Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy
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Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy

by Peter S. Canellos
     
 

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No figure in American public life has had such great expectations thrust upon him and fallen short of them so quickly. But Ted Kennedy, the gregarious, pudgy, and least academically successful of the Kennedy boys, became the most powerful senator of the last half century and the nation's keeper of traditional liberalism.

As Peter S. Canellos and his team of

Overview

No figure in American public life has had such great expectations thrust upon him and fallen short of them so quickly. But Ted Kennedy, the gregarious, pudgy, and least academically successful of the Kennedy boys, became the most powerful senator of the last half century and the nation's keeper of traditional liberalism.

As Peter S. Canellos and his team of Boston Globe reporters show in this intimate biography, Ted witnessed greater tragedy and suffered greater pressure than his siblings. He inherited a generation's dreams and ambitions, and was expected to help confront his nation's problems and to build a fairer society. But political rivals turned his all-too-human failings into a condemnation of his liberal politics. As the presidency eluded his grasp, Kennedy was finally free to become his own man. He transformed himself into a symbol of wisdom and perseverance.

Now, in two new chapters, Last Lion reveals how Kennedy battled cancer while helping Barack Obama bring about the biggest reform of health care in the nation's history, and how he said good-bye to his family, friends, and enemies.

Perceptive and carefully reported, drawing from candid interviews with the Kennedy family, Last Lion captures magnificently the life, historic achievements, and personal redemption of Ted Kennedy, and offers a fresh assessment of his enduring legacy.

Editorial Reviews

Edward Moore "Ted" Kennedy (1932-2009) was the youngest, longest living, most scandal ridden, and arguably most influential of the triumvirate of Joseph Kennedy's sons. This 400-page Boston Globe team biography, now fitted with new chapters, covers his life from elite upbringing to lengthy political career to Chappaquiddick debacle and multiple, multigenerational family tragedies. At times, this scintillating bio reads like a true story begging to become a movie. A hardcover bestseller; now updated in paperback.
From the Publisher
"In 400 brisk but detail-rich pages, the book...sketches a poignant portrait." — The New York Times Book Review

"If you want a peek inside America's royal family, this is a must-read, with details that only Boston Globe reporters could know." — Tim O'Brien, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

"A balanced, nuanced, warts-and-all portrait." — Kirkus Reviews

"A timely if not revelatory portrait of a flawed figure who 'never expected to become the custodian of his family's sorrows' but found a way to transcend the role." — Alex Altman, Time

"A readable, relatively objective study of the once most-vilified man in contemporary American politics." — The Washington Times

"With the publication of Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy, we get a fresh look at how this man's gothic imperatives — blood loyalty and inherited duty — would make him the greatest U.S. senator of modern times." — Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball and author of Kennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry That Shaped Postwar America

"Last Lion is a fine biography, a graceful summing up an extraordinary life that is not yet over. It shows little sign of having been written by a team of seven, and it does not carry the tone of an obituary. With its anecdotes and political tales, it captures the wit, humor, and grace of Ted Kennedy and establishes his place, 'as much a part of the Capitol as the dome or the Rotunda beneath it.'" — Ken Bode, The Boston Globe

Chris Cillizza
…an insightful biography
—The Washington Post
Publishers Weekly

This biography delves deeply into Senator Kennedy's nearly half-century legislative career-but it's the personal dramas that prove the most enthralling; tracks are organized such that listeners bored by the politics can click ahead for a quit exit back to Hyannisport, Georgetown, Palm Beach or Chappaquiddick. Skipp Sudduth imbues his narration with feeling, recounting the numerous tragedies (the death of all three of Kennedy's brothers, his son's cancer and subsequent leg amputation, his nephew JFK Jr.'s fatal plane crash and now his own brain tumor) with quiet dignity. Despite the countless trials, this is anything but depressing listening; the resilience and indomitable optimism of the subject himself is well-conveyed by this enjoyable recording. A Simon & Schuster hardcover. (Feb.)

Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Library Journal

Canellos and his team of Boston Globe reporters begin this insightful and informative biography of Ted Kennedy with the 2008 news of his malignant tumor, then chronicle his childhood, relating anecdotes and discussing his good humor, generosity, trials and tribulations, ambitions, many tragedies, and more. The reporting draws from candid interviews with the Kennedys and their inner circle. One of the book's most interesting components is its description of Kennedy's relationship with his wife, Victoria Reggie. Actor/musician/narrator Skipp Sudduth (Just After Sunset) engagingly relays both the personal and professional milestones of the senator's life; strongly recommended. [Audio clip available through simonandschuster.com; the S. & S. hc, published in February, was a New York Times best seller.-Ed.]
—Carol Stern

Kirkus Reviews
A respectful but not stuffy portrait of Edward Kennedy, the playboy of legendary appetites turned senior statesman. Upon learning last spring that Kennedy had been stricken with cancer, John McCain lauded him as "the last lion of the Senate," adding that "he remains the single most effective member of the Senate if you want to get results." By this account, assembled by Canellos and a team of seasoned reporters from the Boston Globe, McCain's encomium seems right on the mark. Kennedy has been notable in pushing through a wide variety of laws and programs, particularly ones that concern health, education and workers' rights. It was not always that way. The writers portray the early Kennedy-the last of four brothers and nine children, and often the target of withering criticism-as just shy of being a wastrel, ejected from Harvard for cheating on a Spanish exam and fond of the night life. A stint as an enlisted man in the Army-during which his father pulled strings to keep him from the battle lines in Korea-helped turn him around, but he still got arrested for reckless driving even as he was preparing to serve as his brother Jack's campaign manager. Thrust into the family trade, Kennedy "walloped his Republican opponent, grabbing three-quarters of the vote" in the 1964 Senate race, and he slowly began to build a resume as a serious, studious politician-a reputation blunted but not squashed by scandals such as Chappaquiddick. Most striking about this sturdy account is Kennedy's well-practiced habit of crossing the aisle to disarm his Republican opponents with a combination of charm and arm-twisting. One unlikely ally was Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), who came to Congress with a specific agendaof fighting Kennedy on every front. Another was President George W. Bush, whom Kennedy aided in pushing through the No Child Left Behind legislation-though he later "blamed Bush for reneging on his side of the bargain."A balanced, nuanced, warts-and-all portrait. Author tour to Boston, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Washington, D.C.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781439141335
Publisher:
Simon & Schuster
Publication date:
08/03/2010
Pages:
499
Sales rank:
1,178,520
Product dimensions:
8.62(w) x 11.04(h) x 1.26(d)

Meet the Author

Peter Canellos is the Washington bureau chief for The Boston Globe and oversees all national coverage for the paper, where he has worked since 1988 covering local, state, and national politics.

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