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The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963 Paperback – October 15, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 896 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (October 15, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060502886
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060502881
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.6 x 9.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (22 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,712,131 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Journalist Leamer (The Kennedy Women) provides a stirring narrative of the Kennedy men but comes up short as regards analysis of the byzantine motivations, complex psychology and persistent moral failures that lie behind the events he otherwise describes so well. Putting his own spin on well-known anecdotes (including all the most popular tales from so many other books that document Joe Sr.'s rise in business and politics, his failure to recognize the menace of Hitler and his sponsorship of his children's careers). Leamer steadfastly refuses to shed a critical light on the proclivities of Kennedy père. The author soft-pedals, for example, the Kennedy partriarch's well-documented anti-Semitism. The same lack of critical analysis despite Leamer's access to never-before available materials constitutes a considerable flaw throughout the book. Although offering engaging and fast-moving accounts of such events as Joe Jr.'s death and Jack's rise in politics through means both fair and foul, Leamer consistently refrains from considering the ethical implications of his stories, or the evident shortcomings in the character of more than one Kennedy. He seems, for example, to step back in awe when considering the brilliance and audacity of the Kennedys' stealing Cook County and therefore the election during the 1960 presidential race. In the final analysis, Leamer is a fan, idealizing his subjects. The result is a good read, though not necessarily a balanced history. Leamer's book is the first of a projected two-volume set.
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

A follow-up to The Kennedy Women.
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Back in the seventies, bestselling author Laurence Leamer worked in a West Virginia coal mine. Four decades later that led him back to coal country to write his newest book, The Price of Justice, the story of two Pittsburgh lawyers and their more than decade long struggle to bring Don Blankenship, the chair of Massey Energy, to justice. It's a compelling story that John Grisham calls "superb...This is a book I wish I had written."

Customer Reviews

I find this book to be very well written, an outstanding piece of narrative and hard to put down.
Cort L Stapleton
I feel Leamer did concentrate a bit too much on JFK's sexual trysts, but that is a topic that no book on the Kennedys will neglect, so it's not really a complaint.
R.J. Corby
Leamer exposes new, shocking and valuable information about John F. Kennedy, his Presidency, and his brothers Joe Jr.,Bobby and Ted.
William

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Charles P. Frank on January 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If you want to read about Jack Kennedy and his dad, with a little more information about Joe Jr., then this is a book for you. Mr. Leamer never delivers the promise his title suggests. This is not to say the book fails to be interesting, but it paints a rather incomplete picture of the Kennedy history. He spends a great deal of time on Joe Sr, and goes through a fairly deep analysis of the relationship between Joe Jr. and John, but we se only fleeting glimpses of Ted as he runs for senate. We only see detail on Bobby when he becomes his brothers AG. We never see the depth of information on Bobby, who played such a significant part in JFK's life.
The book also fails to give a complete picture of any of the men by failing to explaing the relationship that occurred with Rose. We are shown that she tolerated her husband's indiscretions, but we see hardly any interplay with her sons at all. Any decent psychologist will tell you that you can't understand a man without understanding his relationship with his mother. We never see it at all.
Although I found the information delivered to be interesting, I also found it to be quite one-sided, as though it had been written by a strong fan. It gave a good amount of information into the events the Kennedy men lived (and died) through, yet left out much of the day to day information that would have filled out the image. Bottom line; interesting read, but not a detailed analysis...not by a long shot.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By givbatam3 on June 30, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In the years since John F Kennedy was elected President two kinds of "Kennedy Myths" have developed. The positive one portrays John, Robert and Ted Kennedy as liberal "saints" committed to a progressive revolution in America. The negative one shows the Kennedys to be rapacious libertines who throw off all social conventions in their personal and political lives. Leamer's book transcends these over-simplistic views and covers the lives of patriarch Joseph P Kennedy and his four sons, bringing out the complexity of this unique group of people.
Those who hold a negative view of the Kennedys will find much material to confirm their beliefs. In truth, Joe Kennedy seems to be a man with almost no redeeming virtues, a virulent anti-Semite and pro-Nazi, greedy and miserly, manipulative man. The second generation of Kennedys learned not to ask where the family's money came from. Yet Joe Kennedy went on to implement needed reforms in the Security and Exchange commission to which he was appointed, supported the progressive FDR and became the most powerful Catholic in the US.
Similarly, JFK went on to be an incredibly reckless philanderer who possibly compromised the very security of the US with liasons with women involved with organized crime and possibly even East German intelligence, but at the same time, he inspired young people to volunteer for the Peace Corps and set American on course to landing on the Moon. RFK goes to work for family friend Senator Joe McCarthy and works with the Mafia in order to destablize Castro's regime in Cuba, but then also works vigorously against the same Mafia and institutionalized racial discrimination (and somehow escapes the taint of his association with McCarthy).
Leamer show that JFK and RFK were definitely not "soft liberals".
Read more ›
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By William on October 24, 2001
Format: Hardcover
When the next Kennedy tragedy or triumph occurs, make sure this book "The Kennedy Men" is nearby, because it anticipates today what will probably become headlines tomorrow. The author Laurence Leamer tells the real truth about the accomplishments and the failures of the Kennedy family and their charismatic male leaders. This is an accurate and well-researched account of the power-driven Kennedy men, beginning with the Patriach, Joe Kennedy whose leachery and treachery in business, politics, and sex has never been more accurately researched than in this work. Leamer exposes new, shocking and valuable information about John F. Kennedy, his Presidency, and his brothers Joe Jr.,Bobby and Ted. We learn that JFK ordered napalm to be dropped on Cuban citizens during the Bay of Pigs invasion. Few Americans know how extensively JFK taped personal and telephone conversations until Leamer describes them in detail the conversations. This book documents how sorely afflicted JFK was by medication, injury, and emotional stress. By the time the bullets strike JFK in Dallas, the reader sighs with relief that the President is finally out of lifelong physical pain and severe emotional stress, and sexual dysfunction. Leamer shows the bad and the good in the Kennedy clan, much of it unreported or uninterpreted before. Secret files from the CIA, FBI, and Secret Service files are revealed in this book to document both the acheivements and glory of Camelot. Every glamorous accomplishment and detail about JFK, Jackie and Kennedy family members is well researched in these pages, just as are the dirty little secrets of petty jealousies and passions that racked the Kennedy men as they live out their spectacular lives of high drama as America's unofficial royal family. Open this book to any page and be hooked into one of the best told and most fully researched biographical histories about the Kennedy men you can find. You will need it for tomorrow's headlines!
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By R.J. Corby on January 12, 2004
Format: Paperback
I give this book a borderline 3 - 4 stars. It isn't bad - it explored all of the Kennedy men adequately but none very extensively. Leamer does do a great job of explaining the relationships among the Kennedy men, especially the complicated relationship that Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. had with all of his children.
The author offers up stunning and excruciating details about Joe Kennedy Jr's. death, as well as Kathleen's death. These instances were painful to read, but very insightful about the patriarch's emotions.
I feel Leamer did concentrate a bit too much on JFK's sexual trysts, but that is a topic that no book on the Kennedys will neglect, so it's not really a complaint.
It would have been nice had the book ended in 1968 and not 1963. Another 100 pages would have given the reader much more great reading on RFK following the president's death and also his run for the presidency in 1968.
All in all, this is a good book for diehard Kennedy aficionados.
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