing in front of the television.

The American public was also enamored with the president’s beautiful young wife, Jacqueline, and their two children, Caroline and John. Clothing manufacturers produced copies of the first lady’s classic suits and pillbox hats so the average American woman could dress in “Jackie style,” while the press clamored for photos and tidbits of information about the family’s private activities. With their family’s private plane, and homes in Hyannis Port and Palm Beach, the Kennedys’ lifestyle was one that most Americans could only dream about. People couldn’t get enough of them. They were more popular than any television or movie stars; Jack and Jackie Kennedy were American royalty.

As the young American president and his elegant wife traveled outside the country, their popularity spread around the world. It was awe inspiring to see hundreds of thousands, and sometimes millions, of people in foreign countries standing along a motorcade route just to get a glimpse of this man whose vision for freedom, liberty, and peace resonated with people of all walks of life, of all different races and religions. As the first Catholic American president, Kennedy was held in especially high esteem by fellow Catholics, and his photograph hung prominently in living rooms, shops, and restaurants around the world.

During the Kennedy administration, I was an up-close-and-personal witness to what later would be called “Camelot.” On November 21, 1963, I accompanied President and Mrs. Kennedy to Texas as part of their Secret Service detail. As Special Agent in Charge of the First Lady’s Detail, it was my responsibility to protect Jacqueline Kennedy, and I was with her constantly.

On November 22, when shots were fired during the motorcade in Dallas, there was a Secret Service agent who jumped on the back of the car, attempting to protect President and Mrs. Kennedy.

That was me.

Unbeknownst to me, an Associated Press photographer named James Altgens was on Elm Street in Dealey Plaza at the time of the assassination. He heard the shots, saw me run, and snapped a photo just as I climbed onto the back of the presidential limousine. That evening, and the next day, this photograph ran on the front pages of newspapers all over the world. From that point on, I would forever be known as the Secret Service agent who jumped on the back of the car. And while that photo has become one of several iconic images that were captured on film during those pivotal days—moments of a national tragedy frozen in time—none of them standing alone tell the whole story.

On November 22, 1963, three shots were fired in Dallas, and the world stopped for four days. For an entire generation, it was the end of the age of innocence.

—Clint Hill

Table of Contents

Introduction ix

Day 1 November 21, 1963

1 Leaving the White House 5

2 Air Force One 13

3 San Antonio Arrival 17

4 San Antonio Motorcade 21

5 Brooks Air Force Base 27

6 Kelly Air Force Base 37

7 Houston Airport Arrival 39

8 Rice Hotel 45

9 Houston Coliseum: Congressman Albert Thomas Dinner 51

10 Fort Worth: Carswell Air Force Base Arrival 55

Day 2 November 22, 1963

11 Fort Worth: Hotel Texas 63

12 Dallas: Love Field Arrival 79

13 Dallas Motorcade 89

14 The Shots 103

15 Parkland Hospital 111

16 A New President 121

17 Return to Washington 129

Day 3 November 23, 1963

18 Autopsy at Bethesda Naval Hospital 137

19 Return to the White House 141

20 Choosing a Burial Site 149

Day 4 November 24, 1963

21 Final Private Moments 157

22 President Kennedy Lies in State 167

Day 5 November 25, 1963

23 Procession to the White House 185

24 Walking to St. Matthew's 193

25 The Salute 205

26 Burial at Arlington Cemetery 215

27 Return to the White House 227

Epilogue 233

Acknowledgments 239

Photo Credits 242

Customer Reviews

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Five Days in November 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 46 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Of all of the many books about President Kennedy’s assassination this is the one to read.  It is the only one written from cover to cover by an eyewitness, up close (really close) and personal.  It is well written in first person present tense.  Only Clint Hill could do that.   All of the other books about the assassination must use secondary sources or rumors.  That is not the case in “Five Days in November” because Clint Hill was there as shown in many of the photos.  He succinctly describes exactly what he saw and the narrative tracks the many photos so closely that there is no need for captions.  His narration gives meaning to iconic photos as well as images never seen before. It is rare indeed for such a dramatic and important historical event to be described fifty years later in such exquisite detail by a witness to the event.  The writing is tight, crisp, straightforward and unflinching without an agenda.  So many minute details are revealed for the first time such that the reader seems to be carried along on the fateful trip.  The emotions that we felt then seem to come back in full force.  The story is highly readable even though we know the ending and wish it could be different. Thank you Mr. Hill for sharing with us what you saw.  Even though it must have been difficult for you to relive those five days, this book is an important contribution to the historical record.  Everyone should read this book whether you are old enough to have experienced the horror and grief or young enough to only know about it second hand.  
DoreenJansen1 More than 1 year ago
Reading this book, you feel like you are walking in Clint Hill’s shoes for five straight days, and every step is riveting.  From the morning of November 21 when he is with President and Mrs. Kennedy as they say good bye to John-John, through that long first day filled with motorcades and welcoming, exuberant crowds in three Texas cities, it seems like this trip is a huge success. And then the unthinkable happens. You know it’s coming, yet it is still so extraordinary to witness it through Clint Hill’s eyes.  Hundreds of beautiful photos alongside the narrative bring the story even more vividly to life.  Whether you remember those days, or you weren’t even yet born, this book is a must read for anyone who wants to know what really happened when JFK was assassinated, and why it changed the world forever. I can’t recommend this highly enough. Clint Hill is a national treasure.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recommend this book, it is part of US history. I found it a very personal account of the lives of the Kennedy Family, especially Jackie. I loved the book and read it in about two days.
suew5710 More than 1 year ago
Clint Hill was very informative with each detail of the five days in November during the iconic Dallas Motorcade. With his very discriptive explanation of details, you feel like you were right there with him on the trip the day of the assination of President Kennedy and the days following. His dedication of the President and Mrs. Kennedy shows just how dedicated the secret service really are. I thought this book would be just an ok book to read but I learned so much about those days, I didn't want to lay my book down. I completely enjoyed reading this book and learned to appreaciate Clint Hill and the many other secret service agents who put their life on the line to protect our President and his family. Well worth your time and money for this book!!
CelticReader More than 1 year ago
As we came to the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's death, I wanted to hear from an eyewitness to the tragedy in Dallas. On the day of the assassination, I was 9 years old. Mr. Hill's recollections are a treasure for all of us who remember this day in our own way. Many thanks to him for his service and for this memoir.
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
I've read many books about the Kennedy assassination and this is one of the best. Told through the eyes of Mrs. Kennedy's personal secret service man, it provides a more human and emotional spin on the entire tragedy. Having lived through these 5 days in 1963, it brought back so many emotions about that time. The nation truly stopped and did nothing but watch the news. Every channel, every hour broadcasted events live as they unfolded. This book was written with heart and gave us a much clearer insight as to what Jackie and those people closest to JFK were doing and feeling. Not just a documentary of facts. Lots of iconic pictures from that time. A real gem of a book. A must read for every history buff or those who just want to learn more about the tragedy in November 1963.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read all of his books, and this one contains photos that I have never seen before. It is interesting to read a book written by someone who was there.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
A glimpse into the workings of a Secret Service Agent who was in the crux of the most tragic event in modern US history.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I lived through this time and it brought back many memories. Very good reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The assassanation of president john fitzgereld kennedy was very sab
ReneeNewman More than 1 year ago
I really enjoyed this book. It gave me insight into a part of the Kennedy era that I was unfamiliar with: the view from the Secret Service. I have always been intrigued by Jacqueline Kennedy. Mr. Hill was definitely a Jackie fan, while still trying to take you inside the daily details of being first lady. The amount of time spent away from the White House was eye-opening and the book stayed clear of any opinion on the rumored President's extra-marital affairs. I especially liked learning the inside details about the funeral, and events following the assassination. I hope you enjoy this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My brother is also a Secret Service agent and has little time or respect for Clint Hill or his book. Doreen Jansen
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a very emotional story of a Kennedy Detail agent and the 5 days surrounding his trip to Dallas thur Kenneth's burial. Very touching.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Fascinating book. I found it difficult to put down. Truly makes you feel like a witness to history.
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