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Edward Kennedy: An Intimate Biography Paperback – Bargain Price, September 6, 2011
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Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The subtitle speaks truth: Burton Hersh's exceptional anatomy of the life of Senator Edward Kennedy is far more than the biography of a political princeling. Hersh makes a convincing case that hindmost brother of the trio whose lives so marked 1960s America was in fact the most subtly successful politician of the lot. This despite a life of seismic ups and downs, from cosseted childhood as an ambassador/speculator's youngest to an horrific air crash, the assassinations of both brothers and the near-career-ender of an automobile accident that killed one of his late brother's brightest young staffers at Chappaquiddick and the brain cancer that finally felled the "lion of the Senate" in August 2009.
Hersh is a rarity: an investigative journalist of real literary power, a power alloyed with an almost feline sense of the man whose life he interpreted and documented for nearly fifty years, from an early magazine profile of Kennedy in 1968 until Hersh's blunt 2007 dual political biography of RFK and J.Read more ›
Hersh offers a more generous view of Joe Kennedy Sr. than other books , depicting him as a loving though absent father who was loyal to his friends, such as Teddy's namesake, Edward Moore. Rejection from the Boston Brahmins fueled Joe Kennedy's competitive nature, which he instilled in his children. The loyal youngest brother rose to expectations much higher than had been thought because of the family's tragic losses.
This book documents more than any other Teddy's key role in the 1968 Bobby Kennedy campaign. Teddy campaigned actively not only in 1968 primary states but in the then dominant state conventions, where he was generally better received by party leaders than his more reserved and tense older brother. Hersh describes the RFK campaign as doomed from the start with party leaders and their delegations in lockstep behind LBJ, and, after his withdrawal, Vice President Hubert Humphrey. Teddy and many Kennedy advisors opposed the uphill campaign as it was debated, but went all out per Robert and Ethel's decision to run.
Hersh thoroughly documents Kennedy's remarkable legislative career and his failed 1980 presidential campaign, which he carried on to the convention despite impossible odds after his early losses. The author does not ignore his flaws, mainly his weakness for drink, food, and women. Though regarded as a diehard liberal, Hersh argues that Kennedy's eagerness to compromise led him at times to support legislation that many liberal Democrats strongly opposed, chiefly NAFTA and No Child Left Behind.Read more ›
For example -taking the author's depiction of the Chappaquiddick incident- Hersh is more interested in presenting Kennedy as dazed and confused by a swelling/abrasion on his head, and in reciting Kennedy's pain from torn neck muscles, as well as passing blame for the woman's death on at least three other men (Joe Gargan, Paul Markham, & Kennedy's "leathery" lawyer), than in hard investigation of what was definitely the blackest incident in Kennedy's life, his character, and his career. (The author fails to mention that there was a volunteer firehouse across from the house where the barbeque was held, and that Kennedy and friends could have sought help for the drowning woman there.) Also, without proof, the author states that Mary Jo Kopechene's photograph was retouched to give her mascaraed eyes and a somehow "come hither" look before its release to the media, because in reality she was "pasty" and solid-looking; hardly worth a place on Kennedy's sexual radar.
In any event, I don't understand why anyone would write a biography of Kennedy NOW. He's only recently passed away. A few years need to pass before an informed judgment can be rendered of this man, who had some talents but too many demons. This weak biography isn't balanced enough to suit my taste, it's not quite hagiography but its frequent dips into Kennedy-mystic/worship make me queasy.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Burton Hersh's book puts forth incorrect data concerning Teddy Kennedy's famous ski-jump ride at Tomahawk Ridge, west of Madison, Wisconsin, in the winter of 1960. (pp. Read morePublished on January 20, 2013 by Tom Watrous
Edward Kennedy: An Intimate Biography started out promising, before turning into an error strewn piece of liberal propaganda. Read morePublished on August 30, 2011 by Elevation Nation
I have problems with authors who make glaring mistakes, which show research wasn't done properly..the wedding date of Joe and Rose Kennedy was Oct. Read morePublished on October 11, 2010 by MaryjaneSch
Over the years I have placed several political biographies in my personal Hall of Fame. The Power Broker, by Robert Caro, has been at the top of the list, along with his Lyndon... Read morePublished on September 1, 2010 by Peter Golenbock