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The founding father; the story of Joseph P.…

The founding father; the story of Joseph P. Kennedy

by Richard J. Whalen

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This book, published about a year after the president's assasination, could, in retrospect, be seen as the first step in the debunking of the Kennedy legend. So far have we moved from the near hagiography which many apparently sensible authors produced about the Kennedys, that even wild legends are now widely believed - e.g. that the Mob stole the election for Kennedy. (The figures just don't support that.)

It is not that this book is at all hostile to Kennedy (senior or junior). For the most part he provides a rather over-detailed factual narrative, rather eschewing opinion. When he does venture commentary, he is often unduly kind to his subject.

It is just that the facts that he marshalls, prety well damn Kennedy for themselves. Kennedy spent his whole life in a single minded quest for wealth and status. He inherited quite considerable wealth from a father who had worked himself out of the slums of East Boston. But Kennedy wanted not only real riches, but also the recognition which the WASPs had denied his father. He was perhaps not a bad man exactly. Some of his ruthless money-making sailed abit close to the wind, but was never exactly criminal. But there appears to have been nothing behind his ambition. I was an end in itself. He supported Roosevelt - a man of his origins would just not have been accepted as a Republican. But he was always a pretty unconvincing New Dealer.

Did he aspire to the presidency himself? Well, he certainly never admitted it; but others thought he did - and even campaigned for him. His eldest son - a caualty of WW2 - openly aspired to the presidency. And after Joe Jnr's tragic death his rather undistinguished kid brother some how got into politics, and of course eventually got to the top.

Joseph Kennedy, when dressing for dinner at Buckingham Palace remarkd to his wife "It's a long way from East Boston." One things something similar was going through his mind as he watched his son inaugurrated as President of the United States. The question is, wass East Boston improved any the one family's rise form it?
  GeorgeBowling | Oct 30, 2011 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0895267330, Paperback)

An invaluable book... it approaches the members of the Kennedy family as denizens of history and not of mythology...Whalen makes many fascinating contributions to history. --Chicago Tribune

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:52 -0400)

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