Have Passport, Will Travel: Field Notes for the Modern Bodyguard. By Paul G. Markel; published by AuthorHouse, www.authorhouse.com (Web); 116 pages; $19.25.
Paul Markel, a former U.S. marine, ex-police officer, and current executive protection agent, has written an advice book for fledgling bodyguards. The book covers critical topics such as communications, confrontation, defensive tools, professionalism, legal issues, intelligence gathering, and foreign travel. It is not detailed enough to be considered a textbook on executive protection, but it probably was not meant to be.
The strength of this book lies in the field experience and the case studies. Valuable lessons are drawn from a coal miners’ strike and the assassination of Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. Many of the teaching points in the book are reinforced with anecdotes from Markel’s field experiences, and these are interesting and useful.
Because the book is self-published, though, it suffers the same editing blemishes that bedevil other books of that ilk. The chapter on self-defense tools includes a use-of-force matrix to demonstrate where and when various types of force can be used, but the matrix is empty. Further, numerous spelling, grammar, formatting, typographical, and word-use errors present repeated distractions.
Readers may take issue with some of the substance, as well. An early chapter on defeating terrorism in the 21st century is as shallow and doctrinaire a view of modern history as you’ll ever find in four pages. Also, some of the advice is too obvious. In the chapter titled “Foreign Travel,” the first sentence reads, “First and foremost, get yourself a passport.”
What it doesn’t say, but should, is that you should have a valid visa for the country of your destination if one is necessary.
Have Passport, Will Travel will be of value to those considering a career in executive protection. Experienced security professionals are unlikely to find anything new.
Reviewer: Ross Johnson, CPP, is a retired Canadian Forces Intelligence Officer working for an offshore-drilling company in Houston. He is the membership chairperson for the Houston Chapter of ASIS International.