Protecting the Presidential Candidates

From JFK To Biden

Mel Ayton

This is the first book of its kind to examine how presidents and presidential candidates were protected during the presidential election cycles - from JFK to Biden.
Date Published :
March 2023
Publisher :
Frontline Books
Illustration :
16 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781399014083

Dimensions : 9.25 X 6 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 376
Binding : Paperback
ISBN : 9781399014120

Dimensions : 9.2 X 6.1 inches
Stock Status : Not Yet Published. Available for Pre-OrderPages : 368
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Protecting the Presidential Candidates is the first book of its kind to examine how presidents and presidential candidates were protected during the presidential election cycles – from JFK to Biden. It is also the first book of its kind to tell the story of the role of state troopers and private bodyguards in protecting presidential candidates.

Protection for candidates changed and evolved from the free-wheeling style of the 1950s and early 1960s, which afforded presidential candidates little or no protection, to the growth of bodyguard personnel, increased intelligence facilities and state of the art technology employed today to keep the candidates safe. Presidential candidates relish connecting with the public and it has given greater visibility to the bodyguards who are willing to place themselves between a presidential candidate and a would-be attacker.

In the milieu in which the Secret Service operates, bodyguards have witnessed the terrors of election campaigns when presidential candidates have waded into crowds to shake hands with their supporters, rode in open-top cars, and made sudden but risky changes to their schedules – oblivious to the fact that in every campaign there have been people stalking candidates with ill intent.

Many stories revealed in Protecting the Presidential Candidates have remained largely hidden from the public; some buried in newspaper archives and others in oral histories, presidential libraries or official government documents. The author draws on numerous sources, including FBI files, presidential biographies, vice presidential biographies, civilian bodyguard memoirs, Secret Service agent memoirs, White House staff memoirs and more so that these stories can now be told.

The book also allows readers to gain an insight into the personal as well as professional relationships between the candidate and the bodyguards who protected them. Some candidates were so trusting of their bodyguards they embraced them as part of an ‘inner circle’ of advisers. Bodyguards have also witnessed embarrassing moments in a candidate’s campaign and how intrusive they have been at the most delicate of moments. "The president’s day is your day," one agent said. "Nobody sees the president the way an agent does."

About The Author

Mel Ayton is the author of numerous books including "Hunting The President: Threats, Plots, And Assassination Attempts—From FDR To Obama” and “The Forgotten Terrorist: Sirhan Sirhan And The Assassination Of Robert F. Kennedy.” He has been a history consultant for The BBC, National Geographic Channel and Discovery Channel.


"An often-overlooked aspect of counterterrorism academic studies is the tactical challenge of protecting public figures from terrorist attacks. This book fills the gap with its fascinating and detailed account..."

- Perspectives on Terrorism

"...[a] solid account of various trials and tribulations that presidential candidates and presidents deal with throughout their campaigns and of service to country."

- American Intelligence Journal

Mel Ayton takes a deep dive into the intersection between law enforcement and politics. Through meticulous research and compelling, character-driven stories, Ayton shows us that both running for President of the United States, and protecting those who do, are among the riskiest and most unpredictable pursuits in modern American life. An important contribution to the literature of the Secret Service and presidential politics.”

- John Douglas and Mark Olshaker, Authors of 'Mindhunter' and 'The Killer’s Shadow'

“There are a handful of investigative historians, like author Mel Ayton, who are best known for their unique insights into American history.  What is particularly remarkable about Ayton is that he is a British scholar who is widely admired and respected as one of the top experts in the world on the protection of U.S. presidential candidates.  His latest work, Protecting the Presidential Candidates:  From JFK to Biden, is the third in his wonderfully researched and brilliantly written series of books about this fascinating subject.  And it is Ayton’s best and most important work to date.”

- Dan E. Moldea, author of 'The Hoffa Wars' and 'The Killing of Robert F. Kennedy'

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