JOSEPH KENNEDY: A Life and Times by David Koskoff

JOSEPH KENNEDY: A Life and Times

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More about the Kennedys -- a family which seems to be taking forever to peak and heaven knows how many grandchildren to come -- in a thoroughly researched and scholarly biography (a hundred pages of footnotes) of the paterfamilias of the clan. Koskoff attempts to display the complex personality of the late millionaire presidential parent by offering an almost minute-by-minute chronology of his doings, from his childhood obsession with baseball to his final, fatal stroke. Included are all the usual Kennedy cliches, plus a wealth of additional trivia (does anyone really care that Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., who died in World War II, was the ""first kid on his block to get laid""?). The book probes the senior Kennedy's shady business deals, his triumphs as Chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and his vulgarities as U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James. The trouble with Kennedy, FDR once confided to a crony, was that he expected the President to hold his hand -- perhaps a hangover, the author believes, from his failure as a boy to gain acceptance from Boston's Brahmins. But whether or not it motivated Kennedy out of Striver's Row is questionable. Boston social acceptance was always to be withheld, even after he had married his daughter to the heir to a dukedom and pushed his son into the presidency. A lot of hard work went into this book, but Kennedy, finally, is too small a subject for so big an analysis.

Pub Date: April 2nd, 1974
Publisher: Prentice-Hall