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Bobby Kennedy

Bobby Kennedy by Larry Tye
May 09, 2017 | 608 Pages
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    May 09, 2017 | 608 Pages

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    Jul 05, 2016 | 608 Pages

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“Larry Tye has done his homework. He has read the books and articles, interviewed hundreds of family members, friends, colleagues and acquaintances, and made use of newly released materials in the Kennedy Library and elsewhere to produce a nuanced, balanced, affectionate and mostly favorable portrait. . . . [Tye] presents us . . . with a kind of bildungsroman of a young, privileged man who is forced to learn on the job and makes mistakes. . . . We are in Larry Tye’s debt for bringing back to life the young presidential candidate who . . . for a brief moment, almost half a century ago, instilled hope for the future in angry, fearful Americans.”—David Nasaw, The New York Times Book Review

“Sweeping . . . [Tye] captures RFK’s rise and fall with straightforward prose bolstered by impressive research. Along with hundreds of interviews with Kennedy intimates, including his widow, Ethel, Tye sifted through unpublished memoirs, unreleased government files, and boxes of Kennedy papers that had been locked away for some forty years.”USA Today

“Mr. Tye’s account is nuanced and thorough, and he manages the rare feat of interviewing Kennedy’s widow Ethel, now eighty-eight. . . . [RFK’s] vision echoes through the decades. ‘Only those who dare to fail greatly can ever achieve greatly,’ he said in 1966. If only modern-day leaders were so bold.”The Economist

“Bobby Kennedy, who was assassinated during his 1968 presidential campaign, is remembered for his antiwar stance and for standing up for civil rights and against poverty. But Tye (“Superman”) shows how RFK was not always the progressive hero but a work in progress—after all, Kennedy worked for Joseph McCarthy for a spell. Tye’s pages on the assassination are heart-wrenching.”New York Post

“Like Alexander Hamilton during our nation’s founding, [Bobby] Kennedy was the most dominant figure of his time not to be elected president. . . . Tye has crafted a multi-layered, inspiring portrait of RFK. Because the author refuses to avert his eyes from the uglier chapters in Kennedy’s life, he provides readers and historians their most in-depth look at an extraordinary figure whose transformational story shaped America at mid-century.”The Washington Post

“Very, very good . . . It captures RFK’s cold, ruthless side with appropriate relish, and it provides fast-paced and very detailed accounts of RFK’s early working relationship with soon-to-be-disgraced politician Joe McCarthy.”Christian Science Monitor
“Fascinating . . . The book is most successful in tracing Kennedy’s transition from a brash, patrician lawyer to a skilled liberal politician who overwhelmingly identified with those in the greatest need.”AP News

“Tye’s vivid journalistic style makes the biography an arresting read. . . . Bobby Kennedy’s journey closely mirrors the history of the country, from the Cold War through the civil rights movement, the dissent against the Vietnam War and growing public awareness of poverty in America. . . . Many of the most fascinating stories come through Tye’s dissection of Bobby’s relations with his adversaries.”San Francisco Chronicle

“Absorbing . . . a captivating account of the political career of Robert F. Kennedy, from his years as a zealous communist hunter for Joe McCarthy through the 1968 presidential campaign during which he was assassinated ate age forty-two. For this state-of-the-art political biography, Tye conducted four hundred interviews with people who worked with Kennedy. He also had access to national archives. The author’s admiration for his subject shows, but this is no hagiography. . . . Shedding new light on Kennedy’s relationships with Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr., Tye ultimately reveals Kennedy as a work in progress who, by the end of his life, had become a beloved advocate for minorities and the poor.”Library Journal (starred review)
“The trouble with calling someone iconic is that the truth is often obscured under layers of mythology. . . . Through extensive conversations with Bobby’s widow, Ethel, and far-reaching interviews with key aides, colleagues, close friends, and ideological adversaries, Tye unflinchingly illustrates the evolution of a statesman who captured the imagination of a generation and whose assassination galvanized a nation. . . . Even-handed and probing, Tye’s perceptive analysis of RFK’s career and its impact avoids the hagiographic tone frequently associated with Kennedy biographies to provide a complete portrait of a complex man whose contributions to history were essential and whose potential will remain forever unknowable.”Booklist (starred review)

“It is difficult to envision anyone getting Robert F. Kennedy more right than biographer [Larry] Tye does in this superb book. Tye beautifully captures Kennedy’s contradictions, his emergence from under the hard-to-like father to whom he remained forever loyal, and his growth into a public figure killed by an assassin’s bullet. . . . Tye equitably concedes that Kennedy’s detractors have much reason to be tough on the man, and his clear depiction of Kennedy’s many blemishes is just one of the book’s many fine qualities. Another is its wonderful readability. In the end, Tye’s subject stands forth as an admirable man.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“A comprehensive, thesis-driven account . . . richly researched . . . Relying on countless interviews, including the contributions of RFK’s widow, Tye weaves a compelling story of Bobby’s changes: his growth from the ‘ruthless’ image his political enemies attached to him to the committed humanitarian, the friend of African-Americans, the enemy of poverty, and the outspoken opponent of the Vietnam War.”Kirkus 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 to the Good (Later) 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 co-anchor 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
“Dreamy and calculating, joyful and sad, hard and soft, good and bad, Bobby Kennedy remains one of history’s fascinating and elusive figures. In this fair, lively, and insightful biography, Larry Tye makes him real.”—Evan Thomas, New York Times bestselling author of Robert Kennedy: His Life and Being Nixon: A Man Divided 
“Larry Tye, with the eye of a good reporter and the diligence of an accomplished scholar, writes a fascinating, timely report on the other Kennedy—the one named Bobby, who started out supporting Joe McCarthy and died fighting in the anti–Vietnam War crusade. Bobby has always deserved a crackerjack bio. Tye has delivered it.”—Marvin Kalb, senior adviser at the Pulitzer Center and author of Imperial Gamble: Putin, Ukraine, and the New Cold War

From the Hardcover edition.

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