I've really tried very hard to enjoy BROTHERS but it's been a long hard road getting to the end of a complex and thorough piece of research and at times I nearly gave up on it. It's not that it's not a good book, but I found certain sections - especially the Kennedy White House years - especially dry.
The story it tells, however, is a fascinating one, and the dark corners of the Cold War are peered into meticulously. A large assortment of shady and shifty characters emerge from the gloom and the world they inhabited is revealed as being, quite frankly, terrifying. We are told, in very frank and uncompromising terms, the story of the John F Kennedy White House and the internal battles going on between the Hawks and the Doves during the early part of the cold war, and in many ways makes you feel very grateful that the man in the White House at that time was the man with the strength of character and self belief he had, because with anyone else in charge you get the impression that we may all really have been blown to kingdom come.
After the events of Dallas in November 1963, the story shifts focus onto the story of Robert Kennedy's last few years of life and his reluctance to address the subject of the investigation into his brother's death and his eventual fateful decision to run for the highest office in the land which ended with the tragedy at the Ambassador Hotel in 1968.
I'm not sure, in the end, that this book is the one it claimed it was going to be. Certainly, whilst it opens with the idea that Bobby was haunted and obsessed by the assassination, mostly it seems to imply that he was going to investigate it further after winning the White House which of course he never did. The rest is conjecture and speculation, and whilst it is a fascinating account into the tragic circumstances surrounding the lives and deaths of the two brothers, I'm not sure that the lasting impression the book leaves me with is of the brothers themselves. Instead there is an unsettling sense of the evil that faceless men do in the dark shadows in the name of democracy and freedom and how difficult it is to stop them from engaging in their wickedness when they have committed to their course of action.