Instaread Summary of The President’s Book of Secrets The Untold Story of Intelligence Briefings to America’s Presidents from Kennedy to Obama by David Priess
Five out of five stars
This summary could function as a stand-alone and sufficient description of the history of the series of documents known as the President’s Daily Brief (PDB). It is the “paper” given to the president and a few other highly ranked government officials and summarizes the current international security situation.
When Franklin Roosevelt died in office and Harry Truman assumed the presidency, Truman was largely uninformed over some of the major actions of the government. For example, Truman knew nothing about the Manhattan Project that was developing nuclear weapons. In order to recover from this deficiency, Truman requested daily briefings that evolved over time and presidents to the PDB. John Kennedy was the first president where the act was formalized into what it is today.
Priess was a CIA and PDB officer during the Clinton and George W. Bush administrations, so he has first-person insight into the process. Due to the extremely sensitive nature of the material, no secrets are revealed in the book, the primary new information is how the process has evolved over time and was adapted for each individual president.
This summary contains enough information so that many people will read it and conclude that they now know all they want to know about the PDB. I found it interesting, illuminating and sufficient.
This book was made available for free for review purposes.