Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy

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No figure in American public life has had such great expectations thrust upon him, or has responded so poorly. But Ted Kennedy -- the youngest of the Kennedy children and the son who felt the least pressure to satisfy his father's enormous ambitions -- would go on to live a life that no one could have predicted: dismissed as a spent force in politics by the time he reached middle age, Ted became the most powerful senator of the last half century and the nation's keeper of ...

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Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy

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Overview

No figure in American public life has had such great expectations thrust upon him, or has responded so poorly. But Ted Kennedy -- the youngest of the Kennedy children and the son who felt the least pressure to satisfy his father's enormous ambitions -- would go on to live a life that no one could have predicted: dismissed as a spent force in politics by the time he reached middle age, Ted 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 revealing and intimate biography, the gregarious, pudgy, and least academically successful of the Kennedy boys has witnessed greater tragedy and suffered greater pressure than any of his siblings. At the age of thirty-six, Ted Kennedy found himself the last brother, the champion of a generation's dreams and ambitions. He would be expected to give the nation the confidence to confront its problems and to build a fairer society at home and abroad.

He quickly failed in spectacular fashion. Late one night in the summer of 1969, he left the scene of a fatal automobile accident on Chappaquiddick Island. The death there of a young woman from his brother's campaign would haunt and ultimately doom his presidential ambitions. Political rivals turned his all-too-human failings -- drinking, philandering, and divorce -- into a condemnation of his liberal politics.

But as the presidency eluded his grasp, Kennedy was finally liberated from the expectations of others, free to become his own man. Once a symbol of youthful folly and nepotism, he transformed himself in his later years into a symbol of wisdom andperseverance. He built a deeply loving marriage with his second wife, Victoria Reggie. He embraced his role as the family patriarch. And as his health failed, he anointed the young and ambitious presidential candidate Barack Obama, whom many commentators compared to his brother Jack. The Kennedy brand of liberalism was rediscovered by a new generation of Americans.

Perceptive and carefully reported, drawing heavily from candid interviews with the Kennedy family and inner circle, Last Lion captures magnificently the life and historic achievements of Ted Kennedy, as well as the personal redemption that he found.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 31 Customer Reviews
  • Posted March 7, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Balanced and Objective

    Last Lion is a very objective and fair look at Ted Kennedy. Written by a team of writers from the Boston Globe, which certainly leans left and liberalism, I didn't know what to expect before reading the book. Being a a registered independent I was very pleasantly surprised to not only find the postive but also the negative traits of a very successful senator in the eyes of many who certainly has had his share of problems in life. A thorough study of Kennedy and also his family from his birth until his present unfortunate situation is given. In addition to Kennedy an objective look at the senate and politics in general was well described. When finished reading the book one also realizes what a cruel underhanded business politics really is. I couldn't put the book down and read it in a few days. It was refreshing to read a book that left no stones unturned much like The Yankee Years.

    9 out of 11 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 19, 2009

    More than a biography

    This book is more than a biography, it's also somewhat of a political history of the last fifty years. While Ted Kennedy's life and the people and events that influenced it was interesting, his relationship with the various presidents during his tenure and the changes he made in his approach to his job and his family were telling and ultimately will be part of his legacy. As far as forming an opinion about Senator Kennedy ,there is no questioning his commitment to public service but one has to question his commitment to family when by his own admission his personal behavior was not exactly the role model he should have been as a father or high profile public official. I must admit the book was never dull and any political junkie will like it

    8 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2009

    A story of political and family resilience

    Good, balanced chronology of Ted Kennedy's life, written like an elongated news story without bias. You have to admire him after reading this book, regardless of your political affiliation

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 26, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Joining The Chorus

    Another vote for this book as a great political biography. The Ted Kennedy story is told warts and all, but above all one gets a picture of the man and his career that is informative and readable. Not to be missed by anyone who likes politics.

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2012

    Interesting read

    Very informative

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 6, 2010

    Great Read on Ted Kennedy

    This book was so great and I really enjoyed reading it. I have loaned it out to several friends and they all felt the same way.
    Ted Kennedy wasn't a very complex man. He started out as a selfish, spoiled child, and was indulged by everyone in his family (with the exception of his older brother, Robert). He got into trouble and never knew how to accept responsibility for his actions.
    But, as many do, he changed in the last two decades of his life. He really got it together and began the actions of a man seeking redemption. Redemption from earlier failings and disappointments. His final years were spent trying to make a difference in the lives of many of the downtrodden have-nots in this country. He succeeded in championing the most liberal of causes and I am always proud to see a man turn himself around and become the man he was meant to be. It wasn't easy being the 'father' to all those nieces and nephews left behind by all his siblings. But, he proved to be a Man for all Seasons and this country was Lucky to have him serve in the U.S. Senate. This book tells his story, warts & all. I recommend this to all, fans & critics alike. Very enlightening.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 22, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Kennedy was an Amazing Man

    Teddy kennedy was an amazing man who DID LIVE UP TO THE EXPECTIONS OF AMERICA! Take for example his 1980 democratic concession speech. After look at his speeches and all he has done for America it is clear the the author purposly ignores FACT, and reason to suit his own patheic political claims.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 4, 2009

    An outstanding biography!

    An outstanding biography of an amazingly complex individual.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 20, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Nothing was ever Ted Kennedy's fault.

    Boy! This has to be one of the sappiest biographies ever written. It becomes obvious very early on that the crew from the Boston Globe who wrote this book is nothing more than an adoring fan club of Ted Kennedy. One reviewer said the book includes warts and all. Sure it brings up most of Ted's many shortcomings but sooner or later you learn that whatever Ted may have done wrong, it was always someone else's fault. The book starts out with how he and his siblings were terribly neglected by their parents. Daddy Joe was off screwing Hollywood movie stars and Mommy Rose was in Paris shopping to get even. All the while the kids were at home being reared by nannies. Nevertheless, in the eyes of the Boston Globe fan club, these two flawed people were the most wonderful parents children could ever have. The pitiful irony doesn't stop there. Throughout the book, we are dragged through the tragic life of a man who selflessly dedicated his life to public service. Gag me with a spoon!

    0 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 31, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 11, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2009

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 22, 2009

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    Posted November 21, 2010

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    Posted October 18, 2009

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    Posted March 23, 2009

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    Posted December 11, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 4, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 28, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2009

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