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The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963

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The renowned biographer and New York Times bestselling author of The Kennedy Women returns with this first volume in a multigenerational history that will forever change the way America views its most famous family ...


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The renowned biographer and New York Times bestselling author of The Kennedy Women returns with this first volume in a multigenerational history that will forever change the way America views its most famous family ...

30 review for The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963

  1. 4 out of 5

    BAM Endlessly Booked

    1901-1960 has as much time spent on it as the Cuban Middle crisis alone. It would have behooved the author to remember that there was more to the Kennedy male line than JFK. I have learned more about the sires reading Kennedy Women. A little disappointed, but at the same time much more knowledgeable about Jack.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Caroline

    The title of this book is somewhat misleading. It is ostensibly about all of the Kennedy men, but in reality it is largely about Joe Kennedy Snr and John F. Kennedy, with a healthy side-helping of Bobby and Joe Jnr, but Teddy gets fairly short shrift. And the fact that book ends with JFK's assassination in 1963, despite the fact that Joe Kennedy lived another six years, Bobby another five years and Teddy until 2009, is telling. Bobby and Teddy's lives are very much written as an adjunct of their The title of this book is somewhat misleading. It is ostensibly about all of the Kennedy men, but in reality it is largely about Joe Kennedy Snr and John F. Kennedy, with a healthy side-helping of Bobby and Joe Jnr, but Teddy gets fairly short shrift. And the fact that book ends with JFK's assassination in 1963, despite the fact that Joe Kennedy lived another six years, Bobby another five years and Teddy until 2009, is telling. Bobby and Teddy's lives are very much written as an adjunct of their brother's - the book doesn't mention Teddy's Senate career at all after he has won his seat, and Bobby is only mentioned in his capacity as his brother's Attorney General. It's a shame, because they are both such interesting personalities in their own right, and it would have interesting to have some comparisons drawn between Teddy's early days and his later role at the Lion of the Senate. That said, it's an excellent book, incredibly detailed and well-written, as the nearly thousand pages attest. As a bit of a Kennedy buff, there was little new here for me, but it would serve an excellent introductory biography to the Kennedy men. The level of detail about JFK's injuries and health was certainly impressive - I'm not sure which is more of a miracle, that with such poor health JFK ever managed to serve in WW2, campaign for and serve as a Congressman, Senator and President of the United States, or that he somehow managed to conceal such ill health and project such an image of youth and vitality.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    I tried SO HARD to read this book. The Kennedy family has always been tremendously fascinating but he managed to make them all duller than mud. Took me months to get through and I'm a binge reader. I tried SO HARD to read this book. The Kennedy family has always been tremendously fascinating but he managed to make them all duller than mud. Took me months to get through and I'm a binge reader.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Andie

    One wonders at this point in time, what more can be said about the Kennedy family, but there seems to be a endless fascination with them, and I am not exempt from this phenomenon. Laurence Leamer's biography concentrates on the men in the family and ends with the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. Leamer is not an unbiased biographer. He likes JFK despite his many, many character flaws and finds little to admire in either Joseph P. Kennedy or Bobby Kennedy. The former is described as a r One wonders at this point in time, what more can be said about the Kennedy family, but there seems to be a endless fascination with them, and I am not exempt from this phenomenon. Laurence Leamer's biography concentrates on the men in the family and ends with the assassination of President Kennedy in 1963. Leamer is not an unbiased biographer. He likes JFK despite his many, many character flaws and finds little to admire in either Joseph P. Kennedy or Bobby Kennedy. The former is described as a ruthless businessman and a (mostly) reactionary politician who would do anything to get his son elected to the highest office in the land. The latter, whom the author seems to truly despise, is portrayed as a man unable to see nuances in politics or his private life and who was motivated more by his many hates than in any positive program he wanted to put forward. As for Teddy, he is portrayed largely as a likable boob who is more inclined to partying and good times than in large thoughts, and he appears to have stumbled into politics more in living up to family expectations than in anything he wanted to do himself. Looking back at the bribes, womanizing, and hidden health problems, the reader realizes that none of these men would be able to be elected today in out era of 24/7 cable news channels. In fact, in today's environment, they wouldn't even make it out of the primaries. And all in all, that is probably a good thing.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Pamela

    Clearly, this family was a dynasty, men of extraordinary charisma, power, and sense of destiny. A good addition for those who like to read about the Kennedys, this book is lengthy and detailed but reads like a novel as it summarizes with the perspective of time. The book represents a compilation of earlier writings about the Kennedys and newly released tapes and documents. Interspersed with Kennedy gossip is a lot of analysis of the political maneuvering surrounding the Bay of Pigs and Viet Nam Clearly, this family was a dynasty, men of extraordinary charisma, power, and sense of destiny. A good addition for those who like to read about the Kennedys, this book is lengthy and detailed but reads like a novel as it summarizes with the perspective of time. The book represents a compilation of earlier writings about the Kennedys and newly released tapes and documents. Interspersed with Kennedy gossip is a lot of analysis of the political maneuvering surrounding the Bay of Pigs and Viet Nam and the Civil Rights Movement. Especially striking is the extensive coverage of JFK's physical condition. The book discusses the various marriages and names many of Kennedy's lovers; the author also points out the precarious position JFK was in but never recognized. The political bumbling, however, is more shocking even than the sexual liaisons. The book clearly explains personality weaknesses of all of the Kennedy men but also shows their strengths. What makes this so interesting, perhaps, is having lived through Camelot and now reading all that was hidden from the public at the time. So much we never knew ....

  6. 5 out of 5

    Peggie Ross

    At times there was too much minutia while other topics were completely ignored......absolutely no mention of the space race or his speech which compelled NASA to the moon after his death. I found the Kennedy men to be rather self-absorbed and opinionated, moreso than I had known previously and not a particularly likable lot.

  7. 5 out of 5

    ~mad

    I'll never see the Kennedys the same way again! I recommend. I'll never see the Kennedys the same way again! I recommend.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Doreen Petersen

    The Kennedy men had their good and bad times to be sure. This was a very interesting book. I would recommend this one.

  9. 4 out of 5

    John

    Although I did not read the author's much-renowned "The Kennedy Women", I think this book would be it's equal. I really enjoyed this book. It was balanced and not too much a Kennedy fan, but also not scathing to prove a political point. Gave me a very good understanding of how the four Kennedy boys grew up and a good mini-bio of each Joe, jack, Bob, & Teddy, as well as a good bit of detail on the early days of Joe, Sr. Although I did not read the author's much-renowned "The Kennedy Women", I think this book would be it's equal. I really enjoyed this book. It was balanced and not too much a Kennedy fan, but also not scathing to prove a political point. Gave me a very good understanding of how the four Kennedy boys grew up and a good mini-bio of each Joe, jack, Bob, & Teddy, as well as a good bit of detail on the early days of Joe, Sr.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Gloria Creech

    I thought I'd heard it all, but I learned quite a bit about the dark side of what really happened behind closed doors regarding Cuba and Vietnam. I have the book and the audiobook. The audiobook is heavily abridged, which made me unhappy, but it contains excerpts of President Kennedy's words in his own voice. I thought I'd heard it all, but I learned quite a bit about the dark side of what really happened behind closed doors regarding Cuba and Vietnam. I have the book and the audiobook. The audiobook is heavily abridged, which made me unhappy, but it contains excerpts of President Kennedy's words in his own voice.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Glen Chern

    Author Laurence Leamer provides the reader with a brilliant, detailed and comprehensive history of the Kennedy men. This biographical epic provides valuable insights into each of them. Most valuable is Leamer’s description of the influence on and relationships with his four sons. This is a very long volume of work, but well worth the effort to read from beginning to send.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Clark

    Long (of necessity) but good read. It gave me a fuller understanding of Joe Sr., who made a fortune but whose real ambition was power and influence, both directly and vicariously through his sons. It is also a reminder that the political forces in play today are not so different from those of the past I recommend the book.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Clark

    The book is long but informative. I particularly enjoyed learning about Joe and Joe Jr. and their impact on Jack, Bobby, and Ted. The author makes no secret that’s he is enamored with the whole clan, but most readers who take on this epic tale would feel similarly.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dionna Johnson

    Interesting and very informative.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Andre

    this book is packed with lots of detail. skipped certain sections.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Shaland

    2.5 stars

  17. 4 out of 5

    Christine Ingles

    Interesting read showing the power of Joseph P and Rose Kennedy in shaping their boys who in turn, shaped the country.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Kevin Hawkins

    A well researched and written book. If you are in to the details of the lives of the Kennedy men, I recommend that you read this book.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Terry Burgess

    Opens your eyes to the truth of JFK

  20. 4 out of 5

    Clint Bolt

    It’s same to say this is probably the best book not just on the Kennedy’s but also on JFK I’ve read, a lot of info that I had never knew about. Well done.

  21. 4 out of 5

    LeAnne

    I finished reading this very long book. This is not a book about politics as much as it is about this family and the sons who were shaped by the father and indirectly by the mother. There is so much behind the scenes that was covered up, never mentioned beyond the family or beyond their personal close friends. Learning about much of it is what makes this book so interesting for me. I came of age in the 60s and living in the southwest, I knew little about the Kennedys when JFK ran for President. I finished reading this very long book. This is not a book about politics as much as it is about this family and the sons who were shaped by the father and indirectly by the mother. There is so much behind the scenes that was covered up, never mentioned beyond the family or beyond their personal close friends. Learning about much of it is what makes this book so interesting for me. I came of age in the 60s and living in the southwest, I knew little about the Kennedys when JFK ran for President. So over the years, I've heard and learned more, but all I knew about Joe Sr. was that he made an a$$ of himself as Ambassador in Britain during WW2. In this book, I learned how he got that way, his Irish roots, and what was the prevailing biased attitude toward Catholics and Irish Catholics. Over the years, I learned a lot more about Ted and none of it was good. Families need to be careful how they raise the baby of the family or he or she could turn out like Teddy. The book is heavy with background about Joe, Sr and how his Irish Catholic upbringing made him what he was and influenced how he raised his boys. Also heavy with information about Jack Kennedy, both good and bad. Something that he tried all his life to cover up was his long suffering serious health issues. Not just his bad back, which we did hear a bit about during his Presidency, but his other internal stomach pains and fevers which for years puzzled the doctors. The book mentions that years later those symptoms were thought to be early signs of Addison's Disease (an uncommon disorder that occurs when the body doesn't produce enough of certain hormones and can be life-threatening.) After I looked up the symptoms, it was clear that Jack Kennedy had most of them. For me, this book is not boring...it reads like a novel, all 896 pages. I want to read the other Kennedy books written by this author.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Ris

    It was so interesting in parts, and so hard to get through in parts. The political sections were just not interesting to me- I wanted to know about JFK the man. (And the others) I was disappointed that it did not tell me the fates of Joe, Bobby, Teddy, John Jr, et cetera. It just ended with JFKs death! I now know there is another book out, but I'm not sure I can make it through a full book on it. Took me a month to push through this one. The most interesting thing was learning that JFK was such It was so interesting in parts, and so hard to get through in parts. The political sections were just not interesting to me- I wanted to know about JFK the man. (And the others) I was disappointed that it did not tell me the fates of Joe, Bobby, Teddy, John Jr, et cetera. It just ended with JFKs death! I now know there is another book out, but I'm not sure I can make it through a full book on it. Took me a month to push through this one. The most interesting thing was learning that JFK was such a sickly man, I had no idea!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    This is not quite as valiant an effort as Leamer's first Kennedy book, The Kennedy Women. It was still enjoyable and interesting, but it's a bit disconcerting that Leamer reveals the truth about the Kennedys' behavior, but never analyzes it and draws a conclusion. His original thought is what really made "The Kennedy Women," and is lacking in his second book. This is not quite as valiant an effort as Leamer's first Kennedy book, The Kennedy Women. It was still enjoyable and interesting, but it's a bit disconcerting that Leamer reveals the truth about the Kennedys' behavior, but never analyzes it and draws a conclusion. His original thought is what really made "The Kennedy Women," and is lacking in his second book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Scott Thrift

    The limited scope of this book makes it excellent reading. the descriptions of the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis are very succinct and clear. There's hardly any mention of the Kennedys' understanding of the civil rights movement., and Edward is given very short shrift. Still, a very good biography. The limited scope of this book makes it excellent reading. the descriptions of the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban missile crisis are very succinct and clear. There's hardly any mention of the Kennedys' understanding of the civil rights movement., and Edward is given very short shrift. Still, a very good biography.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    I really enjoyed the book. I learned a lot of history too. Thank goodness the press had respect for public figures at that time. Some times it's best to only know the good side of people. The only thing that could've made the book better, is if it would have continued with The lives of the last two Kennedy men. I really enjoyed the book. I learned a lot of history too. Thank goodness the press had respect for public figures at that time. Some times it's best to only know the good side of people. The only thing that could've made the book better, is if it would have continued with The lives of the last two Kennedy men.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Robert

    Very good book, lots of information however a bit fuzzy. Well researched but it reads more like a psychological fiction then historical biography. The author has a lot of symphathy for the Kennedy's and is diminishing some of their sins. Nevertheless it is rather devastating reading for Kennedy's myth. Very good book, lots of information however a bit fuzzy. Well researched but it reads more like a psychological fiction then historical biography. The author has a lot of symphathy for the Kennedy's and is diminishing some of their sins. Nevertheless it is rather devastating reading for Kennedy's myth.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Eileen

    Took me forever to finish, but I did enjoy it. Tons of information but the most fascinating sections were those that stripped away the veneer of respectability and exposed the ruthlessness of all the Kennedy's. Took me forever to finish, but I did enjoy it. Tons of information but the most fascinating sections were those that stripped away the veneer of respectability and exposed the ruthlessness of all the Kennedy's.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Terri Miles

    I am reading this book right now. If I didn't have to feed my husband and clean, I probably would be finished with it by now. Very interesting and insightful. I have learned many thing so far, not just about the Kennedy men. I would recommend this to someone who is interested in Kennedy history. I am reading this book right now. If I didn't have to feed my husband and clean, I probably would be finished with it by now. Very interesting and insightful. I have learned many thing so far, not just about the Kennedy men. I would recommend this to someone who is interested in Kennedy history.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Alice

    Another excellent book on the Kennedy family by this author. I lost some interest once Jack's political career to center stage, but very much enjoyed the start of the book which spoke about the family's origins and Joe. Another excellent book on the Kennedy family by this author. I lost some interest once Jack's political career to center stage, but very much enjoyed the start of the book which spoke about the family's origins and Joe.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Anne Schell

    Different look at the Kennedy's This book is a hard read. It is insightful and shows a different view of this family. At first I thought the author really disliked the family as most of the things he said about them were harsh, he did soften his view of some of the men. Different look at the Kennedy's This book is a hard read. It is insightful and shows a different view of this family. At first I thought the author really disliked the family as most of the things he said about them were harsh, he did soften his view of some of the men.

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