In my last review for January Magazine, I talked about a book dealing with alternate futures. Today, I look at one of those moments where our world could have changed — the near assassination of Ronald Reagan, as covered in the book Rawhide Down:
Wilbur’s reporting on Hinkley makes up some of the most compelling sections of Rawhide Down. Rather than a cultural boogeyman or super-soldier in the shadows, the attempted assassin — in Wilbur’s hands — is shown as a human being. A wise decision. That’s not to say that the author shies away from showing Hinkley as anything but a sad, mentally unbalanced young man, obsessed with the film Taxi Driver and its star, Jodie Foster. One of the many revelations in Rawhide Down comes during Wilbur’s exploration of Hinkley’s fixation on Foster. For example, I knew that he was obsessed with her; I did not know that he moved to New Haven, Connecticut, and called her dorm room at Yale University in a scene reminiscent of that scene in Swingers. Much like author Dave Cullen does with his portrayal of mass-murderer Eric Klebold in Columbine, Wilbur leaves the reader with great sympathy for Hinkley — that this was a youth in need of psychiatric care, angry and in his 20s, but not a psychopath. Not beyond saving.
My full review is here.