The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963

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9780688163150: The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963

In this triumphant new work already hailed as a powerful American epic, Laurence Leamer chronicles the Kennedy men and their struggle to create the most powerful family in the United States. The Kennedy Men is the first volume in a multi-generational history that will forever change the way America views its most famous family. Beginning in 1901 with twelve-year-old Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. delivering hats to Boston's social elite and ending in 1963 with the assassination of his son, President John F. Kennedy, Leamer seamlessly unites the complex strands of their economic, political, and social rise.

This magnificent new volume is based on four years of interviews with Kennedy insiders and experts, as well as in-depth research including unprecedented new sources and materials: the private archives of JFK's longtime secretary Evelyn Lincoln, secret tapes JFK recorded in the Oval Office, revealing letters from the president's doctors, Rose Kennedy's never-before-heard interview tapes, and interviews with CIA operatives and Kennedy family members.

Throughout, The Kennedy Men brings to life five bold, ambitious men. The Kennedy patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr., was one of the richest, strongest men in America's history. His firstborn son, Joseph P. Kennedy Jr., was the heir apparent, a handsome, gregarious youth who died a hero's death. John F. Kennedy picked up his brother's fallen mantle and carried it all the way to the White House. Leamer details the heartbreaking story of President Kennedy's health and how it affected not only him, but also America and the world. Robert F. Kennedy, his brother's liege, was an attorney general of unprecedented power, fighting both organized crime and a secret war against Castro. Edward M. Kennedy, the youngest of that generation of Kennedy men, was a fun-loving athlete who reluctantly headed up the hard road to power.

Combining powerful dramatic narrative with impeccably researched detail, Leamer illuminates the Kennedys' aspirations and love of family, their accomplishments and failures, their heroism and frailty, their loves and passions, and their patriotism and selfishness. Filled with startling revelations from headline-making stories of great events within the Oval Office such as the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis to the secret untold tales of their wives and lovers-the story of the Kennedy men is here in all its triumph and tragedy. It is a spellbinding personal history of individuals and a journey of character through time told by a brilliant, masterful writer.

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About the Author:

Laurence Leamer is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including The Kennedy Women and The Price of Justice. He has worked in a French factory and a West Virginia coal mine, and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. His play, Rose, was produced off Broadway last year. He lives in Palm Beach, Florida, and Washington, D.C., with his wife, Vesna Obradovic Leamer.

From Publishers Weekly:

Journalist Leamer (The Kennedy Women) provides a stirring narrative of the Kennedy men but comes up short as regards analysis of the byzantine motivations, complex psychology and persistent moral failures that lie behind the events he otherwise describes so well. Putting his own spin on well-known anecdotes (including all the most popular tales from so many other books that document Joe Sr.'s rise in business and politics, his failure to recognize the menace of Hitler and his sponsorship of his children's careers) Leamer steadfastly refuses to shed a critical light on the proclivities of Kennedy pŠre. The author soft-pedals, for example, the Kennedy partriarch's well-documented anti-Semitism. The same lack of critical analysis despite Leamer's access to never-before available materials constitutes a considerable flaw throughout the book. Although offering engaging and fast-moving accounts of such events as Joe Jr.'s death and Jack's rise in politics through means both fair and foul, Leamer consistently refrains from considering the ethical implications of his stories, or the evident shortcomings in the character of more than one Kennedy. He seems, for example, to step back in awe when considering the brilliance and audacity of the Kennedys' stealing Cook County and therefore the election during the 1960 presidential race. In the final analysis, Leamer is a fan, idealizing his subjects. The result is a good read, though not necessarily a balanced history. Leamer's book is the first of a projected two-volume set. 32 pages b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, Joy Harris. (Oct. 16) Forecast: The Kennedy Women sold 350,000 copies, and this new book will probably be the biggest Kennedy book in a big Kennedy season; it's a BOMC main selection. Leamer will be on the Today show on Oct. 17, and there will be a cover story in USA Weekend, a 15-city TV satellite tour and a 15-city radio campaign.

Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.

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