THE KENNEDY FAMILY by Joseph F. Dinneen


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This is an informal, sketchy biography of the famous Kennedy family, which, in the words of the author, has in the course of time ""become an organization dedicated to one purpose, the election of John F. Kennedy to the Presidency of the United States."" As a family history, the book leaves much to be desired, however it does convey the spirit and quality of this clan and its individual members. Besides being very rich and very Catholic, the Kennedys seem to represent the essence of togetherness. They are extremely close-knit and work for each other. Beginning with Patrick Joseph Kennedy, who started the family fortune in Boston in the 1800's, author Dineen takes us through three generations of Kennedys, the second of which is represented by Joseph P. Kennedy, ex-ambassador to Great Britain. The latter gained particular notoriety for his non-interventionist stand prior to Pearl Harbor. It is the third generation now which is in the limelight, with Senator John F. in dead center. It seems that the Kennedy family is motivated by a collective burning desire to be ""tops"". Their code, as passed down from grandfather Kennedy, preaches that second place is failure; only first place will do. To the Kennedys, of course, the Presidency is the biggest trophy of them all, and it is John whose mission it is to win it for the family mantel-piece. Religion seems to be the biggest obstacle to John's election, but a reading between the lines of this book will suggest that there is an even bigger obstacle. Kennedy himself. Despite his excellent education and war record, there is an extraordinary lack of depth or substance in John the politician. His one great outburst--an inept speech in the Senate urging that the United States back the Algerian nationalists--revealed an astonishingly sophomoric grasp of the world situation. Also, because he took no stand on the McCarthy issue, Kennedy has failed to gain the support of such noted Democrats as Mrs. Roosevelt and Herbert Lehman. In the coming months this book will be a great help to many in assessing the qualifications of a leading contender.

Pub Date: Jan. 26th, 1959
Publisher: Little, Brown