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The Founding Father: The Story of Joseph P. Kennedy : A Study in Power, Wealth and Family Ambition Paperback – May 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 551 pages
  • Publisher: Regnery Publishing; First Paperback Printing edition (May 1, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0895267330
  • ISBN-13: 978-0895267337
  • Product Dimensions: 1.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #789,783 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Fine and Hauntingly detailed, evoking the image of a man whose most stunning characteristic was the naked and sustained force of his want.... What makes the story so great is simply that Joseph Kennedy is a great literary character, a character in the oldest tradition, a flawed figure on a grand stage, moving toward his destiny unaware of his flaws. It is precisely because Mr. Whalen recognizes Kennedy as a literary character that this book is so brilliantly memorable." -- Joan Didion, National Review

"I think it is one of the great modern biographies. It stands with The Making of the President by Theodore White, head and shoulders above all the literature that has been written about the Kennedy Family." -- Iain Macleod, The Spectator, London

About the Author

Richard J. Whalen is a former Senior Editor of The Wall Street Journal and Fortune, and the author of six books.

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By dfitzpatrick@prodigy.net on July 16, 1998
Format: Paperback
oddly, you may be surprised about the kennedy's of massachusetts when you finish Whalen's work. It is possible that many have been quick to judge the family in a negative manner. Whalen, however, certainly points out Joseph Kennedy's very wonderful points including love of his family and gracious help for mankind. His charity for a man who wandered into his office off of the streets of Boston having just lost his son-and Mr. Kennedy buying the man a suit and paying for the funeral of that son-is particularly touching. Also of great interest to anyone interested in making a buck is how Mr. Kennedy made so much money in so many different arenas-sold out and took his profit on to the next venture-a sixth sense he had for making big money! author whalen points out this was almost always the case except his keeping ownership of Chicago's Merchandise Mart in the Kennedy name up, I believe, until currently-1998. Buy this work and then be prepared to not put it down for 48! ! hrs.! Of added interest was a historical look at how Joseph Kennedy got into B grade motion picture producing in Hollywood in the early days.
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7 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
Back in AD 1964, the sordid details of Joe Kennedy's life were kept secret. So what you have here is a very incomplete picture. But, if you want to understand his stock trading or his ambassadorship to Great Britain, then this book is for you. But compared to Kearns-Goodwin and Kessler, this is very lop-sided.
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Format: Paperback
This book was originally published in 1964 and re-issued decades later. Author Richard Whalen had the advantage of interviewing many people who knew Joseph P. Kennedy personally. Indeed, Joseph Kennedy was still alive when this book was first published. As such, as Mr. Whalen in this re-issue states in the new introduction, his original modesty that this biography might not be definitive has been changed: Mr. Whalen now asserts he has written the definitive biography. While this can always be debated, what is indisputable is that the author had access to living witnesses who had intimate business relations with Joseph Kennedy, which, I believe, is unlike all subsequent biographies on Joseph P. Kennedy.
Moreover, Whalen has set the tone and cast the pattern that nearly all other biographies on the Kennedys follow: that of dynasty. His chapter "The Stand-In", on how JFK was seen as a weak replacement for his brother Joe Jr. who had been killed in the war, is now accepted conventional wisdom but was a daring insight in 1964. The whole notion of Kennedy dynasty, which today is the ultimate cliche', was first propagated by this book. If you want a first hand account, with primary sources and eye-witnesses, author Whalen provides it. The only reason I give it 4 stars (and not 5 stars) is that some new information has come to light in the passing decades, e.g., Joe Kennedy's years in Hollywood or his involvement in squelching JFK's affairs so that they not interfere with a future Presidential candidacy. Since this book is a re-print of the 1964 book, none of those details were known. Still, it is a great biography filled with eyewitnesses who had personal knowledge of the subject, Joeseph P. Kennedy.
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