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Edward M. Kennedy: A Biography

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Edward M. Kennedy is one of the most influential senators in Congress. For the last 35 years, he′s played a major role in events ranging from the Vietnam War to Supreme Court confirmations. He′s also been closely associated with issues such as health care, civil rights and campaign finance reform. More than the foremost lawmaker and best orator in the Senate, he′s enthrall Edward M. Kennedy is one of the most influential senators in Congress. For the last 35 years, he′s played a major role in events ranging from the Vietnam War to Supreme Court confirmations. He′s also been closely associated with issues such as health care, civil rights and campaign finance reform. More than the foremost lawmaker and best orator in the Senate, he′s enthralled (and disappointed) a generation who saw him as the keeper of his famous brothers′ flame. He′s seen America -- and her politics -- change in drastic ways. In this definitive biography, New York Times Washington Editor Adam Clymer draws an in-depth portrait of this complex man. Through interviews with Kennedy, and the people close to him, he places Kennedy′s career in a historical perspective, and observes how Kennedy′s personal life has affected his political performance. The Senator has dealt with his infamous legacy, struggled to overcome the Chappaquiddick incident, and handled spectacular failures as well as many truimphs. He′s one of the few old-fashioned liberals who has held the Democratic Party to its principles, and is a hero to many. This is a unique, enormously readable chronicle of one of the most fascinating political figures of our time.


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Edward M. Kennedy is one of the most influential senators in Congress. For the last 35 years, he′s played a major role in events ranging from the Vietnam War to Supreme Court confirmations. He′s also been closely associated with issues such as health care, civil rights and campaign finance reform. More than the foremost lawmaker and best orator in the Senate, he′s enthrall Edward M. Kennedy is one of the most influential senators in Congress. For the last 35 years, he′s played a major role in events ranging from the Vietnam War to Supreme Court confirmations. He′s also been closely associated with issues such as health care, civil rights and campaign finance reform. More than the foremost lawmaker and best orator in the Senate, he′s enthralled (and disappointed) a generation who saw him as the keeper of his famous brothers′ flame. He′s seen America -- and her politics -- change in drastic ways. In this definitive biography, New York Times Washington Editor Adam Clymer draws an in-depth portrait of this complex man. Through interviews with Kennedy, and the people close to him, he places Kennedy′s career in a historical perspective, and observes how Kennedy′s personal life has affected his political performance. The Senator has dealt with his infamous legacy, struggled to overcome the Chappaquiddick incident, and handled spectacular failures as well as many truimphs. He′s one of the few old-fashioned liberals who has held the Democratic Party to its principles, and is a hero to many. This is a unique, enormously readable chronicle of one of the most fascinating political figures of our time.

30 review for Edward M. Kennedy: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    In this book, Adam Clymer offers us a well-written, detailed portrait of the life and career of Edward Kennedy, a man who has long labored under the shadows cast by his ambitious family. Burdened by the expectations the came with the family name and tarnished by the self-inflicted wounds of scandal, he nonetheless persevered to become a force in the United States Senate, one whose career the author ranks as one of the greatest in the history of the institution. Such a judgment certainly reflects In this book, Adam Clymer offers us a well-written, detailed portrait of the life and career of Edward Kennedy, a man who has long labored under the shadows cast by his ambitious family. Burdened by the expectations the came with the family name and tarnished by the self-inflicted wounds of scandal, he nonetheless persevered to become a force in the United States Senate, one whose career the author ranks as one of the greatest in the history of the institution. Such a judgment certainly reflects Clymer's bias for his subject. But he does make a convincing case for the influential role that Kennedy has played in the Senate over the past three decades. Clymer conveys Kennedy's love for the Senate, which he argues was reflected in his half-hearted attempts for the White House in the 1970s and 1980s. While some may argue that his failure to win the nomination makes any effort to minimize his presidential campaigns a case of sour grapes, Clymer demonstrates how Kennedy thrived in the Senate in a way his brothers - who seemed to treat their careers there as little more than platforms from which to launch their bids for the White House - never did. Yet Clymer's biography is not without its flaws. As some reviewers have noted, the book occasionally bogs down in the minutiae of legislative maneuvering, the deals and rules that play such an important role of Kennedy's career (and his mastery of which is one of the keys to his influence). Even more troubling, though, is Clymer's inability to reconcile successfully the powerful senator with the dissolute personal character. He acknowledges Kennedy's personal problems but refers to most of them in passing only, which has the effect of reducing Chappaquiddick to an isolated incident rather than the most tragic example of the personal conduct which has defined the man in the minds of many Americans. In spite of this, Clymer's book stands as an excellent biography of Edward Kennedy. Detailed, insightful, and well-argued, it will remain for some time the best book about the Kennedy brother who might turn out to have been the most important and influential one of them all.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Everydayreader1

    I have read several books about the Kennedy family. Edward M. Kennedy by Adam Clymer is an excellent biography for those readers who want to know more about him, personally and professionally. Some biographies concentrate more on one aspect of someone's life, but the author strikes a good balance between the triumphs and tragedies in Edward M. Kennedy's personal life and his accomplishments in the United States Senate. I learned so much more about this extraordinary man and his enormous contribut I have read several books about the Kennedy family. Edward M. Kennedy by Adam Clymer is an excellent biography for those readers who want to know more about him, personally and professionally. Some biographies concentrate more on one aspect of someone's life, but the author strikes a good balance between the triumphs and tragedies in Edward M. Kennedy's personal life and his accomplishments in the United States Senate. I learned so much more about this extraordinary man and his enormous contribution to the American people through his years of public service. Somehow, he is much more real to me after reading this book. If you're looking for a "short and sweet" presentation, this is not the book for you. This biography is informative, lengthy, detailed and well researched.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Michael

    Having read a few biographies on Ted Kennedy and the Kennedy brothers, I found Clymer's edition to be the most well balanced. For a subject that has supporters and detractors of equal strength, Clymer covers Ted Kennedy without glossing over the controversial areas or puffing up the successes of his life. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a fair review of Ted Kennedy. Having read a few biographies on Ted Kennedy and the Kennedy brothers, I found Clymer's edition to be the most well balanced. For a subject that has supporters and detractors of equal strength, Clymer covers Ted Kennedy without glossing over the controversial areas or puffing up the successes of his life. I'd recommend this to anyone looking for a fair review of Ted Kennedy.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Alex

    Can't help but be fascinated by this family. Can't help but be fascinated by this family.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mariya

    NO

  6. 4 out of 5

    Lloyd Masel

    A man of real wealth living a life in high society, but dedicating his political life to the welfare of average America. We need more of his ilk in this testing time.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Heather

    I really am enjoying this book - but when I read it on the weekends or before going to bed, it makes me feel like I'm at work... :( I really am enjoying this book - but when I read it on the weekends or before going to bed, it makes me feel like I'm at work... :(

  8. 4 out of 5

    Joann

  9. 4 out of 5

    Jose Cintron

  10. 5 out of 5

    Jared

  11. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  12. 5 out of 5

    Miriam Jeanne Lillard

  13. 5 out of 5

    Justin

  14. 4 out of 5

    Chris

  15. 5 out of 5

    Lisa

  16. 4 out of 5

    Peter Schweitzer

  17. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  18. 5 out of 5

    Billypal

  19. 5 out of 5

    Roger

  20. 5 out of 5

    Alex Sarmiento

    Good serious look at a fascinating historical figure

  21. 4 out of 5

    Luiz Rens

  22. 5 out of 5

    Omar Masood

  23. 4 out of 5

    Kristi Smith

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rob Baskin

  25. 5 out of 5

    Angela

  26. 5 out of 5

    Emily

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Sachs

  28. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

  29. 4 out of 5

    Paul

  30. 4 out of 5

    Amy

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