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.
"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)
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