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Rosemary cover art

Rosemary

By: Kate Clifford Larson
Narrated by: Bernadette Dunne
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Summary

They were the most prominent American family of the 20th century. The daughter they secreted away made all the difference.

Joe and Rose Kennedy's strikingly beautiful daughter, Rosemary, attended exclusive schools, was presented as a debutante to the queen of England, and traveled the world with her high-spirited sisters. And yet Rosemary was intellectually disabled - a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family.

Major new sources - Rose Kennedy's diaries and correspondence, school and doctors' letters, and exclusive family interviews - bring Rosemary to life as a girl adored but left far behind by her competitive siblings. Kate Larson reveals both the sensitive care Rose and Joe gave to Rosemary and then, as the family's standing reached an apex, the often desperate and duplicitous arrangements the Kennedys made to keep her away from home as she became increasingly intractable in her early 20s. Finally, Larson illuminates Joe's decision to have Rosemary lobotomized at age 23 and the family's complicity in keeping the secret.

Rosemary delivers a profoundly moving coda: JFK visited Rosemary for the first time while campaigning in the Midwest; she had been living isolated in a Wisconsin institution for nearly 20 years. Only then did the siblings understand what had happened to Rosemary and bring her home for loving family visits. It was a reckoning that inspired them to direct attention to the plight of the disabled, transforming the lives of millions.

©2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2015 Blackstone Audiobooks

What listeners say about Rosemary

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A very Sad Story

I always knew the Kennedy family were quite tragic but poor Rosemary has been unknown to me before this book.. And then the fateful Lobotomy! Such a shame and she had such a long life too.

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A touching tale of triumph through adversity

A beautiful reading of an extraordinary life of an extremely disabled woman, always supported by her famous, loving family.

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interesting story about Rosemary Kennedy

I enjoyed this but deeply saddened by the way a clearly autistic young lady was treated because of misunderstanding about condition. Performing a lobotomy was absolutely criminal and hd a tragic impact on this poor girl's life. Thank God this procedure has now been banned. I don't know if I liked the Kennedy family much. Rose Kennedy did not come across very well.

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Absolutely heart breaking

Freeman was a bastard!
Poor Rosemary, heart breaking, let down massively by her Dad. The person who should have protected her.

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Interesting insight into tragedy of a kind.

Engaging story. At times too much date detail and slow moving but an insight into history, social constraints, the power of social norms and others perceptions. A tragedy of human making in the context of tempered privilege.

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Such a sad story

A good and interesting listen. Terribly sad story which highlights the thinking of that era towards people with learning difficulties and/or disability.
Only thing that grated on me was the readers descent into a babyish voice when narrating Rosemary's letters.

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Family

Very interesting full of information about the whole of the Kennedy family. . I did struggle with concentration though.

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A very interesting read.

My grandmother adored the Kennedys because they were Roman Catholic. Listening to this book I was left feeling that Rose and Joe were despicable individuals. Their influence was so malign that it is no surprise that the family were and I guess still are so troubled.

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Read by the talking clock

I listened to this being curious about the family. As soon as it started I prayed the narrator was only introducing the book. It’s monotonous. The story IS interesting but I can’t sit though another minute.

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Sad Life

Really sad ..poor lass born into a rich and powerful family lobotomised and left to rot by her family. The Kennedy curse…Joe Kennedy what a hateful power hungry man. It’s a good book well narrated.

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