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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Tragedy of the name Kennedy, April 8, 2005
This review is from: The Kennedys: An American Drama (Paperback)
One of the first things you will see are family-trees at the beginning of every part, where you can see all the members of the family, their children and their birth- and deathdates. Unfortunately for the Kennedy family many died prematurely, as is well recognized.

Most Kennedy books will be focused on John F and his brother Robert F who were both shot. But in this book they still play main parts, but not the only ones. The book starts when the Kennedy's, and Fitzgeralds, came to America and how they quickly rose in first Boston and later American society, even though they had one big disadvantage; they were Irish.

JFK's grandfather Honey Fitz became mayor of Boston by using the Irish vote. Joe Kennedy Sr. started out selling newspapers but was soon a movie producer, even having an alleged affair with movie star Gloria Swanson, something his sons would later copy with Marylin Monroe of course.

Then came the biggest move in Joe Kennedy's life; he became Ambassador in England under Roosevelt, with whom he had a somewhat strained relationship. He would ever since be referred to as the Ambassador, even in his own family.

Collier and Horowitz make it clear that the Ambassador is the most important member of the Kennedy family and that every child's actions are in some way related to him. The story is sometimes a little TV-movie sentimental, but whould would you do if you lose 4 children when you are still alive. The oldest son Joe dies in a WWII plane crash, his oldest daughter marries but loses her noble husband soon and dies herself in a plane crash a few months later.

And of course there are the deaths of JFK and RFK.

It's certainly not a hagiography telling how great the Kennedy's were. Old Joe Kennedy is sometimes shown as a towering figure who completely dominated his family's life until his stroke. JFK got his last rites twice and was often very sick with pain in his back and Addisson's desease. His medication is mentioned in the book and also are his numorous flings with women in the White House, his own house, even Airforce One. RFK seems to have been the most moral person and I believe the authors feel that way too. They explain his religion, his fight against organized crime and Jimmy Hoffa and also his meetings with minorities all over the world. He seemed to have had the Kennedy promise even more than his brother Jack or later Ted.

The last part of the book is devoted to the next generation who cannot seem to deal with their heritage and often get into trouble, it seems as if everyone in the family is doing drugs, the last Kennedy death in the old edition, even loses his life because of it.

It's a gripping story that sometimes reads like a novel. I think it gave a balanced story of the family with the good but also the bad, which made them even more human. It's a lot clearer now why the family was so loved and hated at the same time.

A must-read for Kennedy-admirer and Kennedy-hater alike.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Dec 28, 2013 11:56:25 AM PST
Desdichado says:
"Kennedys" is a plural, not a possessive, so there's no need for an apostrophe in it. Also, "numorous" is properly spelled "numerous."
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