Regular price: $41.99

Membership details Membership details
  • A 30-day trial plus your first audiobook, free.
  • 1 credit/month after trial – good for any book, any price.
  • Easy exchanges – swap any book you don’t love.
  • Keep your audiobooks, even if you cancel.
  • After your trial, Audible is just $14.95/month.
Select or Add a new payment method

Buy Now with 1 Credit

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Buy Now for $41.99

Pay using card ending in
By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Add to Library for $0.00

By confirming your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and Amazon's Privacy Notice. Taxes where applicable.

Publisher's Summary

Boldly original and fully documented, this unauthorized yet definitive biography tells the almost incredible story of Joseph P. Kennedy, grandson of a poor Irish immigrant, controversial founder of a great American fortune, and father of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Joe Kennedy, a single-minded capitalist, made big money in booming Wall Street, Hollywood movies, corporate reorganizations, liquor distribution, and New York and Chicago real estate speculation. An early New Dealer who helped elect Franklin D. Roosevelt and dreamed of becoming the first Catholic President, he supported appeasement of Hitler and failed as FDR's pre-World War II Ambassador to London. That seemed to end his dream.
But the ruthless, iron-willed Kennedy rebounded. He shifted his ambitions to his sons and used his showman's savvy to found an image-centered political dynasty, translating wealth into unprecedented power...until tragedy intervened. Jack and Bobby were both assassinated.
Whalen's enduring classic of investigative scholarship was the first book to portray the Kennedys as real people, "warts and all". Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the fair, balanced, and fearless Founding Father is the starting point of the fascinating Kennedy family saga.
(P)2005 Whalen Consulting Group
Show More Show Less

Critic Reviews

"An exemplary biography....Mr. Whalen paces the story well, conveying the strengths and weaknesses of this remarkable person with judiciousness." (The New Yorker)
"In The Founding Father, Richard J. Whalen, a first-rate journalist, presents the product of two years' research, a detailed, lively account illuminating many of the obscure aspects of Kennedy's career, especially his wide-ranging business operations. Yet this fine biography forces the reader to decide for himself what manner of man Kennedy really has been." (The New York Times Book Review)
Show More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
3 out of 5 stars
By Boston Harbor on 10-12-05

Read the book, don't listen to it.

I must agree with another reviewer that the narration on this book is ghastly. I couldn't get through the first section. The content is fascinating, but after the 500th "quote/unquote" , I had to turn it off. Really awful and a shame. Authors to stick to being authors and let professional readers do the readings of their books.

Read More Hide me

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Sally on 03-26-05

Extraordinary Story

Provides an intimate portrayal of a complex man who fathered a dynasty of American politicians. In addition, the activities of Joe Kennedy, and the background from whence he came are finely yet enthrallingly revealed. I learned much more depth about this period of American history, from the treatment of the Irish immigrants, to the stock market, to his inside experience in England, to the nurturing and care of his 9 children. Stimulating and engrossing read. Highly recommended!

Read More Hide me

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

See all Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
2 out of 5 stars
By John on 07-18-06

Needs an Update

For students of the time it is pertinent, useful and interesting. However, much more than this is known about Mr. Kennedy and his connections which throws a darker shadow on the man than is revealed here. This work feels decidedly imcomplete.

As an audio work it is dreadful! The author has chosen to read his own work and whilst he may be a talented writer he certainly is not a talented reader. It took an effort to stay with it because his delivery is annoyingly amateurish and his need to verbally open and close every set of quotation marks with 'quote........end quote' rather than simply by inflection must have been designed to get on a listeners nerves and it does.

Some marks for what's there: none for the yawning gaps: lose a few for the performance!

Read More Hide me

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

3 out of 5 stars
By Paul McAviney on 04-11-15

Good book but terrible narrator.

I think the book itself was good in that the story was well written and easy to follow. However the narration was so bad and in my opinion completely unprofessional that it almost spoiled it.

Read More Hide me
See all Reviews