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Washington Post Reporter Writes Book on Shooting of Pres. Reagan

By JANET MASLIN
New York Times

The patient was 70, fit and very polite. He made it a point of pride to walk into the emergency room under his own steam. The medical staff went to work on him immediately, cutting off clothes, inserting IV lines, starting fluids and hooking up monitors. The process moved so fast that one worker never bothered to look at his face. Another asked for an address and was surprised by the answer: 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

It has been nearly 30 years since President Ronald Reagan was shot outside the Washington Hilton Hotel on March 30, 1981. The attack is well remembered, but the details are not. One reason for the memory lapse, according to Del Quentin Wilber, the author of “Rawhide Down,” a newly revealing account of this potentially deadly attack, is that Reagan survived it so smoothly.

Twelve days after being fired upon, he was back at the White House looking sensational. He ultimately enhanced his popularity by rebounding with such courage, resilience and even good cheer.

Mr. Wilber, a Washington Post reporter covering law-enforcement and security issues, had no great interest in dredging up the details of this crisis. But in 2008 he covered a hearing for John W. Hinckley Jr., the blank-faced shooter who had been found not guilty by reason of insanity in 1982. (Mr. Hinckley remains largely confined to a psychiatric hospital.)

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