A three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist digs into the operations of the law-enforcement team charged with protecting the U.S. President and his family, revealing a disturbing culture of carelessness and hedonism that puts national security at risk.
Carol Leonnig offers a powerful antidote to Hollywood fantasies ... Leonnig...is thorough and unsparing in her account. Page by page and detail by implacable detail, she walks us through a catalogue of Secret Service blunders ... Zero Fail isn’t an easy read: Weighing in at nearly 500 pages of text, its sheer exhaustiveness is at times exhausting, and Leonnig struggles to bring life to what can feel like an unending chronicle of failures and missteps. There are simply too many characters jostling for attention in a book that covers more than six decades, and even Leonnig’s skillful writing can’t quite overcome the numbing impact of so much detail. The author is also curiously reluctant to judge most of the characters in her narrative; her effort to humanize even the most badly behaved and incompetent agents has an oddly flattening effect, leaving readers with no clear villains to blame for the Secret Service’s failings and no clear heroes to admire, either ... an important book, one that will ruffle feathers in need of ruffling and that will be useful to legislators, policymakers and historians alike.
... a devastating catalog of jaw-dropping incompetence, ham-fisted mismanagement and frat-boy bacchanalia ... I found myself wishing that Zero Fail included more examples of Secret Service successes: threats discovered and plots disrupted ... This book is a wake-up call, and a valuable study of a critically important agency.
... an alarming portrait of those dedicated to protecting the president and offers a comprehensive look at an agency that has seen better days ... Zero Fail convincingly argues that the men and women who guard the president, the vice-president and their families are overworked ... To rejuvenate the Secret Service, work needs to be done. At a minimum, Leonnig’s book will get people talking and thinking.