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True Compass: A Memoirby Edward M. Kennedy
Too long a late-night-comedy punch line, the late Senator Kennedy led an undeniably fascinating life. Filled with riveting stories and enlivened by Kennedy's refreshing candor, True Compass is a fitting tribute to a life that was almost too big for one book.
Synopses & Reviews
In this landmark autobiography, five years in the making, Senator Edward M. Kennedy tells his extraordinary personal story — of his legendary family, politics, and fifty years at the center of national events. The youngest of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, he came of age among siblings from whom much was expected. As a young man, he played a key role in the presidential campaign of his brother John F. Kennedy, recounted here in loving detail. In 1962 he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he began a fascinating political education and became a legislator. In this historic memoir, Ted Kennedy takes us inside his family, re-creating life with his parents and brothers and explaining their profound impact on him. For the first time, he describes his heartbreak and years of struggle in the wake of their deaths. Through it all, he describes his work in the Senate on the major issues of our time — civil rights, Vietnam, Watergate, the quest for peace in Northern Ireland — and the cause of his life: improved health care for all Americans, a fight influenced by his own experiences in hospitals. His life was marked by tragedy and perseverance, a love of family, and an abiding faith. There have been controversies, too, and Kennedy addresses them with unprecedented candor. At midlife, embattled and uncertain if he would ever fall in love again, he met the woman who changed his life, Victoria Reggie Kennedy. Facing a tough reelection campaign against an aggressive challenger named Mitt Romney, Kennedy found a new voice and began one of the great third acts in American politics, sponsoring major legislation, standing up for liberal principles, and making the pivotal endorsement of Barack Obama for president. Hundreds of books have been written about the Kennedys. True Compass will endure as the definitive account from a member of America's most heralded family, an inspiring legacy to readers and to history, and a deeply moving story of a life like no other.
"Of course, the recent death of Senator Kennedy adds an extra layer of poignancy, but this would be a welcome addition to the political memoir bookshelf under any circumstances. Drawing upon a series of oral history interviews, and with the help of Ron Powers (Flags of Our Fathers), Kennedy devotes more than half of the book to the first half of his life-growing up as the youngest of his generation, gaining a political education while touring the western U.S. for Jack's presidential campaign in 1960, clashing with Lyndon Johnson over Vietnam, and the heartache of Jack and Bobby's assassinations. After a brief section on Chappaquiddick, Kennedy tends to the anecdotal when discussing his political career from clashing with Nixon over Supreme Court nominations to campaigning for Barack Obama. (Recollections of courting his second wife, Vicki, bring a welcome spark of personal charm.) Some readers may feel there is not quite enough introspection-while acknowledging his first wife's alcoholism, for example, Kennedy glosses over his own drinking problems-but despite the firm line he draws in the sand about discussing his personal life, Kennedy's tone of contrition is sincere. When he was a child, Kennedy's father told him, 'You can have a serious life or a nonserious life.' He chose the former, and at the end, seems genuinely grateful not just for what that life gave him, but what it enabled him to do for others." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Often touching . . . Kennedy tells his own story here, expansively yet selectively.... This is a book that all but the most toxic Kennedy critic could love" Boston Globe
"Kennedy was a devoted diarist whose natural gifts as a storyteller and as a sharp, painterly observer shine through every page.... True Compass reminds us — we're all the poorer for his absence." Los Angeles Times
"[T]his is an astonishingly intimate self-portrait of a man whose belief that 'if you persevere...you have a real opportunity to achieve something' was borne out by his extraordinary life." People
Edward M. Kennedy is widely regarded as one of the great Senators in the nation's history. He is also the patriarch of America's most heralded family. In this landmark autobiography, five years in the making, Senator Kennedy speaks with unprecedented candor about his extraordinary life.
The youngest of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, he came of age among siblings from whom much was expected. As a young man, he played a key role in the presidential campaign of his brother, John F. Kennedy. In 1962, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he learned how to become an effective legislator.
His life has been marked by tragedy and perseverance, a love for family and an abiding faith. He writes movingly of his brothers and their influence on him; his years of struggle in the wake of their deaths; his marriage to the woman who changed his life, Victoria Reggie Kennedy; his role in the major events of our time (from the civil rights movement to the election of Barack Obama); and how his diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor gave even greater urgency to his long crusade for improved health care for all Americans.
Written with warmth, wit, and grace, True Compass is Edward M. Kennedy's inspiring legacy to readers and to history.
Since he was a teenager, Patrick Kennedy has battled depression and addictions. For years, he hid it from everyone: the stigma was too great, not just for him but for his family, themselves no strangers to problems of addiction. Now, he is coming clean.
Patrick first ran for office in Rhode Island at age 21, and went on to win eleven straight elections, including eight terms in the U.S. House--the most electoral victories of anyone in the entire Kennedy family. Yet for much of his career, even as a prominent member of Congress, Patrick self-medicated wtih drugs and alcohol. On May 4, 2006, he crashed his car in the early morning hours near the Capitol, and his public image began to crack. This book is the first step in a campaign not just for one man, but for every family touched by mental illness and addiction: a spare-no-details, utterly honest memoir of growing up a Kennedy in the spotlight of constant public scrutiny, while secretly suffering. By telling his story, Patrick is embarking on a fight on behalf of everyone who suffers as he did, or indeed with any brain disorder.
About the Author
Edward M. Kennedy represented Massachusetts in the U.S. Senate for 47 years. In 2004, he began interviews at the Miller Center of the University of Virginia for an oral history project about his life. He worked closely on this book with Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Powers, co-author of the #1 bestseller Flags of Our Fathers and author of Mark Twain: A Life, a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.
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