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Robert Kennedy: His Life Paperback – September 10, 2002
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He was brave because he was afraid. His monsters were too large and close at hand to simply flee. He had to turn and fight them.... He became a one-man underground, honeycombed with hidden passages, speaking in code, trusting no one completely, ready to face the firing squad--but also knowing when to slip away to fight again another day. Although he affected simplicity and directness, he became an extraordinarily complicated and subtle man. His shaking hands and reedy voice, his groping for words as well as meaning, his occasional resort to subterfuge, do not diminish his daring. Precisely because he was fearful and self-doubting, his story is an epic of courage.
RFK was born after the chosen siblings had been established in the Kennedy clan. He originally had low standing in the family hierarchy. Evans describes how the "runt" of the family, the one not born and raised for power and whose only ambition was to please the father who ignored him, turned into the essential son, the defender of the family and mediator between Joe Sr. and JFK. He fleshes out Bobby's role in JFK's campaigns, his testy relations with Martin Luther King, his middle-ground stance on integration, his performance during the Cuban missile crisis, and his genuine concern for the poor. He reveals the truth behind such events as the vice-presidential appointment of Lyndon Johnson as well as the famous calls from the Kennedy brothers, which got Martin Luther King out of jail. He also tries to untangle the webs obscuring the Kennedys' involvement in Castro assassination plots, their relations with Marilyn Monroe, and RFK's guilt over his brother's death. And finally, he, too, speculates on what kind of president one of history's great what-ifs might have made. The picture he paints--of a sensitive, courageous, and determined man on the verge of achieving greatness--is more complex and human than any we've had before, and reminds us again of the tragedy of his death. --Lesley Reed --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
More About the Author
Thomas has won numerous journalism awards, including a National Magazine Award in 1998. In 2005, his 50,000-word narrative of the 2004 election was honored when Newsweek won a National Magazine Award for the best single-topic issue.
Thomas is a fellow of the Society of American Historians and has taught writing at Princeton and Harvard. He is a graduate of Harvard and the University of Virginia Law School. He lives with his wife and two children in Washington, DC.
Top Customer Reviews
Thomas' picture of RFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis is perhaps the most compelling part of the book. More so than any other Kennedy biography this book displays a man, not yet 37 years old, dealing with the possiblity that his own actions might bring about the deaths of millions. Thomas effectively shows how amazing it was that Kennedy was not frozen into indecision or bullied into a military response by others with more credentials. Thomas captures a man driven to his limits and functioning effectively.
Thomas, although apparently an admirer of Kennedy, effectively protrays the darker side of his life. However, what comes out of this biography that is missing in others is the context of Kennedy's actions which are so criticized today. For example, Thomas does not excuse the recklessness of the early days of the Kennedy administration that resulted in the clandestine attempts on Fidel Castro's life.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was very young when Bobby was alive and he made a huge impact on my thinking. As a 14 year old I took a bus to see him when he came to our city while running for Senator from New... Read morePublished 3 months ago by Susie Q
RFK was my political idol growing up. I was an 11th grader when he was shot right after winning the California primary. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Mr D
I had never been a big fan of the Kennedys. Then I heard two of Bobby's speeches: the Day of Affirmation and the death of Dr King. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Michael Zucker
The book filled in the blanks for me with regard to RFK's personality. There was some speculation on Mr. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Nats312
Robert Kennedy: His Life was an excellent book to read. I enjoyed it more than Robert F. Kennedy and His Times because Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Rhona A. Blackwell-Ready