Wednesday, August 1, 2012

The Kennedy Brothers by Charles River Editors

The Kennedy BrothersThe Kennedy Brothers by Charles River Editors

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

For all of John F. Kennedy's charisma, and Robert F. Kennedy's passionate idealism, their youngest brother Ted was the one who endured to leave the most tangible political legacy. A combination of John's vices and Robert's dedication to human rights, the Kennedy legacy is best showcased through Ted's colorful career.

Charles River Editors has written a clear, easy to read biography of the three Kennedy brothers, focusing mainly on their political careers, and while noting some of the more salacious details comprising their legend, he does not veer into gossip and scandal. (Although in regards to Ted, it is a bit impossible to find a reasonable length of time in his biography to avoid scandal!) The benefit of this is, you have a wealth of at-your-fingertips information about the Kennedy brothers--dates, events, life stories, political upheavals, and just enough personal and family information to appease the needs of any casual researcher or high school student needing to write a report.

This squeaky clean, spartan style, however, also leaves the book somewhat dry. Any reader eager to learn more about some of the more memorable Kennedy scandals will be disappointed to find not even a passing mention of someone like Marilyn Monroe, although there is a curt nod to acknowledge John's penchant for philandering. Some mention is made of Robert's devotion to Ethel, and Jackie O's reluctance to allow her children to play with Robert's, but no real mention of John-John, Caroline or the tragic miscarriage Jackie suffered while in the White House. Anyone craving the soap suds of Camelot will be better served elsewhere.

The write-up of Robert is quite good and really highlights his natural devotion to human rights and his stubborn nature about fighting causes, whether for his brother, himself, or suffering minority groups. Likewise, the write-up of Ted is very thorough and makes a note of Ted's enduring legacy despite the indiscretion and scandal that plagued his entire political career.

If anything, this book is a good stepping stone to whet the appetite of anyone interested in learning more about The Kennedys, despite the fact it's not a particularly inspiring volume on its own.

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