John F. Kerry

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This will be the only complete biography available for voters who want a thorough and objective look at the current frontrunner in the Democratic race for the presidency.

On Jan. 27, 2004, Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts accomplished one of the most spectacular turnarounds in modern American politics when he capped a surprise win in the Iowa caucus with a victory in the New Hampshire primary. The 2004 Democratic presidential nomination is now (in the words of Robert ...

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Overview

This will be the only complete biography available for voters who want a thorough and objective look at the current frontrunner in the Democratic race for the presidency.

On Jan. 27, 2004, Senator John F. Kerry of Massachusetts accomplished one of the most spectacular turnarounds in modern American politics when he capped a surprise win in the Iowa caucus with a victory in the New Hampshire primary. The 2004 Democratic presidential nomination is now (in the words of Robert Novak) "John Kerry's to lose." Who is the man leading in the race to become the Democratic Party's nominee for president in 2004? And what kind of political leader is he?

The outlines of John Kerry's life are familiar: A decorated Vietnam veteran who became an influential, if unlikely, anti-war protester. A lanky 60-year-old who quenches his thirst for danger with high-speed kiteboarding, windsurfing, piloting, motorcycling, and, in some cases, driving. A senator with a reputation as an investigator and foreign policy expert. A man married to one of the richest women in America. But beyond this broad picture, Kerry is something of a mystery to the public, largely because of a complex yet riveting personal and professional history outlined in this book.

John F. Kerry: The Complete Biography , the first full and in-depth book about the candidate's life, is based on a highly regarded series on Kerry published in the Boston Globe, plus years of additional reporting. It will explore his background, his service in the military (including significant experiences omitted from Douglas Brinkley's bestselling Tour of Duty), his early legal and political career, his legislative record and the remarkable turnaround in his political fortunes during the 2004 election cycle. This incisive, frank look at Kerry's life, and at his strengths and liabilities, is important reading for anyone interested in the presidential campaign.

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Editorial Reviews

Michiko Kakutani
While the later sections of this volume (detailing the candidate's views on the war against Iraq and his tough primary run) will be largely familiar to anyone who has been following the presidential campaign, the rest of the book energetically fleshes out the details of Mr. Kerry's life and career. The book provides the out-of-state reader with a visceral sense of the Massachusetts political world in which Mr. Kerry came of age, as well as an understanding of how he slowly evolved from a tone-deaf neophyte into a more practiced, if still stilted, politician.
The New York Times
The Washington Post
The conscientious research in this book reveals that reporters Michael Kranish and Brian C. Mooney and deputy Washington bureau chief Nina J. Easton were out to get the facts, not to "get" Kerry. But they don't give him the benefit of any doubts.—David Kusnet
Publishers Weekly
Last year, Boston Globe reporters working on a multipart series uncovered the stunning news that John Kerry's paternal grandfather was Jewish. This book, an expansion of that series, doesn't find any smoking guns about the presumptive Democratic candidate for president. But it does offer a detailed and at times critical biography of the Massachusetts senator. Relying on years of reporting, the authors trace Kerry's itinerant boyhood as the son of a Foreign Service officer and his later years at prestigious St. Paul's, where early on he demonstrated intellectual seriousness and ambition. This ambition is one of the themes of Kerry's life as presented here. The biography shows Kerry's somewhat bumpy ride as a politician and his strength more as an investigator on Iran-Contra than as a legislator. The book, written in the lucid, straightforward prose one expects from a newspaper writing team, is especially strong on Kerry's college and Vietnam years, detailing the sense of service felt by Kerry and his fellow Skull-and-Bonesmen at Yale, and Kerry's doubts about the Vietnam War even before he went over to serve. The authors take critical issues head-on: they explore questions over Kerry's first Purple Heart and his leaving Vietnam before his service was over, as well as the Nixon administration's targeting him as an enemy. Kerry supporters may find the tone a bit harsh, but all who are interested in the 2004 election will benefit from this major serious examination of a man who would be president. 27 photos. (Apr. 27) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Campaign biographies should always be accompanied by a warning label. Those by campaign insiders are usually little more than fawning propaganda; those by independent authors may have hidden motives. This book about John F. Kerry, the presumptive Democratic Party nominee for President, is an exception noteworthy for its balance and thoroughness and for addressing both the positive and the negative aspects of its subject. On the negative side is Kerry's tendency to come off as a political opportunist and self-promoter; on the positive side are his intelligence, personal courage, and heroic war record. Those unfamiliar with Kerry will find his personal journey illuminating-especially the courage he displayed in Vietnam. And while there are few big surprises here, many will be fascinated by the Nixon administration's newly revealed efforts to destroy Kerry when he became leader of Vietnam Veterans Against the War. Most striking is what the authors leave unsaid: the inevitable comparison between the life stories of Kerry and George W. Bush. This excellent and thoroughly researched book by Globe reporters Kranish, Brian C. Mooney, and Nina J. Easton, who have known Kerry long term, is likely to become one of the most authoritative sources on the candidate and should be read by a wide audience. Recommended for all libraries.-Michael A. Genovese, Loyola Marymount Univ., Los Angeles Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780786268153
  • Publisher: Gale Group
  • Publication date: 8/23/2004
  • Edition description: Large Print
  • Pages: 595
  • Product dimensions: 5.50 (w) x 8.76 (h) x 1.26 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface IX
Introduction XIX
1 Family Tree 1
2 Youth 15
3 Yale 35
4 In Training 58
5 Swift Boat No. 44 71
6 The Days of Hell 93
7 War Protester 110
8 Carpetbagger 141
9 Decade in Exile 161
10 Lieutenant Governor 178
11 Litmus-Test Liberals 191
12 Give Peace a Chance 209
13 Gypsy Years 235
14 Ghosts of Vietnam 254
15 New Era 276
16 Battle of the Titans 299
17 Nation at War 325
18 The Search for the Presidency 348
Appendix 387
A Note on the Sources 393
Acknowledgments 425
Index 429
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