EDWARD KENNEDY AND THE CAMELOT LEGACY by James MacGregor Burns

EDWARD KENNEDY AND THE CAMELOT LEGACY

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KIRKUS REVIEW

The surest sign yet that Ted Kennedy has not ruled himself out of the 1976 race may be this lengthy portrait-cum-prognosis by the Pulitzer Prize-winning historian who once received co-operation in writing ""the only serious pre-Presidential biography"" of JFK because its subject ""believed that Burns' ability, and his standing in the liberal intellectual community, would give the book a stature among the audience we hoped it would reach"" (Sorensen, Kennedy). Otherwise, who would want to know Ted's elementary school grades, semester by semester--or ponder how Joan Kennedy would bear up as the President's wife (keeping in mind ""the availability of a trio of unusually attractive. . . sisters able to serve if needed as supplementary hostesses in the White House"")? Burns' account of Kennedy and the clan through Chappaquiddick is dutiful, discreet, and on such matters as the disastrous Morrissey nomination, blandly Uninformative. He takes Kennedy's word on Chappaquiddick, albeit with regret that ""In behaving differently from what his brothers would have done, he had betrayed the Camelot tradition of honor."" Fuller, more discerning attention is given Kennedy's later activities on behalf of blacks and other minorities, health care, gun control; and then, under the rubric ""The Presidential Prospect,"" Burns begins an extended speculation on Kennedy's 1976 intentions (he'll accept a draft), his chance of winning (a sure thing), and what sort of president he would/will make. . . . But should Camelot yield to Chappaquiddick or other contingencies (see Sherrill, below), can this book be recycled in December?

Pub Date: April 26th, 1976
ISBN: 0393331849
Publisher: Norton