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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

3.9 out of 5 stars 9 customer reviews

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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 chairman and editorial director of the Washington-based research firm, Worldwide Information Resources, Ltd. He is a former editorial writer for The Wall Street Journal and a member of the board of editors of Fortune. Among his published books are The Founding Father: The Story "of Joseph P. Kennedy, A City Destroying Itself; An "Angry View "of New "York City, Catch the Falling Flag: "A "Republican's Challenge to His Party, and Talcing Sides: America from Kennedy to Nixon to Kennedy.
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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: 6 x 1.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,512,194 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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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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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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
finally, THE definitive autobiography of Joseph Kennedy is available digitally. I have read every biography on JPK and I can unequivocally that this is the most comprehensive, thorough, fair, and insightful book written on the patriarch to date. This was written with pure objectivity in mind, written free of tabloid sensationalism most commonly associated with the subject.

Kennedy was a fascinating man of tremendous accomplishment, and there are endless myths and rumors. If you are only going to read one book on Joe, I cannot emphasize enough that this needs to be the one.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One of the first and most accurate books on Joe Kennedy. It was written as it happened; Richard Whalen was a reporter for Fortune magazine and was assigned to this story by the publisher, Henry Luce himself. Although it was written over fifty years ago, not much has been discovered about Kennedy since
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Format: Paperback
Written soon after the death of JFK in 1963, THE FOUNDING FATHER offers a comprehensive portrait of the patriarch of the Kennedy dynasty. A dynamic person, quick on the uptake and with a cool business head, Joseph P. Kennedy enjoyed a highly successful career, as well as being a loyal family man, devoted to his nine children. Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book is the discussion of Kennedy's time as Ambassador to the United Kingdom; he became close friends with Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, and vigorously supported the policy of peacemaking with Adolf Hitler. This was Kennedy's biggest mistake; while endeavoring to protect US interests and keep them out of a war, he also failed to understand Hitler's desires to conquer the whole of Europe as well as Russia. It was not surprising, therefore, that Kennedy should not have got on very well with Winston Churchill. The book is both sympathetic and well-written - even though, at the time of writing, the author did not have access to many of the secret government documents pertaining to Kennedy's political career.
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