David Nasaw’s: “The Patriarch”!

Dear Commons Community,

I just finished reading David Nasaw’s The Patriarch:  The Remarkable and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy.  David has deservedly received accolades for this work from the New York Times and other publications.  David gets well into “the weeds” as one reviewer stated in this excellent piece of biography and history.

It provides important background and meaning for those of us baby boomers who remember John F. Kennedy’s presidency and assassination.  I learned for instance, that aside from vacations at Hyannis on Cape Cod, the Kennedy family did not spend much time in Massachusetts and for a good deal of the 1930s and 1940s lived in New York and Bronxville.  The positions of appeasement and pacifism that Joe Kennedy had prior to and during World War II as ambassador to the United Kingdom are enlightening.  Although they had nine children, the relationship between Joe Kennedy and his wife Rose, allowed each to pretty much go their separate ways.  The details of daughter Rosemary’s illness and botched operation are heartfelt.  I also enjoyed the chapters on John F. Kennedy’s political rise to the presidency.  They are an excellent complement to Robert Caro’s biography of Lyndon Johnson, The Passage of Power, that has material that covers the same ground but from another perspective.

I could go on but you get the drift.  A great read!


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