The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

David Nasaw

Language: English

Pages: 896

ISBN: 1594203768

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


2013 Pulitzer Prize Finalist
New York Times Ten Best Books of 2012

“Riveting…The Patriarch is a book hard to put down.”  – Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review

In this magisterial new work The Patriarch, the celebrated historian David Nasaw tells the full story of Joseph P. Kennedy, the founder of the twentieth century's most famous political dynasty. Nasaw—the only biographer granted unrestricted access to the Joseph P. Kennedy papers in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library—tracks Kennedy's astonishing passage from East Boston outsider to supreme Washington insider. Kennedy's seemingly limitless ambition drove his career to the pinnacles of success as a banker, World War I shipyard manager, Hollywood studio head, broker, Wall Street operator, New Deal presidential adviser, and founding chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. His astounding fall from grace into ignominy did not come until the years leading up to and following America's entry into the Second World War, when the antiwar position he took as the first Irish American ambassador to London made him the subject of White House ire and popular distaste.

The Patriarch is a story not only of one of the twentieth century's wealthiest and most powerful Americans, but also of the family he raised and the children who completed the journey he had begun. Of the many roles Kennedy held, that of father was most dear to him. The tragedies that befell his family marked his final years with unspeakable suffering.

The Patriarch looks beyond the popularly held portrait of Kennedy to answer the many questions about his life, times, and legacy that have continued to haunt the historical record. Was Joseph P. Kennedy an appeaser and isolationist, an anti-Semite and a Nazi sympathizer, a stock swindler, a bootlegger, and a colleague of mobsters? What was the nature of his relationship with his wife, Rose? Why did he have his daughter Rosemary lobotomized? Why did he oppose the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Korean War, and American assistance to the French in Vietnam? What was his relationship to J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI? Did he push his second son into politics and then buy his elections for him?

In this pioneering biography, Nasaw draws on never-before-published materials from archives on three continents and interviews with Kennedy family members and friends to tell the life story of a man who participated in the major events of his times: the booms and busts, the Depression and the New Deal, two world wars and a cold war, and the birth of the New Frontier. In studying Kennedy's life, we relive with him the history of the American Century.

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fields, parkland, gardens, and a farm that provided residents with fresh vegetables and meat. The buildings were old-fashioned multistory brick ones like the large parochial schools then found in every city in the nation. There was a beautiful church and chapel on the grounds, an auditorium with a stage for live shows and a Hollywood-style projector that Kennedy might very well have contributed, indoor and outdoor swimming pools, playgrounds and recreation facilities, boys’ and girls’

67–22. Only one Democrat, John F. Kennedy of Massachusetts, did not vote for censure, though he did not vote against it; his vote was marked as “unrecorded.” The senator might, had he chosen to, have instructed Ted Sorensen to pair him in favor of censure with an absent Republican who was opposed to it. He chose not to, either because he did not, at this moment in his life, want to go against his father’s wishes or because he believed that his constituents, like his father, did not believe that

“That evening,” Timilty later recalled, “we went over to the Tahoe Lodge for dinner and were joined by one Wingie Grober, who had the reputation of being quite a character. Mr. Kennedy said to Wingie, ‘Wingie, you go out and beg and borrow as much money as you possibly can and place it on Jack to win on the 1st ballot.’”28 Kennedy, who had absented himself from every stop on the campaign trail, accepted Marion Davies’s invitation to stay at her beach house in Santa Monica during the

stage of their visit.” The most difficult part of the day was the trip from his bungalow to the main building, up and down the elevators, through the long corridors. Joseph P. Kennedy was used to having things his own way, to giving the commands, to setting the schedule. On several occasions early in his stay, he abruptly canceled therapy sessions or refused to follow directions or leave his bungalow. The effect of his outbursts, his mood changes, his tantrums, reverberated through the halls,

room for forty-two passengers] and club lounge, with bath, barbershop, and soda fountain.” From Chicago, passengers such as Kennedy who could afford it boarded the 20th Century Limited for the day-long trip to Grand Central Station in New York.23 Kennedy arrived in New York in mid-March and would remain there, commuting back and forth to see his father in Boston until early May, when the doctors told him (wrongly, it would turn out) that P.J. was out of immediate danger. Rescue work on Queen

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