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The Kennedys: An American Drama is a gripping history about America’s most prominent political family in the last century. The story begins with their earliest ancestor, Patrick Kennedy arrival from Ireland. The center of the story is his grandson, Joseph Patrick Kennedy, the patriarch that established the family wealth and the dream of a Presidential dynasty.
The authors, Peter Collier and David Horowitz provide an intimate look into the life of this family. This book is not hagiography nor simple minded Kennedy bashing. None the less, given the worship of the Kennedy’s, the book reveals an empty pursuit of power by JFK, Robert and Teddy aa well as reckless personal lives. Robert Kennedy seems to have been the true believer among the men. Collier and Horowitz follows the Kennedy legacy into the lost next generation trying to live with the tragedy of their dead parents. This is a satisfying history of a modern American tragedy.
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This book has a focus on the personal family history of the Kennedys. If you are looking for information on Bay of Pigs, Cuban missile crisis, assassinations of JFK and RFK, Chappaquiddick, etc,, in fact any individual event in the Kennedy's history, this is not the book to listen to. Most of these events receive little more than a few sentences. If you want a basic overview of family life then this is ok.
The final three hours are quite boring as they focus on the more recent Kennedys in the 80s who are relatively uninteresting compared with their more well known predecessors and don't seem to have done very much except getting wasted on drugs.
The main criticism of the book is that it tends to show the Kennedys as being little more than gung-ho airheads. I have listened to other Kennedy books which gave a much more balanced and realistic biography. This isn't helped by the poor reading. Christopher Hurt probably got the job reading this one as he does a passable impersonation of JFK, but he rattles through at a fair pace, breezily describing great events of history and deep personal tragedy alike as though he's reading some light romantic fiction.