"As Rose had said so many years ago, the Kennedys were like a nation unto themselves, with their own private language and customs. They invited friends into their lives, but there was always a distance between themselves and others". Ths book chronicles five matrilineal generations of America's pre-eminent political dynasty. It is a story of epic proportions, brimming with triumph and tragedy, courage and compliance, self-sacrifice and self delusion. Moving from steerage on an immigrant boat from Ireland to the slums of Boston, from the court of St James to the White House and beyond, this book paints in-depth portraits of the mothers, wives, sisters and daughters who stood beside some of the most dynamic men of the twentieth century through occasions of victory and great opulence, scandal and heartbreak. The lynchpin of the story is Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, President Kennedy's mother, born on 22 July 1890 and still alive today, who has presided over the successes and catastrophes with the same determinedly positive outlook that has become the Kennedy trademark. By focusing on the women, Leamer sheds new light on an extraordinary family. Here are revelations including the tragic and horrifying story of Rosemary, the oldest Kennedy daughter, who was retarded: the closely guarded account of Rose's response to Chappaquiddick; the family's private reaction to the William Kennedy Smith rape charge; and the truth behind Jackie's dignified battle to live and die in privacy. For five years Laurence Leamer has researched this book, interviewing scores of relatives and close family associates, gaining access to hundreds of personal documents. Unusually, since the Kennedy family almost always shy away from discussing the past, seeing this as a means of psychological survival, Leamer gained the Kennedys' confidence and received unprecedented cooperation from them. The result is a revealing study of an American family who helped shape the political and social fabric of the twentieth century.
Biographies & Memoirs, Specific Groups, Women,