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True Compass: A Memoir Hardcover – 2009

4.2 out of 5 stars 392 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 2009
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve/Hachette Book Group; First Edition edition (2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1408702282
  • ISBN-13: 978-1408702284
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 9.5 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (392 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,571,386 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a rule, biographies don't arouse my interest, and anything labeled a "memoir" is not likely to be at the top of my reading list--or anywhere else on it for that matter. In the case of TRUE COMPASS, however, I'm thankful to have made an exception. This particular memoir held my interest for a variety of reasons:

As one who came of age politically during the presidential administration of JFK, I recognize most of the names and the events that populate Senator Kennedy's narrative. Any reader of age 50 or more who paid any attention at all to the world in which he or she was growing up will recall the radio bulletins, the TV newscasts, and the newspaper headlines of the past fifty years as events unfold in this book. We can relate to much that is here on a very personal level.

The narrative takes us beyond the surface news that we recall, giving us an insider's view. Kennedy opens the stage door for us and lets us see a fair amount of the backstage action. While no striking, history-altering revelations are here, we do get to see personal actions, interactions and reactions of major players on the world stage that we probably missed during the public performance. (Sorry, my metaphor seems to be getting a bit unwieldy.) The point is that this is not a rehash of news that we digested over the last five decades but an insider's view of the events that made the news.

These memories give us a very mortal, human view of the Kennedy clan. We all know that the Kennedy family personified influence, wealth, and political power. We may have admired them or detested them for this, but we all saw them as different, above the crowd, not really one of "us." They were the American version of royalty, untouchable, shining, and often wearing the crown of public adulation.
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Format: Hardcover
Senator Edward M. Kennedy's deeply moving memoir is the story of how the youngest most underrated of the nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, through great perserverence, through a long and difficult journey found real purpose carrying out the course his brothers had set.

An avid sailor, Kennedy said sailing helped him, "displace the emptiness inside me with the awareness of direction" and so it could be also said that the direction his brothers left him also helped displace the void left by their deaths. He not only picked up where they left off in politics but he took on the role of father-figure to all of their children too.

While there are hundreds of books about the Kennedys, this is the only definitive inside account from a member of the family, evoking high expectations for candor and revelation into the inner lives of this family like no other.

While this book is exquisite in its detail - a testament to Ted Kennedy's love of painting a picture, telling a story and lighting the dark with humor - it may leave you wanting for deeper introspections into the virtually relentless litany of tragedies that befell his life. Alas, this sailor didn't like to look back and peer too deeply into the darkness he had escaped - even in his memoir - for fear that the darkness might overtake him and engulf him in despair. Keep moving forward, stay ahead of the storm, "I can handle this" seems to have been his mantra and code for survival.

At the heart of this autobiography is the message that through perseverance, will-power and fortitude we can overcome any shortcomings, atone for any failures and succeed in our chosen course.
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Format: Hardcover
As a Massachusetts resident, Ted and the rest of the Kennedy's have been a part of fabric of the Boston since before this reviewer arrived here nearly 50 years ago. Naturally, I was anxious to see this memoir. Over the years our family has supported him but sometimes supported his competition as well. We had supported his nephew Joe Kennedy and attended the latter's birthday parties at the Hyannis Cape Cod Compound where Uncle Ted was always in attendance. My kids have strolled the famous sandy dune paths with some of the Kennedy brood and chased their dogs around the circus-sized tents set up by the Kennedy's for their many social and political events. Our family will never forget the "Blues Brothers Production" the Kennedy family acted out at one of these rallies and sing-alongs for political supporters. They are like a troop of uninhibited traveling performers. My Mother-in-law practically swooned when she met Senator Kennedy and commented on how much he resembled the picture she had of JFK on her living room wall. The entire Kennedy family is a well-oiled political machine.
The fact that the Senator died just before his memoir's release made me want to see it even more. At a hefty length of 532 pages I was hoping to finally hear Senator Edward Kennedy's explanation of a couple of important events in his life that he hasn't been exactly forthright about in the past. The most important of those events was his driving his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island in 1969 and swimming to safety while his passenger Mary Jo Kepechne, a campaign worker and maybe much more, drowned.
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