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Seeds of Destruction: Joe Kennedy and His Sons Hardcover – August 1, 1995

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"A day without a lay," Joseph P. Kennedy once said, "is a day wasted." Apparently his sons took him literally, as Martin (Jennie: The Life of Lady Randolph Churchill) points out repeatedly in this gossipy, well-documented anecdotal biography of Kennedy and his sons, Joe Jr., Jack, Bobby and Ted. We see the dynamic senior Kennedy as the mythical moneymaker, as SEC chairman, as the seducer of Gloria Swanson and as the anti-Semitic, Nazi-appeasing ambassador to England. His wife, Rose, is portrayed as a frigid, self-absorbed religious fanatic who would rather attend a Paris fashion show than look after her family. The rivalry between Joe Jr. and Jack is detailed, with the contention that Joe died trying to emulate Jack's heroism on PT 109. Much of the book centers on the President and his humongous sex drive?which prompted actress Angie Dickinson to comment that it was "the most memorable 15 seconds of my life"?and his affair with Marilyn ("What an ass!") Monroe. The President's illnesses, amphetamine addiction and pot smoking in the White House are also related. Ted is pictured as a ne'er-do-well and Bobby as the moralistic "sexual policeman" of the administration. Love the Kennedys or hate them, readers will be captivated by this juicy read. Photos not seen by PW.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Booklist

Is there anything left to say about the Kennedys? Not really, especially after such definitive works as Doris Kearns Goodwin's The Fitzgeralds and the Kennedys (1988). Given the overabundance of material on the topic, it's more than a little surprising to discover that this latest biography has genuine appeal. Even veteran Kennedy-watchers who think they know the whole story will come away satisfied. It's not that Martin (who has chronicled the family, especially Jack, for years) offers us much that's new. Rather, it's his engaging writing style and his ability to synthesize that make the book work. By focusing on just the male Kennedys, he narrows his topic enough to let the story really flow, and his insights into the Kennedy psyche lack the familiar air of psychobabble. Unlike, say, Joe McGinniss in The Last Brother (1993), Martin uses real-life incidents, not insinuation, to fuel his psychological interpretations. If his book is finally more Goodwin-lite than it is a truly new beverage, that's not to say that it wouldn't be just right for library patrons who want to read about the glory and the tragedy of the Kennedys but don't want to get filled up on all the weighty details. Ilene Cooper
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 680 pages
  • Publisher: Putnam Adult (August 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0399140611
  • ISBN-13: 978-0399140617
  • Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 2 x 6.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,328,544 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Instead of all the usuall junk and rehash that is in most, if not all books Ralph Martin takes a different view. He studys how the father and his ways affected the sons and how this made for a strangely dynamic family group. He ( Martin) probes into the mindset of each generation and how each tragedy or world event changed each member. Fascinating to see each of the sons grow and how they were raised differently and influenced by different members of the family.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This was a good book to read and learn about the power of the Kennedy family.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
very long with no real new insights.
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Format: Hardcover
I don't know what was the author's rationale for writing this book. To me this book shows the futile efforts and attempts of a power-hungry man to influence his family and his sons. Finally Providence took over and gave him nothing but grief and perhaps regret. I am glad there was never a 'Kennedy' political dynasty. It would have been disastrous for the U.S. and for the world !!
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