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American Son: A Portrait of John F. Kennedy, Jr.by Richard Blow
Synopses & Reviews
The last, defining years of the life of John F. Kennedy, Jr., as seen by an editor who worked for him at George magazine.
At thirty-four, better known for his social life than his work as an assistant district attorney, John F. Kennedy, Jr., was still a man in search of his destiny. All that changed in 1995, when Kennedy launched a bold new magazine about American politics, puckishly called George. Over the next four years, Kennedy's passionate commitment to the magazine — and to the ideals it stood for — transformed him.
One witness to this transformation was Richard Blow, an editor and writer who joined George several months before the release of its first issue. During their four years together, Blow observed his boss rise to enormous challenges — starting a risky new business, managing the pressures that attend a high public profile, and beginning life as a married man. With Blow as our surrogate, we see the many sides of Kennedy's personality: the rebel who fearlessly takes on politicians and pundits; the gentleman who sends gracious thank-you notes to his colleagues for their wedding gifts; the vulnerable son occasionally at odds with a mythic family legacy; the leader who stays true to his vision, no matter how difficult the circumstances.
Simply and sympathetically, Blow offers an affecting portrait of a complicated man at last coming into his own — sometimes gracefully, sometimes under siege, but never without the burden of great expectations.
"Two years ago Blow told Brill's Content — a magazine now as dead as George — that the Kennedy family was 'not opposed to the writing of history, just the bad writing of history.' Of course, what the Kennedys have always opposed is the writing of history that makes them look bad; but they have nothing to worry about here. American Son shows Blow to be exactly the sort of family retainer who has always written 'history' about (and sometimes even 'by') family members. He includes just enough of his particular Kennedy's failings to show the subject's growth toward full self-awareness and noblesse oblige." Thomas Mallon, Atlantic Monthly (read the entire Atlantic review)
"Blow, who employs an engaging writing style that makes the book seem more intimate than it is, describes the inner workings of George and follows Kennedy's evolution (and sometimes regression) as an editor. When he observes personal moments between Kennedy and his wife, Carolyn, he reports them, but those looking for serious dish will have to find it elsewhere. Still, readers will come away with a clear perception of Kennedy: a decent man struggling against a mythic legacy." Booklist
About the Author
Richard Blow was an editor of Regardie's magazine in Washington, D.C., from 1993 to 1995. He joined the staff of George several months before publication of its first issue and worked there until 2000. His work has appeared in the New York Times,The Washington Post, George, The New Republic, Rolling Stone, and Mother Jones. He lives in New York City.
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