In The Last Brother, Joe McGinniss brings to startling and disturbing life the childhood, the brief triumph, and the long downward slide of the last Kennedy brother and exposes, as never before, the chilling reality behind the glittering facade of America's First Dysfunctional Family, as well as the terrible cost of Ambassador Joseph P. Kennedy's dark ambitions for his children - even the last and least of them. His book focuses in particular on the extraordinary 60s, a decade that began in glory for the family with Jack's ascension to the presidency, and ended - after the murders of Jack and Bobby, the tragedy at Chappaquidick, and their father's death - with Teddy, the last brother, standing alone in the rubble of Camelot. While The Last Brother is both shocking and newsworthy, Teddy Kennedy emerges as a curiously tragic figure, the victim of his own family, forever "the fat, awkward little boy" who was ignored by his siblings, his father and his mother, then propelled, unwilling and unprepared, into the public limelight. Searing, yet strangely moving and even sympathetic, The Last Brother presents a detailed, tragic portrait of a man at war with himself, doomed to live in the giant shadow of his brothers, trapped in the glorious but hollow Kennedy myth, longing - but unable - to escape.More
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Worth reading as ONE input into the Kennedy legacy
Unexpected-Riveting Insight into The Kennedy Saga
I just did in a way. I have a first edition hardcover copy. I read it many years ago. I was riveted to it then & became a Joe McGinniss fan. It was just as amazing if not more so this "read." It is touching. One hurts. One resents what power can cover-up. Yet the brother that was never the one, Edward, shows through here. Admittedly as a young man which makes his future all-the-more touching/fascinating knowing how hard & long he worked and went on for the betterment of the country through his congressional role. As well after the book was written we know that Ted matured into a strong male figure for the younger members of the ill-fated family. (Yes with some more Kennedy screw-ups, but ultimately he became quite a man and through this author's eyes, we can glean a sense of the family-law he had to overcome to do so. The Chappiqquiddic Scandal is told in a thrilling manner as many forensic shows/books of today. Yet the book never makes judgements, does not present any hypothesis it then struggles boorishly to support. I do understand why the Kennedy's did not authorize this biographical book about Edward Kennedy, yet I suspect privately they admire the work.
From start to finish, without any hyper-charged "story," it is one of those biographies that seems to allow the reader access to the inner-workings of the covered person. That sense builds. The book does not sensationalize the Chappiqquiddic mystery. Yet it does lend some insight into it. And as horrific as it was in many ways (as was the way) I had some empathy for Ted. He had to face Joe! His whole life was about outrageous expectations under the mantra that "Kennedy's do not fail."I think I forgot how much younger he was than Jack. The baby of the family. Too bad there could not have been a part II of his life by McGinniss.And the book mentions the JFK assassination & burial procession, but for the only time I have read or heard it, quite fascinatingly and intimately from Ted's experience of it.
I have not to my knowledge however I liked him very much.
Page one through the last page.
It may not sound exciting. It is a part of history, a frequently omitted part of the Kennedy .... What? Myth? And it managed as well to be something of a thriller without vilifying The Last Brother. It tells the story and pain is felt.
- Debbie "Well researched thrillers Chriton-esque. Nonfiction: Science, medical, biography, "self-help" meta cognitive sub-genre, memoir, philosophy.."