SOCIAL SCIENCES

After Camelot

A Personal History of the Kennedy Family 1968 to the Present
After Camelot: A Personal History of the Kennedy Family 1968 to the Present. Grand Central. Apr. 2012. c.624p. index. ISBN 9780446553902. $29.99. BIOG
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Popular biographer and journalist Taraborrelli (Michael Jackson: The Madness, the Magic, the Whole Story) presents his second book on the Kennedy family after Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot. Through extensive interviews with Kennedy staffers, friends, and family members, he tells the intertwining personal stories of members of JFK's extended family up to Edward Kennedy's death in 2009. He fills out the saga with many flashbacks to years before 1968, providing a fuller picture than the subtitle implies. In 24 parts, most of them centered around one member of the clan, he keeps readers deeply engaged with a comfortable, almost novelistic, style including much dialog (although there are several pages of source notes at the back, the quoted conversations are not fully traced). Despite the story's many tragic angles, it's also one about family loyalty, joy, and closeness.
VERDICT Taraborrelli shows what makes the Kennedy legacy so enduring. His book, not aimed at academics, will appeal both to those long fascinated with the Kennedys and those new to following them, as well as readers more generally interested in American political and social history over these years. [See Prepub Alert, 10/21/11.]

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