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Victura: The Kennedys, a Sailboat, and the…

Victura: The Kennedys, a Sailboat, and the Sea

by James W. Graham

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179929,137 (3.94)6
Winner of the Chicago Book Review's Best Books of the Year (2014) To truly understand the dynamics and magic of the Kennedy family, one must understand their passion for sailing and the sea. Many families sail together, but the Kennedys' relationship with Victura, the 25-foot sloop purchased in 1932, stands apart. Throughout their brief lives, Joe Jr., Jack, and Bobby spent many hours racing Victura. Lack of effort in a race by one of his sons could infuriate Joseph P. Kennedy, and Joe Jr. and Jack ranked among the best collegiate sailors in New England. Likewise, Eunice emerged as a gifted sailor and fierce competitor, the equal of any of her brothers. The Kennedys believed that Jack's experience sailing Victura helped him survive the sinking of his PT boat during World War II. In the 1950s, glossy Life magazine photos of Jack and Jackie on Victura's bow helped define the winning Kennedy brand. Jack doodled sketches of Victura during Oval Office meetings, and it's probable that his love of seafaring played a role in his 1961 decision to put a man on the moon, an enterprise he referred to as "spacefaring." Ted loved Victura as much as any of his siblings did and, with his own children and the children of his lost brothers as crew, he sailed into his old age: past the shoals of an ebbing career, and into his eventual role as the "Lion of the Senate." In Victura, James W. Graham charts the progress of America's signature twentieth-century family dynasty in a narrative both stunningly original and deeply gripping. This true tale of one small sailboat is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the great story of the Kennedys.… (more)



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This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
If the Camelot Kennedy lore doesn't appeal to you, chances are you will not like VICTURA. Although much is told of RFK, JFK and Teddy, very little is mentioned of Jackie O and their spousal relationships within the Kennedy core family. I would have liked to see these relationships included, as I consider their wives and how they are treated within the family relevant.
Although the story purports the moral values the family learned, such as loyalty to each other, those values from my reading, only extended to the Kennedy core clan and less to those of their spouses and the world around them. The story also tells how the Kennedy's were raised with a sense of serving others and the contributions they have made to this world because of lessons learned from Victura. To me, I had problems, because although the book tells of the moral values and good the Kennedy's accomplished, it tends to ignore their moral failings, unless they were well publicized. Upon finishing this book, I found myself wondering whether or not the Kennedy sense of servitude was merely a tool to keep them in good standing with the public. ( )
  Teritree001971 | Jul 28, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
One of the most well-written books I’ve recently read, Victura: The Kennedys, A Sailboat, and The Sea, describes the influence that the sea had and continues to have on this very public family. I found the whole concept of the book to be very creative. After all, numerous books have been written about the Kennedys, but here is a book that doesn’t just regurgitate what we already know about the Kennedys. Instead, the author gives just enough biographical history of their lives—their many tragedies and successes-- and weaves into these events a powerful tradition and love for the sea which fed their spirit to endure.

I enjoyed learning about some of the speeches made by various Kennedys in which they referenced the sea, tales from the sea, or particular poets. Additionally, I knew they were a sailing family, but I didn’t really know the extent of it as a family tradition and how important racing was. As a learning tool sailing taught them about leadership, competing, discipline and teamwork. But it’s the fact that they drew such strength from the sea, from the stars, from its peacefulness that most impressed me and how they found mental sustenance from it during difficult times.

It’s no wonder that anyone growing up surrounded by the sea would have an attachment to it; this is especially true of Cape Codders. In Victura the author, James W. Graham, a sailor himself, dives deeper to demonstrate that sea water actually runs in the Kennedys’ blood. I can highly recommend it. ( )
  curlylocks | Jul 15, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
I received this book for free through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers.

When I first started reading this book, I found it to be very boring. It talked a lot about boats, which I don't know much about. But once it got to part 2, it got more interesting. It talked more about the Kennedys and how sailing impacted their lives. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Kennedys. ( )
  jessicadelellis | Jul 14, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
Having read many books about the Kennedy family, I was unsure this book could hold my interest or add any new insights. However, placing the small sloop Victura as the center of the Kennedy family's traditions and strength over many generations made for a poignant and unique story. Recommended for anyone seeking to understand the Kennedy dynasty better. ( )
  jlafleur | Jul 10, 2014 |
This review was written for LibraryThing Early Reviewers.
"Sailing is a metaphor for life". These words, attributed to Ted Kennedy by the author, constitute the theme for Victura, an in-depth look at the childhood of John F. Kennedy and his siblings. Their father's passion and drive to succeed influenced them from a very young age. They were taught to sail, to race, and to win. Second-place was not acceptable!

The Kennedy's were a remarkable family and this is a great story. The author had extensive access to family members, so there is a very personal tone to the story. ( )
  LoisB | Jul 9, 2014 |
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