WHEN I THINK OF BOBBY by Warren Rogers


A Personal Memoir of the Kennedy Years
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 On the 25th anniversary of Robert Kennedy's death, syndicated columnist Rogers--an old friend of the Kennedys--offers a fond, adulatory remembrance of RFK as family man. Rogers makes clear that his memoir is a ``love story''-- written with the cooperation of the Kennedy family--in which he declines to address the many sensationalized allegations that journalists have made against the family (although he gently asserts that RFK's alleged affair with Marilyn Monroe did not occur). Instead, the author tries ``to capture the essence of the character, curiosity, wit, honesty, and love of family that propelled a remarkable man.'' Rogers vividly depicts a deeply religious man, profoundly devoted to his country, wife, and many children. Through many anecdotes--some genuinely amusing (a particularly ludicrous image is of dignified historian Arthur Schlesinger, in dark suit and bow tie, being ``catapulted'' into a pool at a Kennedy party)--Rogers draws a crazy-quilt picture of the chaotic family home at Hickory Hill, Virginia, headed by doting parents, filled with rambunctious small children and exotic animals, frequented by the distinguished, and animated by an endless passion for excellence. There's little discussion here of RFK as public man, except for Rogers's certainty that, had he lived, Kennedy would have been elected President in 1968 and would have profoundly altered the course of recent American history. Rogers also presents the human side of Kennedy's rivalry with Teamster president Jimmy Hoffa, showing the two to be strangely similar in many ways, but he doesn't probe into the ways that Kennedy, as as attorney general, pursued organized crime. Though generally lighthearted, the narrative takes melancholy turns with its account of RFK's severe depression after hearing of his brother's death, and with the author's eyewitness description of Kennedy's assassination after winning the 1968 California primary. A simple, affecting tribute, genuinely sentimental without descending into mawkishness.

Pub Date: June 5th, 1993
ISBN: 0-06-017042-5
Page count: 192pp
Publisher: HarperCollins
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 15th, 1993