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Robert Kennedy and His Times

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Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., chronicles the short life of the Kennedy family's second presidential hopeful in "a story that leaves the reader aching for what cannot be recaptured" (Miami Herald). Schlesinger's account vividly recalls the forces that shaped Robert Kennedy, from his position as the third son of a powerful Irish Catholic political clan to his concern for issue Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., chronicles the short life of the Kennedy family's second presidential hopeful in "a story that leaves the reader aching for what cannot be recaptured" (Miami Herald). Schlesinger's account vividly recalls the forces that shaped Robert Kennedy, from his position as the third son of a powerful Irish Catholic political clan to his concern for issues of social justice in the turbulent 1960s. ROBERT KENNEDY AND HIS TIMES is "a picture of a deeply compassionate man hiding his vulnerability, drawn to the underdogs and the unfortunates in society by his life experiences and sufferings" (Los Angeles Times).


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Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., chronicles the short life of the Kennedy family's second presidential hopeful in "a story that leaves the reader aching for what cannot be recaptured" (Miami Herald). Schlesinger's account vividly recalls the forces that shaped Robert Kennedy, from his position as the third son of a powerful Irish Catholic political clan to his concern for issue Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., chronicles the short life of the Kennedy family's second presidential hopeful in "a story that leaves the reader aching for what cannot be recaptured" (Miami Herald). Schlesinger's account vividly recalls the forces that shaped Robert Kennedy, from his position as the third son of a powerful Irish Catholic political clan to his concern for issues of social justice in the turbulent 1960s. ROBERT KENNEDY AND HIS TIMES is "a picture of a deeply compassionate man hiding his vulnerability, drawn to the underdogs and the unfortunates in society by his life experiences and sufferings" (Los Angeles Times).

30 review for Robert Kennedy and His Times

  1. 4 out of 5

    Thomas Canfield

    The 50th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s assassination seemed an appropriate occasion to read Arthur Schlesinger’s epic biography, ‘Robert Kennedy and his Times’. Sufficient time has elapsed where one can take a dispassionate look at the man and at the era which he helped to define. Or perhaps not. The Kennedys continue to evoke strong passions, pro and con. Their merits, and flaws, remain the subject of debate to this day. What impressed me most about RFK - perhaps the dominant impression I took The 50th anniversary of Robert Kennedy’s assassination seemed an appropriate occasion to read Arthur Schlesinger’s epic biography, ‘Robert Kennedy and his Times’. Sufficient time has elapsed where one can take a dispassionate look at the man and at the era which he helped to define. Or perhaps not. The Kennedys continue to evoke strong passions, pro and con. Their merits, and flaws, remain the subject of debate to this day. What impressed me most about RFK - perhaps the dominant impression I took away from this biography - was his ability to grow and mature as a person and a man. He was never a static figure, nor one unaware of his own shortcomings. Though born to wealth and privilege, he was able to move beyond this, able to broaden his horizons and deepen his empathy, to the point where he became conversant with the broad spectrum of struggling humanity, able to walk in their shoes and relate to their problems and concerns. Such a thing could never be said of such contemporary politicians as G. W. Bush or John Kerry - men of wealth and privilege who never seemed able to shed their limitations and, perhaps, never even recognized them as such. RFK stood head and shoulders above such figures - and, indeed, above most politicians, of whatsoever background or party affiliation. Schlesinger’s biography, it must be said, is far from being an impartial look at Robert Kennedy. Schlesinger knew, respected and admired RFK and makes a case that the reader should share in these feelings. The book sometimes reads like a presentation offered by defense counsel, though always polished and persuasive. Indeed, Schlesinger’s erudition, the broad expanse of his intellect, his ability to marshal facts and details to buttress some argument, would, were it not so congenial, be more than a little intimidating. The author is a self-professed intellectual, but in the best sense of that term; never dry, didactic or conceited. His portrait of RFK is a memorable one. The book is that rare instance where subject and biographer are perfectly matched. The result is, as it were, worthy of them both.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    Great portrait of a very complex and I think very important figure in the political and social history of the United States. Not just a simple biography, which would have been interesting enough, but really an insightful foray into the political process in general. Perception vs. Reality, bureaucratic frustrations, and the complexity of 'the system' are just a few of the over-arching issues that are dealt with here that not only illuminate the RFK legacy but can be thoughtfully applied to almost Great portrait of a very complex and I think very important figure in the political and social history of the United States. Not just a simple biography, which would have been interesting enough, but really an insightful foray into the political process in general. Perception vs. Reality, bureaucratic frustrations, and the complexity of 'the system' are just a few of the over-arching issues that are dealt with here that not only illuminate the RFK legacy but can be thoughtfully applied to almost any political situation past of present. With the relationship between Schlesinger and the Kennedy family (very close), one must be wary that the relationship does not taint the message and I think Schlesinger does a very good job in this regard. While the author's closeness to the family has the potential to be a negative Schlesinger manages to turn it into a positive by remaining even handed and capturing some truly riveting accounts of some of the defining moments of the era that would probably be unavailable for an author further removed from the Kennedy's inner circle. Easy to see why this won the National Book Award.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Everything I've read about the Kennedy's spoke to their compassion. Ambition and politics always came after caring. I started reading this book after Arthur Schlesinger died a couple of years ago (I read A Thousand Days in high school and loved it). I really didn't know much about RFK before starting this book. Well he worked for Joe McCarthy, ran his brothers Presidential campaign, Attorney general overseeing an enormous amount of wiretaps on american citizens, deeply and truly cared about pover Everything I've read about the Kennedy's spoke to their compassion. Ambition and politics always came after caring. I started reading this book after Arthur Schlesinger died a couple of years ago (I read A Thousand Days in high school and loved it). I really didn't know much about RFK before starting this book. Well he worked for Joe McCarthy, ran his brothers Presidential campaign, Attorney general overseeing an enormous amount of wiretaps on american citizens, deeply and truly cared about poverty, indians, and african americans, helped facilitate one of the first private-public partnerships to revitalize sections of brooklyn, and was a strong early opponent of the vietnam war. This country would have been lucky to have him longer than it did. Just a great quote from near the end of the book: "The real stake in the American political process involves not the fate of speechwriters and fund-raisers but the lives of millions of people seeking hope out of despair."

  4. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Million

    Great book! Despite being over 900 pages, I did not need a long time to read this. Schlesinger Jr. brings a vivid, personal, yet balanced perspective to RFK. I came away from reading this with the impression that Kennedy was continually evolving personally as well as professionally, yet he did not compromise his characteristic bluntness or what he believed in. Unfortunately, the shadow of JFK always seemed to loom over him - especially following his assassination in 1963. RFK seemed to live with Great book! Despite being over 900 pages, I did not need a long time to read this. Schlesinger Jr. brings a vivid, personal, yet balanced perspective to RFK. I came away from reading this with the impression that Kennedy was continually evolving personally as well as professionally, yet he did not compromise his characteristic bluntness or what he believed in. Unfortunately, the shadow of JFK always seemed to loom over him - especially following his assassination in 1963. RFK seemed to live with a continual fear of gunshots and being shot himself, yet he did not keep this fear from letting him live his life. Unfortunately, his decision to do that also contributed to him losing him life. Schlesinger Jr. details the torment that went through RFK's mind as he contemplated (too long) the decision to run in 1968.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Marsinay

    Still the definitive RFK biography; I think any criticism that this is hagiography is unwarranted. While Schlesinger was not an unbiased observer (which always begs the question if such a thing is even possible), he was extremely fair in portraying the criticisms that arose in response to RFK. His own critiques were often more mild, and information revealed decades after this was published was obviously not included, yet it is tremendously informative and insightful and no other single book to d Still the definitive RFK biography; I think any criticism that this is hagiography is unwarranted. While Schlesinger was not an unbiased observer (which always begs the question if such a thing is even possible), he was extremely fair in portraying the criticisms that arose in response to RFK. His own critiques were often more mild, and information revealed decades after this was published was obviously not included, yet it is tremendously informative and insightful and no other single book to date is as comprehensive.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Stephen

    Really interesting, filling in gaps in my knowledge and letting me see how the whole Kennedys thing is more than just JFK. It does almost portray Bobby Kennedy as a latter day saint though and our daughter who also read the book for her Modern History course keeps reminding me that Schlesinger was a family friend of the Kennedys.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    Liked this slightly better than Schlesinger’s “A Thousand Days” about JFK. Definitely a different style than Evan Thomas’s RFK bio, but good nonetheless. The chapters regarding Vietnam were particularly poignant. We’ll never know exactly what difference Bobby Kennedy would have made on the war had he lived beyond 1968. However, we can remember his passion for justice and his caring for society’s underdogs. He was a unique statesman who demonstrated courage when the U.S. needed leaders willing to Liked this slightly better than Schlesinger’s “A Thousand Days” about JFK. Definitely a different style than Evan Thomas’s RFK bio, but good nonetheless. The chapters regarding Vietnam were particularly poignant. We’ll never know exactly what difference Bobby Kennedy would have made on the war had he lived beyond 1968. However, we can remember his passion for justice and his caring for society’s underdogs. He was a unique statesman who demonstrated courage when the U.S. needed leaders willing to engage in new ways to solve old problems. (1968 was 50 years ago now and reading this book causes one to wonder just what we have learned exactly in those decades since Vietnam, the Great Society, racial injustice, and intergenerational poverty.)

  8. 5 out of 5

    Jeffrey Blake

    Although Schlesinger is hardly an unbiased biographer, this roughly 1100 page view into Robert Kennedy's life is not at all shy about quoting all of Bobby's critics fairly and frequently. I've read far more protective books, and Schlesinger clearly understands that his subject doesn't require it. While most of the well-known subjects regarding Bobby's role in the Kennedy administration are all touched upon, including his clash with Hoover and the FBI as AG, I found his role as chief counsel for Although Schlesinger is hardly an unbiased biographer, this roughly 1100 page view into Robert Kennedy's life is not at all shy about quoting all of Bobby's critics fairly and frequently. I've read far more protective books, and Schlesinger clearly understands that his subject doesn't require it. While most of the well-known subjects regarding Bobby's role in the Kennedy administration are all touched upon, including his clash with Hoover and the FBI as AG, I found his role as chief counsel for the Senate Rackets Committee as well as his work in the Civil Rights movement the most revealing. He was certainly a tremendous political force in a very turbulent time.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Daphne Ryan

    Great quote in this biog about RFK: "he never told a lie; he never misquoted anybody; he never concealed . . . he spoke with great directness softened by humor," said Michael Forrestal. And 685 pages in, I find that to be a great summary of what most others have been quoted as saying--except for Jimmy Hoffa and J. Edgar Hoover of course. Great quote in this biog about RFK: "he never told a lie; he never misquoted anybody; he never concealed . . . he spoke with great directness softened by humor," said Michael Forrestal. And 685 pages in, I find that to be a great summary of what most others have been quoted as saying--except for Jimmy Hoffa and J. Edgar Hoover of course.

  10. 5 out of 5

    John Hardin

    A complete telling of RFK's life. I would have given it 5 stars, but the assassination isn't mentioned at all. The book opens with the funeral and closes with him entering the kitchen at the Ambassador Hotel on 6/5/1968. If someone had no idea how RFK died, they would finish the book wondering what happened. A complete telling of RFK's life. I would have given it 5 stars, but the assassination isn't mentioned at all. The book opens with the funeral and closes with him entering the kitchen at the Ambassador Hotel on 6/5/1968. If someone had no idea how RFK died, they would finish the book wondering what happened.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    Schlesinger described his relationship to Robert Kennedy as that of a great admirer and devoted friend, going on to say "if it is necessary for a biographer of Robert Kennedy to regard him as evil, then I am not qualified to be his biographer." This biography was definately written with love and respect, while still making a valient effort to tell the complete story. I deeply enjoyed Schlesinger's writing style, and left this brick of a book with a deeper understanding of the man that was Bobby Schlesinger described his relationship to Robert Kennedy as that of a great admirer and devoted friend, going on to say "if it is necessary for a biographer of Robert Kennedy to regard him as evil, then I am not qualified to be his biographer." This biography was definately written with love and respect, while still making a valient effort to tell the complete story. I deeply enjoyed Schlesinger's writing style, and left this brick of a book with a deeper understanding of the man that was Bobby Kennedy. I have always thought our world might be different had he lived, but just how different he had the potential to make America makes his early death even more tragic.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    I remember the day he was shot. Coming only two months after Martin Luther King's assasination it seemed like we were on the verge of revolution. What is clear from this biography is Robert Kennedy's growth as a man and as a human being. He found his own voice and it was tragically silenced. Like the author, I often wondered what might have been....he was an inspiring figure, flawed, but passionate about what he believed in. I think this work is very well written, researched and a little biase I remember the day he was shot. Coming only two months after Martin Luther King's assasination it seemed like we were on the verge of revolution. What is clear from this biography is Robert Kennedy's growth as a man and as a human being. He found his own voice and it was tragically silenced. Like the author, I often wondered what might have been....he was an inspiring figure, flawed, but passionate about what he believed in. I think this work is very well written, researched and a little biased but still stands on its own merits.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Chris Rousell

    It takes a special kind of person (with an excellent biographer I might add) to make one mourn their death 50 years after the fact and 24 years before you were even born, and yet. A gripping read despite the length, an excellent insight into the life of perhaps the greatest president the US never had

  14. 4 out of 5

    Robert Morrow

    One of my favorite biographies, and if it's a bit sentimental on what-could-have been, it's understandable. This is a story of the growth of a very complex human being who had the courage and will to change. One of my favorite biographies, and if it's a bit sentimental on what-could-have been, it's understandable. This is a story of the growth of a very complex human being who had the courage and will to change.

  15. 5 out of 5

    Jeremy

    Only read a number of chapters for an essay I did on his life, but Schlesinger knew the man, and he writes well. I love the description of the emotion Kennedy shows when he visits the homeless and destitute. Inspiring.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Collins

    This book took me a long time (with a few stops and starts) to finish. It’s extremely detailed and has a personal telling because of the author’s friendship with Kennedy. However, I found that at times it would go into minute details on certain things and gloss over others without a good explanation. Either way, it’s a must-read for people who are interested in Bobby’s life.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Shields

    JFK. What might have been if he became President... "What would have happened had he not been killed? He would certainly have had a rocky road to the nomination. The power of the Johnson administration and much of the party establishment was behind Humphrey. Still, the dynamism was behind Kennedy, and he might well have swept the convention. If nominated, he would most probably have beaten the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon. Individuals do make a difference to history. A Robert Kennedy pr JFK. What might have been if he became President... "What would have happened had he not been killed? He would certainly have had a rocky road to the nomination. The power of the Johnson administration and much of the party establishment was behind Humphrey. Still, the dynamism was behind Kennedy, and he might well have swept the convention. If nominated, he would most probably have beaten the Republican candidate, Richard M. Nixon. Individuals do make a difference to history. A Robert Kennedy presidency would have brought a quick end to American involvement in the Vietnam War. Those thousands of Americans—and many thousands more Vietnamese and Cambodians—who were killed from 1969 to 1973 would have been at home with their families. A Robert Kennedy presidency would have consolidated and extended the achievements of John Kennedy’s New Frontier and Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. The liberal tide of the 1960s was still running strong enough in 1969 to affect Nixon’s domestic policies. The Environmental Protection Act, the Occupational Safety and Health Act, the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act with its CETA employment program were all enacted under Nixon. If that still fast-flowing tide so influenced a conservative administration, what signal opportunities it would have given a reform president! The confidence that both black and white working-class Americans had in Robert Kennedy would have created the possibility of progress toward racial reconciliation. His appeal to the young might have mitigated some of the under-thirty excesses of the time. And of course the election of Robert Kennedy would have delivered the republic from Watergate, with its attendant subversion of the Constitution and destruction of faith in government."

  18. 5 out of 5

    Heidi Murphy

    Quite simply one of the best biographies I have ever read. A gripping account of the turbulent life and times of one of America's great politicians. As a close friend and Kennedy insider, Schlesinger's book gives a keen insight into RFK's complex personality. The Good Bobby/Bad Bobby phenomenon is explored. For some RFK will always remain 'ruthless', the red-baiting Senate investigator who worked for Joe McCarthy, during the early ’50s and who followed that up by becoming JFK's tough-guy campaig Quite simply one of the best biographies I have ever read. A gripping account of the turbulent life and times of one of America's great politicians. As a close friend and Kennedy insider, Schlesinger's book gives a keen insight into RFK's complex personality. The Good Bobby/Bad Bobby phenomenon is explored. For some RFK will always remain 'ruthless', the red-baiting Senate investigator who worked for Joe McCarthy, during the early ’50s and who followed that up by becoming JFK's tough-guy campaign manager treating all opponents as mortal enemies. More still remember him as the grief-stricken brother who felt compelled to carry on JFK's legacy, an energetic and passionate Senator who never shied away from uncomfortable issues such as civil rights and poverty, an orator whose moving speech following the assassination of Martin Luther King has been recognised as one of the greatest speeches in American history, and who in his final incarnation had become an existentialist who campaigned while carrying, in his pocket, a book by Albert Camus. RFK will always remain something of an enigma, charismatic, complex and seemingly constantly evolving, over forty years after his death he still has the power to fascinate and while we may never know if RFK would have fulfilled his promise, Schlesinger's book is likely to remain the most detailed and definitive account of his life.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Pete daPixie

    A huge volume, both in size and content. Having read Schlesinger's book on JFK's time in the White House, 'A Thousand Days', for which he received the Pulitzer prize for biography, I consider 'Robert Kennedy and His Times' the superior publication. Purchased from a book shop in Hey on Wye for the laughable price of £3, this has to be one of the best value for money literary works in my collection. Although Schlesinger was a dedicated Kennedy man, first with JFK and after with Bobby, I thought his A huge volume, both in size and content. Having read Schlesinger's book on JFK's time in the White House, 'A Thousand Days', for which he received the Pulitzer prize for biography, I consider 'Robert Kennedy and His Times' the superior publication. Purchased from a book shop in Hey on Wye for the laughable price of £3, this has to be one of the best value for money literary works in my collection. Although Schlesinger was a dedicated Kennedy man, first with JFK and after with Bobby, I thought his treatment of RFK's biography was balanced, erudite and fair. The author has accompanied the manuscript with Notes as well as many footnotes on most pages. He utilised the Kennedy library and Oral History collections, interviews, media publications, private papers etc. Though I was a witness to these times, albeit from across the Atlantic, I found so much in this work to illuminate my distant memory and create fresh perspectives. An altogether indispensable historical tome, not just of the Kennedy's but of 50's & 60's America. "The danger that in seeking universal peace, needlessly fearful of change and disorder, we will in fact embroil ourselves and the world in a whole series of Vietnams." (RFK April 24 1968.)

  20. 4 out of 5

    Christopher

    916 pages before notes, acknowledgements, citations, etc. -- a big 3 week project! This was my first read of Schlesinger (political prize winning Kennedy aid/New Dealer/New Frontiersman w books on FDR, Jackson, among others) and I came away fairly impressed. The first 1/4 or so covered Joe Kennedy Sr. in tremendous detail, at the cost of a relatively brief coverage of RFK's early childhood, adolescence, and more formative years. The book barely grazes RFK's familial relationships (outside of JFK 916 pages before notes, acknowledgements, citations, etc. -- a big 3 week project! This was my first read of Schlesinger (political prize winning Kennedy aid/New Dealer/New Frontiersman w books on FDR, Jackson, among others) and I came away fairly impressed. The first 1/4 or so covered Joe Kennedy Sr. in tremendous detail, at the cost of a relatively brief coverage of RFK's early childhood, adolescence, and more formative years. The book barely grazes RFK's familial relationships (outside of JFK-RFK), marriage, and children. Some of the most engaging parts examined the dynamics of RFK v. J. Edgar Hoover in the Justice Dept. and RFK's role as chief advisor during the Cuban Missile Crisis. I also wish Schlesinger had covered RFK's 1968 presidential candidacy in more extensive detail; the end of the bio felt hurried. Overall, I would definitely recommend this National Book Award winner to any fan of 20th century American history and look forward to reading another Schlesinger bio down the road.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Ronald Wise

    This book has been in my personal library since I bought and first read it in late 1979. While I found it captivating then, the recent election of Barack Obama as President lent it a whole new meaning. This reading left me wondering if things were worse then or now. In the sixties they were dealing with the Vietnam War and battles against overt, hateful racism which threatened to split the nation again. Perhaps the flagrant racism is now gone, but Obama now comes to power at a time when strident This book has been in my personal library since I bought and first read it in late 1979. While I found it captivating then, the recent election of Barack Obama as President lent it a whole new meaning. This reading left me wondering if things were worse then or now. In the sixties they were dealing with the Vietnam War and battles against overt, hateful racism which threatened to split the nation again. Perhaps the flagrant racism is now gone, but Obama now comes to power at a time when strident character-assassination politics has ruled for nearly thirty years, the entire economy threatens to implode, and the U.S. is hated or feared worldwide. While we will never know what type of president Robert Kennedy would have been, his style during his last campaign is similar to what I believe people are inspired by in Barack Obama.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Aaron Arnold

    Being cynical about politicians is only natural, yet sometimes someone comes along who somehow taps into our natural craving for leadership, seemingly embodying the best of our national spirit and promising a better tomorrow via their charismatic presence alone. RFK is to many people the last politician they could trust emotionally, a man of infinite compassion yet ruthless integrity, a person of infinite compassion yet ruthless integrity, someone with a prosecutor's ferocity yet a poet's sensib Being cynical about politicians is only natural, yet sometimes someone comes along who somehow taps into our natural craving for leadership, seemingly embodying the best of our national spirit and promising a better tomorrow via their charismatic presence alone. RFK is to many people the last politician they could trust emotionally, a man of infinite compassion yet ruthless integrity, a person of infinite compassion yet ruthless integrity, someone with a prosecutor's ferocity yet a poet's sensibility. He was murdered before he could really do much to validate the immense, almost messianic hopes that people laid on him, and this biography, written by a man who knew him well, takes you through his journey from hard-edged enforcer of justice to champion of the downtrodden in a way that will leave you greatly saddened at the cruelties of history.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Joey

    This biography, published 10 years after RFK's death in 1978, is a deep and vivid portrait of someone who at the time was misunderstood in certain parts of the country. And though some might deem Schlesinger as biased given his close personal friendship with Kennedy, he does his best to convey that the ruthless opportunism that characterized Kennedy in the late 50s and early 60s was in fact Kennedy's way of expressing his frustration with rampant inequalities that still exist in American society This biography, published 10 years after RFK's death in 1978, is a deep and vivid portrait of someone who at the time was misunderstood in certain parts of the country. And though some might deem Schlesinger as biased given his close personal friendship with Kennedy, he does his best to convey that the ruthless opportunism that characterized Kennedy in the late 50s and early 60s was in fact Kennedy's way of expressing his frustration with rampant inequalities that still exist in American society today. Now I will say that I am a fan of the Kennedys and if you don't share my affection for them than you may want to skip this book because I doubt it will change your mind about them. But for a solid liberal like me, this biography is a stunning tribute to one of the bravest men who ever lived.

  24. 4 out of 5

    Monette Bebow-Reinhard

    I absolutely loved this book, beginning to end. It so clearly demonstrates who Bobby was, by a historian who lived those times with him. I learned to separate myth from fact, and in the most human and interesting way I could ever have imagined. For instance, I thought Bobby did not declare his candidacy until after Johnson announced he was not running again - not true! And Bobby did not agree with college deferment to get out of the draft. He thought that wasn't fair. Could that be a reason the I absolutely loved this book, beginning to end. It so clearly demonstrates who Bobby was, by a historian who lived those times with him. I learned to separate myth from fact, and in the most human and interesting way I could ever have imagined. For instance, I thought Bobby did not declare his candidacy until after Johnson announced he was not running again - not true! And Bobby did not agree with college deferment to get out of the draft. He thought that wasn't fair. Could that be a reason the collegiate went with McCarthy? But no matter, because Bobby was winning the primaries, although he didn't win Oregon. Oh, I'm not going to give it ALL away! If you want just one book that explains the politics of the 1960s, this is it.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Brian Willis

    As with many Americans, Schlesinger ached when JFK's promise was cut short in 1963. And like many, he soon gravitated towards Bobby as a possible successor to that legacy. This book firmly documents the life, history, and evolution of RFK, charting his role as advisor to his older brother, his grief and retreat after the assassination, and his rebirth as a passionate prophet against poverty and for the downtrodden. Schlesinger charts the progress toward the 1968 campaign, and all of the elements As with many Americans, Schlesinger ached when JFK's promise was cut short in 1963. And like many, he soon gravitated towards Bobby as a possible successor to that legacy. This book firmly documents the life, history, and evolution of RFK, charting his role as advisor to his older brother, his grief and retreat after the assassination, and his rebirth as a passionate prophet against poverty and for the downtrodden. Schlesinger charts the progress toward the 1968 campaign, and all of the elements that make me admire Bobby the most of the Kennedy brothers. The book is full at 1000 pages, but still ends as abruptly as Bobby's life. making us wonder what might have been. The essential book on RFK, but for hardy readers.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Lizzie Twachtman

    This is by far the most comprehensive biography about Robert F. Kennedy that I have ever read. You must take into consideration that Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was one of the Kennedy family's friends and veritable good ole boys, but regardless, this book covers so much of RFK's life and times. From his boyhood, watching older brothers Joe and John take center stage as the promising siblings to the Cuban Missile Crisis to the untimely death of President Kennedy to RFK's own run for Presidency and sub This is by far the most comprehensive biography about Robert F. Kennedy that I have ever read. You must take into consideration that Arthur Schlesinger Jr. was one of the Kennedy family's friends and veritable good ole boys, but regardless, this book covers so much of RFK's life and times. From his boyhood, watching older brothers Joe and John take center stage as the promising siblings to the Cuban Missile Crisis to the untimely death of President Kennedy to RFK's own run for Presidency and subsequent assassination. Because of Arthur's connection with the family, I think it lends a heart felt look at RFK and who he was from the perspective of a friend. If you are looking to villainize the Kennedy's, this is not the book for you. There are plenty out there though!

  27. 4 out of 5

    Gillian

    If you want plenty of detail about the politics during RFK's life, this is the book for you. If you're looking for a read that is more focused on the man himself (and something a little less dense), you may want to steer clear. As an unashamed RFK fan, I love the depth and minutiae of this book - and really appreciated Schlesinger's personal anecdotes. RFK remains my favourite of the three brothers, and this book really exemplifies why. RFK was incredibly complex. The ability and willingness to If you want plenty of detail about the politics during RFK's life, this is the book for you. If you're looking for a read that is more focused on the man himself (and something a little less dense), you may want to steer clear. As an unashamed RFK fan, I love the depth and minutiae of this book - and really appreciated Schlesinger's personal anecdotes. RFK remains my favourite of the three brothers, and this book really exemplifies why. RFK was incredibly complex. The ability and willingness to re-evaluate yourself is rare, but RFK was no ordinary man. Part of his enduring appeal is his growth... and part is the mystery of what might have been. Solidly recommend this book for any Kennedy fans.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Amber

    This amazing, behemoth, brick of a book is one of the best I've ever read. I came into the book with very little information about RFK and have left with a feeling of admiration for this flawed, beautiful man. I just wander how different our lives would be if he'd lived. He was committed to the plight of the "Other America" and his stance on social justice is something the author, Schlesinger Jr. wrote of in a very personable, respectful way. Not only did this provide a thorough picture of his p This amazing, behemoth, brick of a book is one of the best I've ever read. I came into the book with very little information about RFK and have left with a feeling of admiration for this flawed, beautiful man. I just wander how different our lives would be if he'd lived. He was committed to the plight of the "Other America" and his stance on social justice is something the author, Schlesinger Jr. wrote of in a very personable, respectful way. Not only did this provide a thorough picture of his political career, it also presented the history of the times in an approachable way. I would like to read more about his family life, so I'll be looking for something on that in the future.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Eric Millhoupt

    This is a very thorough overview of RFK's career. Congressional committee member, Attorney General, Senator and Democratic Presidential hopeful. Every phase of his public life is fairly critiqued. I say fairly because Schlesinger is a Kennedy family friend and JFK cabinet advisor. The Attorney General chapters are the most interesting and provide a more revealing look at the inner workings of the Kennedy Administration than most JFK bios. I wish there was more detail on his private life and rela This is a very thorough overview of RFK's career. Congressional committee member, Attorney General, Senator and Democratic Presidential hopeful. Every phase of his public life is fairly critiqued. I say fairly because Schlesinger is a Kennedy family friend and JFK cabinet advisor. The Attorney General chapters are the most interesting and provide a more revealing look at the inner workings of the Kennedy Administration than most JFK bios. I wish there was more detail on his private life and relationships with his wife, kids, Jack and Jackie. I feel I got to know RFK the public servant very well. Not so much RFK the man.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Andrew Ryan

    Good read overall though slightly biased, I would've liked a little more honest portrayal of the man - his mistakes, shortcomings, etc. The book is long, very detailed and not the easiest to get through; there's literally a footnote on every other page of this 1000 page biography. The fact that its so detailed does give you a good understanding of the history of the time as well as a sense of the overall political climate. Schlesinger seems to kind of lose momentum towards the end of the book; f Good read overall though slightly biased, I would've liked a little more honest portrayal of the man - his mistakes, shortcomings, etc. The book is long, very detailed and not the easiest to get through; there's literally a footnote on every other page of this 1000 page biography. The fact that its so detailed does give you a good understanding of the history of the time as well as a sense of the overall political climate. Schlesinger seems to kind of lose momentum towards the end of the book; for as detailed his coverage of Kennedy's tenure as Attorney General and early senatorial career, he hurries through the '68 campaign and gives little to no insight into the assassination.

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