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Robert Kennedy and His Times Paperback – June 3, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 1088 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; 1 edition (June 3, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0618219285
  • ISBN-13: 978-0618219285
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.5 x 1.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (43 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #879,508 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Schlesinger, historian and friend of Bobby Kennedy, has had access for the first time to private papers, letters, and journals which make possible a fresh look at both personal relationships and public events. Winner of the 1979 National Book Award for Biography.

From the Paperback edition. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

ARTHUR M. SCHLESINGER, JR., the author of sixteen books, was a renowned historian and social critic. He twice won the Pulitzer Prize, in 1946 for The Age of Jackson and in 1966 for A Thousand Days. He was also the winner of the National Book Award for both A Thousand Days and Robert Kennedy and His Times (1979). In 1998 he was awarded the prestigious National Humanities Medal.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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This is one the best biographies and history books that I have read.
Joshua D. Hamilton
Every facet of Robert Kennedy's career is covered in this book by noted author Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. who has meticulous research.
Bill Emblom
RFK is shown to be a man of great conviction, courage and compassion.
C. Ryan

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 8, 1999
Format: Paperback
All I can say is that I am truly sorry I missed the man and the time period. I borrowed the book from a friend wanting to learn more about my father's hero. I couldn't stop reading about the amazingly complex, sometimes flawed, man and his times. Now I find myself constantly wondering what it would have been like to live through the amazing highs and tremendous lows that RFK had to endure. I now quote him in school papers and refer to his philosophy in different social settings. Read this book and learn about the president that almost was. Read about the man that did so much for our country and could have done so much more. It hurts me to think of what could have been if only he would have been allowed to live and fight. Schlesinger lays down the foundation of RFK's beliefs and strategies in an easy to read way. Needless to say, he is no longer only my father's hero, he's mine too.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By J. Winokur on March 15, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Schlesinger, a Kennedy insider, takes advantage of that and of his skill as a historian to present a wonderful study of Bobby Kennedy during his life on the national scene, especially as Attorney General and after.

His few years after JFK's assassination -- 1963-68 -- were years of profound changes in Bobby. Previously characterized as ruthless and opportunist, he seemed after his brother's death to also become a more compassionate and tender public figure. Though many bitterly criticized his entry into the presidential race in 1968 -- after Eugene McCarthy's single-issue anti-war challenge had forced LBJ's withdrawal -- Bobby won back most of liberal America in a few short months of campaigning, and was on his way to win the Democratic nomination when assassinated -- the night of his victory the California primary. Schlesinger was up close during this time, and sheds light on this extraordinary transformation with rationality, perspective and great care. Beyond being Bobby's friend, Schlesinger is at the same time truly a scholar. His scholarship allows his book to systematically present an extraordinary number of quotations by the major players in Kennedy's life in those years. It is thoroughly referenced, with good notes. Beyond that, the quotations add great dimension to the portrait of a great man moving through private and public transformation.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By L. Bravim VINE VOICE on July 7, 2007
Format: Paperback
Arthur Schlesinger writes competently enough on RFK's religious and political beliefs and evolution as a public figure. There is roughly 400 pages on his time as Attorney General and 300 on his time as U.S. Senator and presidential candidate. What is lacking is a feeling of really knowing the man personally that I usually get after reading a good biography (e.g. Truman, Years of Lyndon Johnson). Though Schlesinger's is among the longest RFK biographies, almost nothing is mentioned about his marriage, relationship with children and family or anything else aside from his public life and persona. The most interesting aspect of RFK is his willingness to get dirty; visiting rat-infested slums in Bedford, NY and listening to people. No U.S. Senator does that anymore. He truly cared about poverty and suffering and based his presidential campaign around it. He was an excellent public servant and; had he lived a few years longer, would have made a great president. Considering this is the highest-regarded of RFK biography, I was sorely disappointed. Schlesinger as historian manages only dry prose which cannot capture the style or mood of the nation at the end of Kennedy's life.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jerry Wilt on January 11, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Although long (approximately 950 pages), the book is by far an exceptional look at the life of RFK. You realize what a truly and personal man that he was; and how he would have made a difference had he been elected President (speculation, of course). Nevertheless, we read what a caring and compassionate man that we was - a great supporter of the poor, the needy, the Blacks, civil rights - we could definitely use more people like him today who truly believe in these causes.

The book deals with his fights in the McCarthy era; his fights with Hoffa and other organized crime figures; the Cuban crises, and so on. The book seems compartmentalized, in this respect, and may have read better if it had been written in a chronological type order. Nevertheless, the book is exceptional. I think Arthur Schlesinger writes objectively and I disagree that the book is written in a worship style. For my purposes, once the book gets to the part where RFK joins his brother in the administration, the book really takes off.

After reading this book, you realize what a loss the world is without a human like RFK.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By C. Ryan on January 25, 2007
Format: Paperback
I really enjoyed reading this book. Schlesinger has given us a true portrait of Robert Kennedy, including wonderful insights into his childhood and early adult life by publishing excerpts from family letters.

He goes into great depth to show the work that RFK did as his brother's Attorney General (sometimes a little too much depth) but it gives you an appreciation for RFK's great administrative skills. After seeing how RFK worked as head of the Justice Department, surrounding himself with the `best and the brightest' I believe that he could have a made a great president.

What is amazing from this book is the transformation of RFK following his brother's assassination. He became a champion of the poor, of blacks and an outspoken opponent of the Vietnam war. RFK is shown to be a man of great conviction, courage and compassion. Schlesinger also portrays a man of introspection, humor and family values.

It was a great tragedy that he was himself killed in 1968. Unfortunately the book ends rather abruptly upon RFK's death, while I thought a chapter summing up his life and legacy was needed.

That said, this is still the best book available on the life of Robert Kennedy. I recommend this book to everyone who wants to know more about the complex historical figure of RFK.

Whether you agreed with all his politics or not, you come away from this book inspired by Kennedy's example and by his quest to "tame the savagenesss of man and to make gentle the life of this world."
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