The Peculiar Life of Joseph Kennedy

From his mercurial personality to his delusions of aptitude in the political realm to his catastrophic diplomatic appointment, a new book provides a thorough account of Kennedy’s life and all of its many highs and lows.

Issue: Nov-Dec 2012

David Nasaw, The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy (New York: Penguin, 2012), 896 pp., $40.00.

THE PATRIARCH is a thorough and balanced biography that illuminates American public policy from the time of Herbert Hoover to the brief era dominated by the subject’s sons. David Nasaw, an accomplished writer, explores all of the controversial high points of Joseph Kennedy’s career meticulously, and the record is usefully set straight in many places. For the most part, the narrative is absorbing.

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