American history, biographies, book reviews, David Nasaw, Joseph P Kennedy, Joseph P Kennedy Sr, Pulitzer Prize nominee
The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy
by David Nasaw
Published: November 2012
David Nasaw’s “The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy” was published in 2012 and was a Pulitzer Prize nominee in 2013. Nasaw is an author and a professor of American history at City University of New York. Among his most widely-read books are biographies of William Randolph Hearst and Andrew Carnegie (a 2007 Pulitzer Prize nominee).
Nasaw began this authorized biography after Kennedy’s two youngest children (Jean and Edward) approached him to assess his interest in the project. Once he was assured unrestricted access to Kennedy’s papers and complete editorial control he spent six years researching his subject’s life – documenting his personal and professional lives and investigating a variety of alleged misdeeds.
It is unusual for a biography to captivate me with increasing intensity as it progresses – particularly a lengthy one covering someone with whom I am already quite familiar…
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Gary Schantz said:
I rather enjoyed this book more than reading about either JFK or RFK. Without Joe Sr.’s ambition, none of his sons (or daughters for that matter) would have ever attained the success that they would have.
Ironically, it was a few of the JFK bios I read where I enjoyed the coverage of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. so much it almost overshadowed JFK. But I agree entirely that without his drive and ambition (though I don’t know whether it was genetics or the home environment) JFK’s and RFK’s lives would have turned out much differently.