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Make Gentle the Life of This World: The Vision of Robert F. Kennedy Paperback – May 4, 1999


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 208 pages
  • Publisher: Broadway Books; 4.4.1999 edition (May 4, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0767903714
  • ISBN-13: 978-0767903714
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.2 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,235 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

President John F. Kennedy and his brother, Attorney General Robert F. Kennedy, collaborated on a daybook project in which they would jot down passages from their reading that moved them in some way. RFK continued the project after his brother's death in 1963, and would frequently use the quotations in it as source material for his speeches.

Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, Robert's youngest son, has drawn upon that journal, as well as material from his father's speeches, to create a unique portrait of RFK's spirit and character. In addition to his own powerful testimony to his passion for social justice, we learn that Robert Kennedy was able to learn as much about the meaning of freedom and justice from Albert Camus as he was from Thomas Jefferson or Abraham Lincoln. The concern with civil rights, pacifism, and America's role in the international arena (among other issues) that permeate Kennedy's thoughts are as relevant today as they were in the 1960s. Make Gentle the Life of This World is a stirring reminder of one of this century's strongest political visions. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Kennedy's youngest son, only three years old at the time of the assassination, here compiles from his father's long-closed private journal the phrases that helped move a nation and the quotes from the ancient Greek philosophers, poets, and many contemporary figures who inspired RFK. Chapters are arranged by issues that were most important to Kennedy and remain timely today?the responsibilities of citizens to their government, the tragedy of poverty in the midst of plenty, the importance of dissent in a democratic society, and work as the solution for the welfare crises. The book's haunting photos convey Kennedy's spirit as successfully as the words.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
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A great sources for quotes for papers and speeches.
A. Alcott
This book provides insight about what we should do, shows how we can be guided by the past, and it provides words of strength for us to continue on that journey.
Augie
Robert Kennedy was one of the most fascinating public figures in recent history.
BeatleBangs1964

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By Leigh on January 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
Maxwell Kennedy gives the reader, and perhaps follower, of Robert Kennedy insight into his father's thinking in this short, but well structured compilation. Not only does the memoir account for the speeches of Kennedy and the impact they continue to have. The reader is also given a rare insight into the quotations Kennedy loved most and the authors and people he admired through their words. It is interesting to see how Robert Kennedy was inspired by other's words and moved by the writing of those in history.
I found the book most interesting for what it conveys of Kennedy's admiration for the thoughts of the ancient Greeks and Albert Camus. Maxwell Kennedy has covered various writers and people who have inspired his father, yet it is the Greeks and Camus who share the front seat in this collection. It is obvious in the number of references to each that Robert Kennedy was truly touched by what he read in the Ancient Greeks and Albert Camus.
It is a superb book, and especially so for those who are interested in how those in the past have been inspired by others. In the speeches and words of his father that Maxwell Kennedy uses, he reminds us also of just what it was and still is that inspires us about Robert Kennedy.
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Zigler on November 28, 1999
Format: Hardcover
In this day and age of politicians afraid to tell it like it is, it was wonderful to read a book by a man who did. For all the media hyped personal travails, Robert Kennedy was still a political figure unlike any we have today. He not only got people involved with politics but got them excited as well. In this age of "dumbing down", he knew that the words of Dante, and Camus, and Aeschylus would not necessarily be recognized but would certainly be understood by the masses. Maxwell Taylor Kennedy is to be commended for bringing to light this side of his father, one that has been largely overlooked in the press. Truly an inspirational book for anyone who wants to believe in our government and our politicians again.
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31 of 32 people found the following review helpful By NotATameLion on May 22, 2002
Format: Hardcover
A few months ago I was recommended "Make Gentle the Life of This World." When I actually received it, I was shocked to find it was a book of quotes (I did not do the proper background work on the book or I might never have read it). My thought process was something like: "oh geeesh...bathroom lit 101."
There are way--WAY too many little books of "quotations" and "advice" in the world. The Christian ghetto subculture suffers from a corresponding abundance of "devotional" books. Thankfully, "Make Gentle the Life of This World" does not really belong in the same breath as such books.
Robert Kennedy's son assembled this book. It is a collection of quotes by Kennedy (topically arranged) which are combined with quotes that Kennedy himself encountered in his reading and subsequently wrote down in a book he kept. These quotes show the breadth and surprising depth of Kennedy's reading and thoughts.
I found myself moved by much of the material here. Even the quotes by Sartre (whose works I have been unable to slog through) were of great insight.
This is probably the highest recommendation a book like this is ever going to get out of me. I wholeheartedly encourage you to get a copy of "Make Gentle the Life of This World."
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 1999
Format: Hardcover
One of my earliest political memories is waking up one morning to turn on the TV, only to see Bobby Kennedy lying in his own blood after his assassination. In the days that followed, I learned more about this charismatic leader who had been struck down at the height of his promise.
Since those days, I have been on many political journies, right and left; and one constant has been the challenge of Robert Kennedy to try to make a difference, to not forget the least powerful of our nation, and always, always, strive to do better. Put simply: Robert F. Kennedy is my political hero, the last politician to really try and reach out with conviction to Americans of all colors and classes, but with particular attention to the poor. Bobby's appeal was to the black man trapped in the inner city, the white blue collar worker in Indiana, and to Hispanics laboring in the fields of California. It wasn't just that he evoked his martyred brother -- it was that he, in tending to his brother's flame (as he surely did, cast a retrospective glow of the Kennedy promise that had not hitherto existed; and in so doing, in coping with the pain of the loss of his brother, he created a new RFK as well.
It is remarkable that the first time RFK ever referred directly to his brother's murder in public was when he was reaching out to the Black community of Indianapolis after Martin Luther King, Jr. had met a similar fate. You will find that short, beautiful speech in this little book; and if all Americans could read and hear that speech, so stark in its contrast of the two roads that Americans could take in the future of race relations, then we would go a long way towards healing that still-bleeding wound. Bobby Kennedy's message was one of hope.
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22 of 24 people found the following review helpful By BeatleBangs1964 TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on August 3, 2000
Format: Hardcover
Robert Kennedy was one of the most fascinating public figures in recent history. He was clearly an intelligent man and he had the foresight to combine that with hard work and effort. It was only in adult life that he became interested in classical literature and he used this interest to become self-educated. That is one mark of high intelligence and motivation.

In reading the quotes that moved and motivated Robert Kennedy, one can see the character development that was taking place during his life during this period. It was late in his life when he publicly admitted that he "did not stay awake nights" worrying about poverty and minorities. Unlike so many public figures of that era, Robert Kennedy personally got involved in these issues and as a result, developed a very wide following. A large part of his appeal lay in his sincerity -- one really got the feeling that he spoke straight from his heart, his gut, his instincts. My mother would say that "Robert Kennedy is a man who cares about people."

I became a history major and Robert Kennedy was the subject of my senior project. I read Camus, Tennyson, Sophocles, Plato and other literary figures Robert Kennedy popularized in his speeches. In so doing, I not only gained a greater appreciation of classical literature, I also applied that knowledge to my history paper. Indirectly, Robert Kennedy shaped my academic career -- I have more than a pedestrian knowledge of classical writings. My senior sponsor loved the paper and it remains the thing I am most proud of during my senior year. Robert Kennedy was a realist, a man for everyone and I honestly believe his hard work and awareness of human rights have indeed left indelible stamps for the better in this world.

(Just for the record, Douglas H. Kennedy was the Senator's youngest son and not Matthew Maxwell Kennedy, the author).
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