In His Own Right

6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0231120692
ISBN-10: 0231120699
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

During the last years of his life from his Senate election in 1964 to his murder in 1968 Robert F. Kennedy underwent a profound transformation, according to Palermo in this sympathetic but not uncritical study. Known primarily during his brother's presidency as a ruthless political operative with few obvious populist sentiments, Kennedy emerged during this later time as the passionate, compassionate and effective leader of a diverse coalition of grassroots organizations encompassing antiwar protestors, working-class whites, African Americans and others. The arc of Kennedy's odyssey forms Palermo's story. Drawing on a wide array of correspondence and documents, many previously unseen, Palermo portrays Kennedy as a person with an enormous ability to learn and to empathize. Cautious at first in his opposition to the Vietnam War, through conversation and correspondence with both scholars and common soldiers Kennedy soon turned solidly against the conflict and against a sitting president, Lyndon Johnson. (The story of the relationship between the two men, as well as that of Kennedy's interactions with Eugene McCarthy, whom he opposed in the 1968 Democratic presidential primaries, is well told here.) Similarly, Kennedy became ever sharper in his critiques of racism and economic inequality, ever more aligned with those he saw as disenfranchised. Yet he was able to maintain ties with mainstream politicians such as Mayor Daley of Chicago. Tragically, this fragile politics of inclusion could not survive Kennedy's death. Palermo, who teaches at Cornell and has written for Peace & Change and other journals, paints a vivid portrait of the problems and promise of the 1960s and the way Kennedy shaped and was shaped by that era. Photos.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Library Journal

Robert Kennedy used his position as senator from New York (1965-68) to lead a coalition of grass-roots voters members of the peace and Civil Rights movements, African Americans, members of the working class in a fight for the liberal soul of the Democratic party while making a credible challenge for the 1968 presidency, notes Palermo (Cornell Univ.). He struggled with President Johnson, who attacked his patriotism because he was an early advocate of a negotiated peace settlement in Vietnam, and with Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Johnson's hawkish surrogate, who continued the fight over Vietnam during their battle for the 1968 Democratic presidential nomination. "Peace candidate" Eugene McCarthy is portrayed as an indifferent senator with a poor record on civil rights who lost many votes and credibility when Kennedy replaced the Vietnam issue as his focus. Evan Thomas's Robert Kennedy: His Life (LJ 8/00) and Jeff Shesol's Mutual Contempt (LJ 9/15/97) offer more lively accounts of Kennedy's feuds, but Palermo provides a thorough investigation of RFK as political leader that is a worthy continuation of the years covered in James Hilty's Robert Kennedy: Brother Protector (LJ 4/15/98). Strongly recommended for academic collections and recommended for larger public libraries. Karl Helicher, Upper Merion Twp. Lib., King of Prussia, PA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Series: Columbia Studies in Contemporary American History
  • Paperback: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press (June 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231120699
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231120692
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #770,634 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 7, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The role of Robert Kennedy in Cold War politics is becoming a popular topic in academia and the media. At a time of growing disillusionment with American government and politicians I find Palermo's research an inticing and important step towards reviving interest in grassroots approaches by politicians. This book was well-written and deserves a reading because it explores the political philosophies and actions of an amazing man and truly caring politician.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Robert Oliver on September 28, 2001
Format: Hardcover
"In His Own Right", describes Robert Kennedy's political journey in the years after President Kennedy's assassination in 1963. Robert Kennedy suffered through a time of deep sorrow and grief after the death of his brother, and began a struggle to find his own political voice. RFK was in a unique position of national prominence, and many people looked to him to take the place of his slain brother. This book tells the story of how his political views began to change and evolve through very turbulent times both at home and abroad. Robert Kennedy had always been in the shadow of his brother, but he gradually began to stand in his own right. His own unique heart and spirit began to emerge, and it ultimately revolved around a sense of compassion and justice. By the time that he ran for President in 1968, there was much that Robert Kennedy could have given to America and to the world. This book explores that final political campaign, and the path that RFK always strived to find and follow.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 8, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Palermo's book is intriguing because it takes a closer look at how Bobby's campaign really began with grassroots politics. As a reader I found myself rallying behind the campaign that was abruptly and tragically cut short. I look forward to further exploration into the motivations behind Bobby's campaign.
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