Victura: The Kennedys, a Sailboat, and the Sea

Victura: The Kennedys, a Sailboat, and the Sea

by James W. Graham

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Overview

To truly understand the dynamics and magic of the Kennedy family, one must understand their passion for sailing and the sea. Many families sail together, but the Kennedys’ relationship with Victura, the 25-foot sloop purchased in 1932, stands apart. Throughout their brief lives, Joe Jr., Jack, and Bobby spent many hours racing Victura. Lack of effort in a race by one of his sons could infuriate Joseph P. Kennedy, and Joe Jr. and Jack ranked among the best collegiate sailors in New England. Likewise, Eunice emerged as a gifted sailor and fierce competitor, the equal of any of her brothers. The Kennedys believed that Jack’s experience sailing Victura helped him survive the sinking of his PT boat during World War II. In the 1950s, glossy Life magazine photos of Jack and Jackie on Victura’s bow helped define the winning Kennedy brand. Jack doodled sketches of Victura during Oval Office meetings, and it’s probable that his love of seafaring played a role in his 1961 decision to put a man on the moon, an enterprise he referred to as “spacefaring.” Ted loved Victura as much as any of his siblings did and, with his own children and the children of his lost brothers as crew, he sailed into his old age: past the shoals of an ebbing career, and into his eventual role as the “Lion of the Senate.” In Victura, James W. Graham charts the progress of America’s signature twentieth-century family dynasty in a narrative both stunningly original and deeply gripping. This true tale of one small sailboat is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the great story of the Kennedys.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781611684117
Publisher: University Press of New England
Publication date: 04/01/2014
Pages: 284
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

JAMES W. GRAHAM was a senior advisor to former Illinois Governor Jim Edgar and the Illinois House of Representatives. He races and cruises his sailboat, Venturous, at Wilmette Harbor, north of Chicago.

Table of Contents

BOOK I. CHRISTENINGS • Metaphor for Life • Bred to Win • At Once Rivalrous and Loyal • Chemistry • War and Destiny • BOOK II. CHANGING COURSE • Jack • The Presidency • Bobby and Ethel • Eunice • Ted • Passages • Afterword • Acknowledgments • Notes • Index

What People are Saying About This

Jim Whittaker

"The Kennedys saw the world and nature as a magical place, full of mystery and adventure. They especially enjoyed challenges and the freedom of activities like sailing, skiing, river running, climbing and just being outside. Two thirds of the surface of planet earth is liquid: the sea is vital to life—a huge source of both pleasure and fear—and a great teacher. Victura, a small wooden sailboat, became the center of adventure, companionship and love for this remarkable family. Author Graham knows the sea, sailing and the Kennedys. Sail on Victura, to new horizons."

Richard D. Mahoney

“This wonderfully-written book takes a well-worn subject—the Kennedys—and gives it as fresh a gust as the sailors on the sturdy, little Victura themselves must have felt a thousand times off the Nantucket shore. In going to sea on board the Victura, Joe, Jack, Bobby, and Teddy Kennedy entered their metaphor of quest, braced themselves for the unknown, and left their country, in the end, with an imperishable poignancy in its heart.”

first American to summit Mount Everest and author JimWhittaker

“The Kennedys saw the world and nature as a magical place, full of mystery and adventure. They especially enjoyed challenges and the freedom of activities like sailing, skiing, river running, climbing and just being outside. Two thirds of the surface of planet earth is liquid: the sea is vital to life—a huge source of both pleasure and fear—and a great teacher. Victura, a small wooden sailboat, became the center of adventure, companionship and love for this remarkable family. Author Graham knows the sea, sailing and the Kennedys. Sail on Victura, to new horizons.”

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