Robert Kennedy: His Life

Rating: +

Evan Thomas

I'm not usually a fan of history or biographies, but this book exceeded my expectations and was quite enjoyable. The writing was clear and fast-moving. For those unfamiliar with the events of the time, the context well-described. Kennedy's life is mostly described as a series of anecdotes, but a thread of commentary is maintained to link them together. Some specific historical events, such as the Cuban missile crisis, are covered in extensive detail and from Kennedy's internal perspective, making for an interesting telling. But other, less significant events, are also discussed in order to flush out a fuller picture of Robert Kennedy as a person, particularly in contrast with his brother and the rest of his family. The following quote, for me, summed up the type of person Thomas thought Kennedy was:

"True courage is not fearlessness, recklessly riding towards the sound of the guns. It is overcoming fear, the kind of nameless dread that curls around the heart in the hours before dawn."

Overall, I give this book a '+' and would recommend it to anyone interested in learning about either Robert Kennedy or by association his brother, or gaining an insight into some of their behind-the-scenes political life.


Review written April 2001.


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