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Kennedy's rich and sometimes tragic story is told in this book by TIME writers Joe Klein, Richard Lacayo and Karen Tumulty; historian Robert Dallek; former Boston Globe columnist Mike Barnicle; longtime Kennedy-family aide Theodore Sorensen; and Kennedy's close friend and speechwriter Robert Shrum. It's also told through dozens of unforgettable photographs, including many intimate, behind-the-scenes pictures of Kennedy at work, on the campaign trail or relaxing with family and friends.
That story begins with the fierce ambition of Kennedy's father, the wealthy and unstoppable Joseph Kennedy Sr., who believed that one of his sons should become President of the United States. As the youngest of Joe and Rose Kennedy's nine children, Ted wasn't necessarily destined for a political career. But one by one, his older brothers met their fates, until only Ted was left. Joe Jr. died in a combat mission during World War II. Jack reached the White House, only to be assassinated in 1963. Five years later, Robert was shot down during his own campaign for the presidency.
For a time, it seemed inevitable that Ted would also seek the White House, and soon. Then came Chappaquiddick, the tragedy that cost a young woman her life and cast a shadow over Kennedy for the rest of his. When he did make his only bid for the Oval Office, in 1980, it was in a surprising attempt to unseat an incumbent Democrat, Jimmy Carter. Though Kennedy's 1980 campaign did not succeed, it ended in a speech to the Democratic National Convention that sealed his status as liberalism's greatest champion.
The failure of that campaign also freed Kennedy to focus for the rest of his life on the work of the Senate. It was there that he gave enduring substance to the Kennedy family legacy, through legislation that shaped this nation in many areas - education, the economy, civil rights, law enforcement and foreign policy-and especially through his decades-long struggle to extend affordable health care to all Americans. His career culminated in 2008 with his key role in securing the Democratic Party's nomination, and ultimately the presidency, for Barack Obama.
A rich compilation of insightful writing and memorable photographs, Kennedy is an authoritative portrait of a man who was one of the major figures of his time.