BIOGRAPHY

Catching the Wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour, 1932-1975

Crown. Oct. 2020. 928p. ISBN 9780307405449. $40. BIOG
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With this new book, award-winning author Gabler profiles the life and career of Edward “Ted” Kennedy (1932–2009), from his status as “the least of the Kennedy’s…the one of whom little was expected” to a senior statesman in the U.S. Senate. This first volume, of two, is meticulously researched yet readable. Gabler has great respect for Kennedy, and considers him to be “the most consequential legislator of his lifetime.” The author effectively describes how the politician forged a genuine connection with voters and fellow senators of both parties, and writes at length about Kennedy’s first campaign for the Senate (to fill his brother John’s seat). After Robert Kennedy’s assassination, there was great pressure on Ted to run for president; the 1969 Chappaquiddick incident derailed any chance of the presidency in 1972. Gabler discusses personal challenges in Kennedy’s life, including a serious plane crash, his son’s cancer, and wife Joan’s alcoholism. But much of this book consists of legislative triumphs and failures. The volume ends with a breakdown of policies the Kennedys championed.
VERDICT While this is primarily a political biography, the book contains plenty of personal material about the Kennedy family to satisfy all levels of readers. An important contribution on this family dynasty.

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