The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

24 CDs. retail ed. unabridged. 31 hrs. Penguin Audio. 2012. ISBN 9781611761382. $59.95; 24 CDs. library ed.; digital download. BIOG/HIST
Kennedy, father of a U.S. President and eight other remarkable children, was a complex man. He was Boston-Irish from a privileged background but far exceeded his forebears in moneymaking and ambition both for himself and his children. For his offspring, he was always there—a family man extraordinaire. On other fronts he greatly admired British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain—they both wanted to avoid a devastating war—up to a point and made an impact on Hollywood as founder of RKO Pictures, absorbing in the process a distrust of Jews that affected the rest of his life. Kennedy was also a philanderer but discrete about it to the point that his wife, Rose, didn't believe the rumors. There's much else to tell, and Nasaw tells it. Reader Malcom Hillgartner mimics the Boston accent we know from the president very nicely, as well as those of many other characters, especially the British. Both success and tragedy followed Kennedy, and the text is presented in a way that listeners can feel their impact.
VERDICT With the 50th anniversary of JFK's death approaching, any related titles will be in demand. Recommended.

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