The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

by David Nasaw

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Overview

In this pioneering new work, celebrated historian David Nasaw examines the life of Joseph P. Kennedy, the founder of the twentieth century's most famous political dynasty. Drawing on never-before-published materials from archives on three continents and interviews with Kennedy family members and friends, Nasaw tells the story of a man who participated in the major events of his times: the booms and busts, the Depression and the New Deal, two world wars and the Cold War, and the birth of the New Frontier. In studying Kennedy's life, we relive the history of the American century.

"Riveting . . . The Patriarch is a book hard to put down . . . As his son indelibly put it some months before his father was struck down: 'Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your county.' One wonders what was going through the mind of the patriarch, sitting a few feet away listening to that soaring sentiment as a fourth-generation Kennedy became president of the United States. After coming to know him over the course of this brilliant, compelling book, the reader might suspect that he was thinking he had done more than enough for his country. But the gods would demand even more." - New York Times Book Review

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780143124078
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 09/24/2013
Pages: 896
Sales rank: 182,963
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 2.10(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

David Nasaw is the author of Andrew Carnegie and The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst. He is the Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Professor of History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

Table of Contents

Cast of Characters ix

Introduction xix

Part I East Boston to Cambridge to Brookline 1

1 Dunganstown to East Boston 3

2 School Days 16

3 Starting Out 32

4 War 47

5 Making a Million 58

Part II Hollywood 83

6 "My Own Master in My Own Business" 85

7 Hollywood 105

8 Gloria and Rose 128

9 Last Exit from Hollywood 149

Part III Washington 165

10 On the Roosevelt Train 167

11 Waiting for the Call 185

12 To Washington 204

13 Reelecting Roosevelt 238

14 Maritime Commissioner 254

Part IV London 281

15 A Plainspoken Ambassador 283

16 A Rather Dreadful Homecoming 312

17 Munich 323

18 The Kennedy Plan 348

19 Sidelined and Censored 371

20 "This Country Is at War with Germany" 399

21 The Lives of Americans Are at Stake 408

22 Defeatist 427

23 The Fall of France 444

24 The Worst of Times 457

25 There's Hell to Pay Tonight 473

Part V Washington, but Briefly 487

26 Home Again 489

27 The Man Who Out-Hamleted Hamlet 505

Part VI Palm Beach and Hyannis Port 523

28 A Forced Retirement 525

29 War 538

30 "A Melancholy Business" 570

31 The Candidate's Father 591

32 Family Matters 610

33 "The Great Debate" 632

34 The Next Senator from Massachusetts 652

35 Retirement 671

36 Making Money and Giving It Away 692

37 The Catholic Candidate 709

38 Electing a President 726

39 "He Belongs to the Country" 749

40 "No!" 775

Acknowledgments 789

Notes 793

Bibliography of Works Cited 829

Index 835

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

One of The New York Times Book Review's 10 Best Books of 2012
A New York Times and Washington Post Notable Book of 2012
A Booklist Editor's Choice of 2012
One of Newsday's 12 Best Books of the Year

Riveting… The Patriarch is a book hard to put down…As his son indelibly put it some months before his father was struck down: ‘Ask not what your country can do for you – ask what you can do for your county.’ One wonders what was going through the mind of the patriarch, sitting a few feet away listening to that soaring sentiment as a fourth-generation Kennedy became president of the United States.  After coming to know him over the course of this brilliant, compelling book, the reader might suspect that he was thinking he had done more than enough for his country.  But the gods would demand even more.”
—Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review

"Panoramic. Never before has Joseph P. Kennedy's conduct been documented in such damning detail, and never before has the veredict on his character been rendered so persuasively."
Wall Street Journal

"A spellbinding book."
Slate

“David Nasaw’s The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy is the sort of biography that begs to be called ‘magisterial.’"
Boston Globe

"Nasaw was approached to write this biography by Kennedy's children Jean Kennedy Smith and the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, who offered unfettered access to previously unseen papers. The choice was brilliant. Having written admired biographies of Andrew Carnegie and William Randolph Hearst, Nasaw understands how titans of business operate. In this outstanding biography, he captures the reality of one of America's most complicated and controversial figures."
USA Today

“Mr. Nasaw has the rare ability to see the big picture and frame the detail with careful scholarship — all the while making room for elements that do not fit — which in Joe Kennedy's case is quite a lot…. Mr. Nasaw's is a literate and searching exposition of the patriarch's life that offers the reader compelling answers to questions about JPK…. If The Patriarch doesn't scoop up some serious accolades for the writing of American history, the fix is in.
Pittsburgh Post Gazette

"[A] sprawling, highly readable biography of the dynast and larger-than-life figure whose presence still haunts American political life... Working from his subject’s extensive archives, Nasaw (Andrew Carnegie, 2006, etc.) pieces together a sometimes-sympathetic, sometimes-critical view of Joseph P. Kennedy (1888–1969), father of John F. Kennedy and most definitely a man of parts... Exhaustive yet accessible, Nasaw’s book illuminates."
Kirkus (starred review)

"A major contribution to Kennedy history."
Booklist (starred review)

"Nasaw captures the full humanity of his subject... This is truly a 'definitive' biography."
History Book Club

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