Sons of Camelot: The Fate of an American Dynasty

Sons of Camelot: The Fate of an American Dynasty

by Laurence Leamer
     
 

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One of Bobby Kennedy's first acts after JFK's assassination was to write a letter to his eldest son, reminding him of the obligations of his name. Bobby sent the letter to eleven-year-old Joe, but the message was meant for all his sons and nephews.

Sons of Camelot is the compelling story of that message and how it shaped each Kennedy son and

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Overview

One of Bobby Kennedy's first acts after JFK's assassination was to write a letter to his eldest son, reminding him of the obligations of his name. Bobby sent the letter to eleven-year-old Joe, but the message was meant for all his sons and nephews.

Sons of Camelot is the compelling story of that message and how it shaped each Kennedy son and grandson in the aftermath of President John F. Kennedy's death. Based on five years of rigorous research and unprecedented cooperation from both the Kennedys and the Shrivers, Sons of Camelot examines the lives characterized by overwhelming drama -- from the most spectacular mishaps, excesses, and tragediesto the remarkable accomplishments that have led to better lives for Americans and others around the world.

The third volume in Laurence Leamer's bestselling history of America's first family, Sons of Camelot chronicles the spellbinding journey of a message sent from a father to his son ... from a president to his people.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Picking up where his previous two bestsellers about the Kennedys left off, Leamer traces the clan's supposed downward spiral in the 40 years since John F. Kennedy's assassination. Early chapters concentrate on JFK's surviving brothers, but after Bobby's death and Ted's drive off the bridge at Chappaquiddick, the book eagerly delves into the sordid stories of the next generation. The title describes the book's focus exactly; though readers slog through detailed accounts of Robert Jr.'s environmental activism, no mention is made, for instance, of Caroline Kennedy Schlossberg's legal scholarship (and there will apparently be no Daughters of Camelot). The women's absence leaves more room to describe how messed up the men were. Leamer dwells endlessly on addiction and self-destructive behavior, invoking sometimes dubious psychological theories about generational dynamics and genetic predispositions (does it matter if the Kennedys carry D4Dr, the "novelty-seeking" gene?). As one might expect, John Jr. disproportionately dominates the second half of the story. The tale, touching glancingly on matters covered in Edward Klein's recent expos , is buttressed by interviews with several close friends who have never spoken about John Jr. for attribution before, though one wonders if even they could have the embarrassingly intimate familiarity with his sex life that Leamer professes. The prose is workmanlike, with occasional slips into mawkishness, but nobody will read this book for its style, and Leamer has wisely loaded it with more than enough scandal to satisfy audience expectations. 32 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. Agent, Joy Harris. 150,000 first printing. (Mar. 16) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
Evidently, Kennedy friends and relatives were finally willing to open up to popular historian Leamer, who researched this book for five years. Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Unpretentious profiles of Joseph Kennedy's surviving sons and many grandsons in the post-JFK years. Though aimed at a popular audience, this multigenerational portrait is hardly facile. Well-versed family chronicler Leamer (The Kennedy Men, 2001, etc.) knows when to call Robert Kennedy on mimicking the Port Huron Statement, and he has an intelligent thing or two to say about addiction and thrill-seeking. But here he writes a mostly narrative history, capturing the ongoing family split between those who endeavor to assume the mantle of power, assuming they belong to what may pass as a natural aristocracy, and those who shun the very same. Leamer tackles both Bobby and Ted as well as the 17 grandsons, some who shone and others who did otherwise. He covers the terrain like a reaper, from drugs and alcohol to the sad episode in Chappaquiddick (Leamer notes that Ted's peccadilloes were typically of a different order: "He liked stunning, sexy women, and that was not Kopechne"), from the sanctuary at Hyannisport to the forays into the public domain of politics, the Special Olympics, and the evening news. There is much to cover: John's travails at Brown, Willie Smith's rape trial, all the rotten stuff "so bad it was perfect." And Leamer is the perfect guide, so well-acquainted with the Kennedy mystique that he is just as comfortable talking about Teddy's self-doubting willful arrogance as he is with the clan's lack of emotional expressiveness. The Kennedys and kin are a large brood, and the author brings each one before the limelight in a fashion that suggests they may well be in eclipse, coming full circle from shirtsleeves back to shirtsleeves as various members are swept away by airplanes,recreational intoxicants, and hubris. Impeccable: Leamer never overreaches, delivering accessible and even insightful portraits of Camelot's sons. (Two 16-page b&w photo inserts, not seen)Agent: Joy Harris
New York Times
“Leamer’s portrait of John F. Kennedy Jr., and his marriage…feels more intimate and immediate than many that have recently appeared.”
New York Times Book Review
“Leamer’s interviews with his friends and associates provide the fullest portrait of [JFK Jr.’s] adult life to date.”
New York Post
“A stunning glimpse of the inner lives of the not-so-young-any-longer Kennedys.”
Daily News
“Haunting…Leamer succeeds in...show[ing] how the Kennedy male offspring often crumbled under the weight of expectations.”
Booklist
“Kennedy watchers, who continue to be legion, will find this a fascinating chapter in the never-ending story.”

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780062038067
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
02/22/2011
Sold by:
HARPERCOLLINS
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
656
Sales rank:
270,569
File size:
1 MB

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