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A Common Good: The Friendship of Robert F. Kennedy and Kenneth P. O'Donnell

O'Donnell, Helen

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ISBN 10: 0688148611 / ISBN 13: 9780688148614
Published by William Morrow & Co., New York, 1998
Used Condition: Very Good Hardcover
From Antiquarian Books of Boston (Winthrop, MA, U.S.A.)

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About this Item

With a 6 line inscription from Helen O'Donnell. Very clean and bright but the back cover is slightly bent. Size: 8vo - over 7¾" - 9¾" tall. Bookseller Inventory # 10635

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Bibliographic Details

Title: A Common Good: The Friendship of Robert F. ...

Publisher: William Morrow & Co., New York

Publication Date: 1998

Binding: Half-Leather

Book Condition:Very Good

Dust Jacket Condition: Fine

Signed: Inscribed and Signed By Author

Edition: First Edition.

About this title


Kenneth O'Donnell was JFK's chief-of-staff and the co-author of Johnny, We Hardly Knew Ye. In this intimate, revealing memoir of his long friendship with Bobby Kennedy, his daughter, Helen, honors his wish that RFK be remembered as the man Ken O'Donnell knew him to be.

Kenny and Bobby met at Harvard in 1947, where they were both members of the football and debate teams. It was the beginning of a relationship that would end only with Bobby's death. The two friends spent years at the epicenter of American politics, sharing highs and lows: JFK's ascent to the presidency; Bobby's stormy tenure as chairman of several congressional committees exploring controversial issues and later as Attorney General, locking horns with J. Edgar Hoover and Jimmy Hoffa; and JFK's assassination.

Much of the material in this poignant, illuminating memoir has never before been told. The Kennedys granted Helen O'Donnell complete access to the family archives, and encouraged many people who have never before spoken out to cooperate with her.

The result is A Common Good, an intimate look at a unique relationship. Ken O'Donnell was there when Camelot began -- and when it ended in violence. In honoring her father's request, Helen O'Donnell has shared with us her profound insights into the emotional relationship of two men at the center of American history in the twentieth century.


In A Common Good: The Friendship of Robert F. Kennedy and Kenneth P. O'Donnell, Helen O'Donnell pays tribute to her father Kenneth and his lifelong friend Bobby Kennedy. Kenneth O'Donnell met Bobby Kennedy at Harvard right after World War II, and the men remained fast friends for the rest of their lives, playing football together, working side by side on political campaigns, and striving to change the world. O'Donnell was a masterful organizer and a forthright political operator, skills that came in handy on many a campaign trail. He helped John F. Kennedy through several elections and finally served as his gatekeeper in the White House, the man who decided who got access to the president and when they got it. He came to be called "the Cobra" in the White House because of the fierce way he guarded the president's time. O'Donnell writes that her father was also involved in many policy decisions, and that despite their different socioeconomic backgrounds, the Kennedy and O'Donnell families were close. Because of O'Donnell's family connections and her access to the normally closed Kennedy archives, this book contains lots of behind-the-scenes information about the Kennedy campaigns and the intersecting lives of the two families. The untimely deaths of John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy shattered Kenneth O'Donnell. He took to drinking, staged two unsuccessful campaigns for governor of Massachusetts, and died young. At its heart, this is a very sad book about a man who lost his best friend and then didn't know what to do with himself. --Jill Marquis

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