Based on hundreds of interviews and years of research, an intimate and revealing portrait of the Ethel Skakel Kennedy, the widow of Robert Kennedy, reveals a driven woman with a tragic family history and with great political influence. 100,000 first printing. $150,000 ad/promo.
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Yet another Kennedy bio from the school of journalism that mistakes an avalanche of minutiae for the thoughtful examination of a life. No irrelevant detail--from the length of her skirts to the thank-you notes she sent her dressmaker--escapes examination in this account of Ethel Kennedy's life. If Oppenheimer (Barbara Walters, 1990, etc.) has a point of view, it seems to be that being rich and famous is hell, and it is hell squared if you're both a Skakel and a Kennedy. A brief review of Ethel's ancestors takes the reader back to Yazoo County, Miss., and her great-grandfather, who was one of 11 children. Ethel herself was one of seven in an unruly tribe, wealthy and privileged but undisciplined. Her brothers terrorized Greenwich, Conn., with their antics, as some of Ethel's 11 children would later terrorize Hyannis Port, Mass., and Hickory Hill, Va. The young Ethel was nevertheless a good fit for the Kennedy family. Athletic, schooled by the nuns of the Sacred Heart (as were Rose and her daughters) to give husband and children priority in life, she was an exuberant, extroverted complement to the sometimes melancholy Robert F. Kennedy. She also bravely faced tragic loss--her parents, her brother, her brother-in-law, her husband, a son. But she was a notorious penny-pincher, could be vindictive and unreasonably demanding, and was given to rages after Bobby's assassination. That her flaws and her family scandals overshadow her virtues and accomplishments make this unrewarding reading. Arranging index cards in the right order does not make for enlightening biography. With her children leading relatively useful lives and with a personal history of philanthropic activism, Ethel deserves better. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) ($150,000 ad/promo) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved.From Publishers Weekly:
Oppenheimer relentlessly chips away at the veneer of the Kennedy mystique in this gossipy, sometimes shocking biography of Ethel Skakel Kennedy (born in 1928), widow of Attorney General Robert Kennedy. Daughter of a driven, alcoholic coal magnate and a borderline-alcoholic mother, Ethel Kennedy is portrayed as an arrogant, abusive, highly erratic woman who spent her married life trying to prove herself as competitive and shrewd as the Kennedys. At the same time, she devoted considerable energy to covering up the scandals of some of her 11 children and relatives that included arson, drug addiction, even two murders. A Skakel relative allegedly killed somebody in 1958; another Skakel was one of two suspects in a 1975 murder case. Oppenheimer ( Barbara Walters: An Unauthorized Biography ) pries loose a raft of such family secrets, also drawing heavily on published accounts. With all his cataloguing of dirt, this ultimately depressing biography proves to be biased and mean-spirited. Photos not seen by PW. $150,000 ad/promo; first serial to New York magazine; Literary Guild featured alternate.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Book Description St Martins Pr, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX0312110405
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M0312110405
Book Description St Martins Pr, 1994. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Never used!. Bookseller Inventory # P110312110405
Book Description St Martins Pr. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. 0312110405 New Condition. Bookseller Inventory # NEW7.0085151