• Bobby Kennedy

  • The Making of a Liberal Icon
  • By: Larry Tye
  • Narrated by: Marc Cashman
  • Length: 19 hrs and 47 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release date: 07-05-16
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Random House Audio
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars 4.6 (273 ratings)

Regular price: $38.50

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Publisher's Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of Satchel comes an in-depth, vibrant, and measured biography of the most complex and controversial member of the Kennedy family.
History remembers Robert F. Kennedy as a racial healer, a tribune for the poor, and the last progressive knight of a bygone era of American politics. But Kennedy's enshrinement in the liberal pantheon was actually the final stage of a journey that had its beginnings in the conservative 1950s. In Bobby Kennedy, Larry Tye peels away layers of myth and misconception to paint a complete portrait of this singularly fascinating figure.
To capture the full arc of his subject's life, Tye drew on unpublished memoirs, unreleased government files, and 58 boxes of papers that had been under lock and key for the past 40 years. He conducted hundreds of interviews with RFK intimates - including Bobby's widow, Ethel; his sister, Jean; and his aide, John Siegenthaler - many of whom have never spoken to another biographer. Tye's determination to sift through the tangle of often contradictory opinions means that Bobby Kennedy will stand as the definitive one-volume biography of a man much beloved - but just as often misunderstood.
Bobby Kennedy's transformation from cold warrior to fiery liberal is a profoundly moving personal story that also offers a lens onto two of the most chaotic and confounding decades of 20th-century American history. The first half of RFK's career underlines what the country was like in the era of Eisenhower while his last years as a champion of the underclass reflect the seismic shifts wrought by the 1960s. Nurtured on the rightist orthodoxies of his dynasty-building father, Bobby Kennedy began his public life as counsel to the red-baiting senator Joseph McCarthy. He ended it with a noble campaign to unite working-class whites with poor blacks and Latinos in an electoral coalition that seemed poised to redraw the face of presidential politics. Along the way he turned up at the center of every event that mattered, from the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis to race riots and Vietnam.
Bare-knuckle operative, cynical White House insider, romantic visionary - Bobby Kennedy was all of these things at one time or another, and each of these aspects of his personality emerges in this powerful and perceptive new biography.
©2016 Larry Tye (P)2016 Random House Audio
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Critic Reviews

"This is not just another Bobby Kennedy book. It is the definitive biography of one of America's most compelling political figures. Larry Tye has given us the complete Bobby, from the Bad (Early) Kennedy, from Joe McCarthy's committee counsel to 'ruthless' political manager to gentle, softhearted presidential candidate. Tye's book rests on prodigious and original research including rare, on-the-record interviews with Bobby's widow, Ethel, who confesses that seeing Bobby for the first time was like meeting George Clooney." (Roger Mudd, winner of the Peabody Award and former coanchor of NBC Nightly News)
"Robert Kennedy led one of the great unfinished lives in American history. With skill and verve, Larry Tye has written a fascinating account of a transformative figure who continues to summon us to heed our better angels even all these years distant." (Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power)
"Drawing on the personal papers and insights of the Kennedy family, this biography will appeal not only to those wanting a portrait of a dynamic idealist, but also to those seeking to understand the emotions of the times in which he lived." (Henry A. Kissinger)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Rosemary on 07-20-16

For 11 brief shining hours Larry Tye brings RFK back to life with all warts and promise

This should be the hands-down definitive biography of Robert Kennedy. There are no glib smooth-overs of the RFK's early and ugly zeal and flaws. This is the story of a man who through terrible despair, grief and unusual determination becomes 100 times the man he started out being. The political reality of his time is rendered perfectly. The book resounds because it is a true rendering of human frailty, suffering and overcoming. Life's first card dealt Bobby Kennedy was filled with feisty competitiveness and intolerance. Turned over at the end of his his life, the card showed a depth of character found only in monks and profoundly selfless leaders. To be savored by conservatives and progressives alike. And brought this reader to tears 45 years after spending 19 hours in his funeral line, for what might have been.

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10 of 10 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Jean on 01-18-17


This book sat on my “to read list” as I tried to decide whether to read it or not. I just finish reading “Joseph McCarthy” by Arthur Herman and that triggered me to go ahead and read the book as Herman mentioned RFK frequently throughout the book.

Tye does a good job capturing the contradictions of RFK. Tye depicts Kennedy’s transformation from a ruthless, arrogant, hypocritical man to a loyal, compassionate, dedicated man who changed the country. Tye states that Bobby was a conservative and he wanted to show how he changed into a liberal. The author starts with RFK’s association with Joseph McCarthy and ends with the assassination. Tye goes into depth about the relationship with Lyndon Johnson and his pursuit of Jimmy Hoffa. He follows RFK’s commitment to civil rights and his interest in the problems of poverty. He covers the relationship with his brother, John F. Kennedy, and his role as Attorney General. He also goes into details about his campaign for president.

The book is well written and meticulously researched. Tye not only searched the usual archives but conducts countless interviews with colleagues, friends, family and his widow. Tye is a journalist and he writes with the style of a reporter. I enjoyed the book, learned some new information and refreshed old knowledge.

March Cashman did a good job narrating the book. Cashman is a voice-over artist and award winning audiobook narrator.

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8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Amazon Customer on 05-25-18

Wel researched

Well researched and written. Delivery of speaker is excellent.
A good balance of all areas of RFKs life covered .

Just wished they focused a little more on who the shooter was and his trial and subsequent outcome.

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