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An unprecedented look at the life of Rose Kennedy reveals the private woman who became a political legend. In her compelling and intimate portrait, presidential historian Barbara A. Perry captures Rose Kennedy’s essential contributions to the incomparable Kennedy dynasty. This biography - the first to draw on an invaluable cache of Rose’s newly released diaries and letters - unearths the complexities behind the impeccable persona she showed the world. The woman who emerges in these pages is a fascinating character: savvy about her family’s reputation and resilient enough to persevere through the unfathomable tragedies that befell her.
As a young woman, she defied her father, Boston mayor John Fitzgerald, by marrying ambitious businessman Joseph Kennedy. During Joe’s diplomatic career, she began carefully calibrating her family’s image, stage-managing photo shoots and interviews of her nine children and herself. After husband Joe’s isolationist views on the eve of World War II made him a political liability, Rose took to the campaign trail for son Jack. Her perfectionism, initially a response to the strictures imposed upon Catholic women, ultimately created a family portrait that resonated in modern politics and media.
Perry’s account looks past the fanfare, poignantly revealing the matriarch’s vulnerability. Rose sought solace from crushing personal tragedies and a philandering husband in prayer, habitual shopping, travel, and medication. Initially ashamed and afraid of daughter Rosemary’s mental disability, Rose ultimately shined a light on the affliction, raising millions of dollars for disabled children. An indefatigable campaigner for Jack, Bobby, and Teddy, she had an unshakable Catholic faith that informed their compassionate social policies and her daughters’ philanthropies.
This definitive biography, Rose Kennedy provides unequaled access to the life of a remarkable woman who witnessed a century of history and masked her family’s more inconvenient truths while capturing the American imagination.
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I read a review of this book which mentioned "verbal infelicities" - unsuitable expressions - and I could say that this term also applies to the narration by Gayle Hendrix. There were some very odd pronunciations of names and places. That said, the book itself provides a great insight into the life of Rose Kennedy and I found it incredibly interesting, especially her attitude towards her eldest daughter, Rosemary. She was a woman before her time who came into her own as the mother of three politicians. I thoroughly enjoyed this bio and have listened to it a couple of times. I definitely recommend it.
6 people found this helpful
- C. Ramsay
Any additional comments?
Great to find out more about the Kennedy's from a different perspective. It does seem that the book was a little biased toward painting Rose in a good light. Not sure if that would have always been the case given the amount of time she spent taking time away from her children and her level of involvement in what some would think essential childcare but it was interesting and kept my attention
2 people found this helpful
- Margaret P. Johnson
Wonderful Irish Family
Being number eight of nine children from an Irish Catholic Family from Massachusetts .
Born just north of Boston I can naturally relate to the Kennedy family.
Rose was an outstanding Catholic and contributed much to America as did her children ..
First Catholic president.
Highly, recommend this book ... Still saddened by Jack Kennedy’s assassination and Bobby also.