***** The Bodyguard’s Bible. By James Brown; published by Blackwell; bookshop.blackwell.com (Web); 400 pages; $54.58.
Author James Brown says “the mark of a good bodyguard is that he keeps a level head in a crisis, reassesses the situation, and then embarks on the correct next course of action.” That quote constitutes the thesis of The Bodyguard’s Bible, a well-written book with 38 chapters that flow nicely, informing the reader and maintaining his or her interest. Brown does an excellent job of disassociating “bouncers” from security professionals who protect the rich, famous, and powerful. To that point, he notes that the term Close Protection Officer (CPO) is replacing the term “bodyguard” in the field.
The book’s second chapter, “Personal Security,” is, as its title implies, a key component, emphasizing that everyone is responsible for his or her own security, and that security must reflect potential threats. Brown grabs the reader’s attention by focusing on the principles of personal security, and he offers critical advice in the section titled “Understanding the Link between Adrenalin and Awareness.”
In Chapter 7, titled “Threat Assessment,” Brown differentiates between threat and risk assessment, explaining that “these two terms are commonly used indiscriminately and often to mean the same thing.” He notes, “This is incorrect.” And he exhorts readers to understand and apply the appropriate term when dealing with a client or subject so that there is no misunderstanding. Security professionals will agree with his reasoning, for the most part.
The book stresses the importance of protocol and the need for CPOs to conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the environment surrounding the person they protect. Brown incorporates specific examples and how they affect both the detail and the CPO.
Many books feature figures and illustrations that do not support the text, but that is not the case here. Brown effectively interweaves charts, diagrams, and a plethora of pictures to strengthen his points.
The last chapter provides forms and checklists for use on assignment. These guides may seem trivial to the novice, but to the experienced security professional, they serve as a reminder of precautions that must be taken on a daily basis.
Security professionals in general, as well as those involved in executive protection, and individuals looking to work as bodyguards will all find this book a valuable tool and well worth reading.
Reviewer: Kevin A. Cassidy is vice president of corporate security for Reuters. He is also a licensed private investigator in New York and New Jersey. He lectures at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and is a member of ASIS International and National Law Enforcement Associates.