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The Kennedy Women: The Saga of an American Family Paperback – 1 Jan 1996

3.9 out of 5 stars 10 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 935 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books Inc.; 1st Ballantine Books Trade Pbk. Ed edition (1 Jan. 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0449911713
  • ISBN-13: 978-0449911716
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 4.6 x 20.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (10 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 342,503 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Inside Flap

"A FRESH AND UNVARNISHED PORTRAIT OF A FASCINATING, TALENTED, AND DEEPLY FLAWED FAMILY."
--Boston Herald
Laurence Leamer was granted unheralded access to private Kennedy papers, and he interviewed family and old friends, many of whom had never been interviewed before, for this incredible portrait of the women in America's "royal family." From Bridget Murphy, the foremother who touched shore at East Boston in 1849, to the intelligent, independent Kennedy women of today, Laurence Leamer tells their unforgettable stories.
Here are the private thoughts of Kathleen, the flirtatious debutante in prewar England . . . the truth behind Joe Kennedy's insistence that his mildly retarded daughter, Rosemary, be lobotomized . . . the real story behind Joan and Ted's whirlwind romance . . . Jackie's desire for a divorce from JFK in the 1950s . . . Pat Lawford's disastrous Hollywood marriage . . . how Caroline discovered her cousin David's death by overdose, and more.
Tough enough to withstand the unimaginable, these Kennedy women soldier on in the name of their extraordinary family and what they believe is right.
"MASTERFUL . . . AN ENDLESSLY FASCINATING READ . . . A wealth of beautifully rendered social detail, at times reading like a realist novel by Edith Wharton . . . [A] page-turner from start to finish."
--The Dallas Morning News

About the Author

Laurence Leamer is the New York Times bestselling author of more than a dozen books, including The Kennedy Women and The Price of Justice. He has worked in a French factory and a West Virginia coal mine, and was a Peace Corps volunteer in Nepal. His play, Rose, was produced off Broadway last year. He lives in Palm Beach, Florida, and Washington, D.C., with his wife, Vesna Obradovic Leamer.


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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a hefty book, but it grabs you from page one, and never lets go, every page being of the same high standard. I only read biographies, and have previously read quite a lot about the Kennedys, but this is one of the best books I have ever read, infact I was very sorry to finish it. It is a fascinating mix of social history, combined with an indepth look into lives of generations of Kennedy women, whose contributions gradually moulded the Kennedy dynasty, but to a large extent have been overlooked and probably undervalued. If there was ever a perfect example of 'the power behind the throne' this is it, but you also come to understand the price they paid as individuals.
The title says it all, this book is a mix of triumph and tragedy, leaving the reader with an amazing insight into the lives of america's first family. I cannot accurately explain how excellent this book is. You owe it to yourself to read it....I shall certainly be reading it again!!
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Format: Paperback
I have read a great deal on the Kennedy Family, and really looked forward to receiving this book, especially after reading the reviews. However I was really disappointed. It is a huge book, with a great deal of reading, but I just find it very superficial and not nearly as in-depth as I had hoped. Perhaps this is simply because I had just finished reading Doris Kearns Goodwin's epic tome, "The Fitzgeralds and The Kennedys - An American Saga", which IS well worth buying. I would say if you want in-depth knowledge about the Kennedys then read Kearns Goodwin.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I found this book very interesting. There is exhaustive material available on the most famous of the Kennedy men, but you don't often read about the lesser Kennedy women, like Eunice, Pat, Jean, and all the grandchildren and great-grandchildren. The Kennedys are a fascinating family. I love their energy and their commitment to family and their need to do good in the world, but am still dismayed by their quite obvious flaws. I think their is a lot to be inspired about these women, and a lot to feel sad about too.

Leamer really gets to the heart of these women, although some, like Ethel, I would have liked to know even more about. He shows them in their selfishness, especially Kathleen, but also in their most transcendent. The story of Rosemary is, of course, one of the bigger tragedies, but while Leamer makes Joe Kennedy look heartless, I kind of hope that Nasaw's take in "The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy" on Joe's relationship with his eldest daughter rings more true. I would personally like to believe that he cared very much for her and only wanted the best when he organised the lobotomy. It would make sense as he was obviously devoted to his family.

All these women suffered the humiliation of unfaithful spouces, yet somehow tried to pull their families together. Really, although the men are celebrated for their political feats, it was the women who truly made this family successful. Like any great writer, there were parts that even left me shedding some small tears. If you find this family intriguing, then I would highly recommend this book.
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Format: Paperback
a tale of the rise of the kennedy family, from the first kennedy to the current kennedy generation. tells the story of the many adventures of joe sr. and jfk with their women friends, and the women who supported them. absolutely awesome, and a must-read
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Format: Paperback
"For the most part Rose grandchildren observed and respected and obeyed her, tiptoeing around her life as if she were an exquisite piece of porcelain. She had led such a decorous life, blocking out the untoward, the ugly, and the unacceptable, that her eyes no longer saw the darker colours of the spectrum. "Pat drank a bottle of wine in the morning," Rose was told. "That's impossible" Rose replied, Pat doesn't drink"
I was glad that I read this book because it has helped me to understand so much more about this so much talked about family. In Mr. Leaner's book we get to know about the Kennedy women's personal thoughts and the correct stories of the daughters and daughters-in-law. Mr.Leamer has given us indept portraits of these women and my favourite is Rose Kennedy the Matriarch of the family. For Rose was a woman so strong and who suffered great disloyalty by her husband which she took all gracefully all for the sake of her family and what she supposed the public expected of them. She was a stern Catholic and gain her strength through her prayer and trust in God.
Also portrayed are Joan Kennedy; Ted wife who had a problem with alcohol. Jackie Kennedy Onnassis; the President's wife who remarried after the President's death to a Greek tycoon. Pat Lawford; married to a Hollywood star and spent most of her time in Los Angeles. Eunice Shriver, who was always working for the handicapped and underprivileged and was one of the Kennedys with great patience and common sense. Ethel Kennedy, Robert Kennedy's widow and Jean Smith.
The Kennedys pushed their tragedies to the inner recesses of their minds.They refused to let others see the negative side of their lives, and carried their problems and burdens inwardly taking pains not to show their broken hearts.
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