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- KurzbeschreibungNEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER - From the author of Satchel comes an in-depth, vibrant, and measured biography about the most complex and controversial member of the Kennedy family.
History remembers Robert F. Kennedy as a racial healer, a tribune for the poor, and the last progressive knight of a bygone era of American politics. But Kennedy's enshrinement in the liberal pantheon was actually the final stage of a journey that had its beginnings in the conservative 1950s. In Bobby Kennedy, Larry Tye peels away layers of myth and misconception to paint a complete portrait of this singularly fascinating figure.
To capture the full arc of his subject's life, Tye draws on unpublished memoirs, unreleased government files, and fifty-eight boxes of papers that had been under lock and key for the past forty years. He conducted hundreds of interviews with RFK intimates-including Bobby's widow, Ethel, his sister Jean, and his aide John Siegenthaler-many of whom have never spoken to another biographer. Tye's determination to sift through the tangle of often contradictory opinions means that Bobby Kennedy will stand as the definitive one-volume biography of a man much beloved, but just as often misunderstood.
Bobby Kennedy's transformation from cold warrior to fiery liberal is a profoundly moving personal story that also offers a lens onto two of the most chaotic and confounding decades of twentieth-century American history. The first half of RFK's career underlines what the country was like in the era of Eisenhower, while his last years as a champion of the underclass reflect the seismic shifts wrought by the 1960s. Nurtured on the rightist orthodoxies of his dynasty-building father, Bobby Kennedy began his public life as counsel to the red-baiting senator Joseph McCarthy. He ended it with a noble campaign to unite working-class whites with poor blacks and Latinos in an electoral coalition that seemed poised to redraw the face of presidential politics. Along the way, he turned up at the center of every event that mattered, from the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis to race riots and Vietnam.
Bare-knuckle operative, cynical White House insider, romantic visionary-Bobby Kennedy was all of these things at one time or another, and each of these aspects of his personality emerges in the pages of this powerful and perceptive new biography.
Praise for Bobby Kennedy
"We are in Larry Tye's debt for bringing back to life the young presidential candidate who . . . for a brief moment, almost half a century ago, instilled hope for the future in angry, fearful Americans." -David Nasaw, The New York Times Book Review
"Sweeping . .
- AutorLarry Tye
- VerlagRandom House LCC US
- FormatGebundene Ausgabe
- Seiten608 Seiten
- Gewicht920 g
- LeseprobeChapter 1
Disciples came in flocks that sun- baked May afternoon in 1957, packing the pews at St. Mary's and spilling onto the streets outside the Irish parish in Appleton, Wisconsin, where Joseph Raymond McCarthy had been baptized and now, just forty- eight years later, he was being eulogized. It was the last of three memorials to the fallen senator and the first in the state that had elected him in landslides. Twenty- five thousand admirers from Green Bay, Neenah, and his native Grand Chute had paid their respects at his open casket. Others were keeping vigil outside the church alongside honor guards of military police and Boy Scouts. Flying in to join them were nineteen senators, seven congressmen, and other luminaries, most of whom had supported Joe McCarthy in his relentless assault on Communism. The dignitaries were whisked in a motorcade from the airport in Green Bay to the funeral in Appleton.
But one man faltered on the runway. Robert Francis Kennedy had worked as an aide to McCarthy for seven months before political and personal calculations made him step aside. Now he sat anxiously by himself on the military jet, reluctant to be seen with the conservative lawmakers and conflicted even about being in Wisconsin. His own brother, Jack, had sternly warned him to stay away. When the crowd was gone, Kennedy slipped down the exit ramp unnoticed. Nobody was waiting because no one knew he was coming. He rode into town not with the pack of senators and congressmen but in the front seat of a Cadillac convertible driven by the reporter Edwin Bayley, who was covering McCarthy's funeral for the Milwaukee Journal. At the church, Bobby sat in the choir loft, distracted and alone, and at the graveside he stood apart from the rest of the officials from Washington. When the service was over, Kennedy asked Bayley and other journalists not to write about his being there. The reporters, already in the Kennedy thrall, did as he asked.
The relationship between Robert Kennedy and Joseph McCarthy is one of the most implausible in U.S. political history. In the lexicon of American politics, the Kennedy name is shorthand for left- leaning Democratic politics, and it is a tenet of Kennedy scholarship that the first and archetypal family liberal was Bobby. The historical cliché, nourished by his family and friends, posits that Kennedy's going to work for McCarthy was a footnote or an aberration when it was neither. The truth is that the early Bobby Kennedy embraced the overheated anticommunism of the 1950s and openly disdained liberals
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