Reading this book has been both a startling and revelatory experience. For close to 80 years, the Kennedy Family -- with President John F. Kennedy representing the apogee --- has cast a dazzling light on the U.S. (and the world, by extension). From the time the first Kennedy (Patrick Kennedy) arrived in Boston from famine-stricken Ireland with his wife Bridget in 1849, the Kennedys have been strivers, gamblers, and at times reckless in their pursuit of economic and political power. Being Irish and Catholic placed many obstacles across their path in a society that denigrated and marginalized both minority groups.
This book takes a look at the lives of a number of the Kennedys (and President Kennedy's grandfather, John F. "Honey Fitz" Fitzgerald, who was a power in Massachusetts politics in the early 1900s) across time. What is remarkable is how resilient the Kennedys have been in view of the many tragedies it has suffered. The author has done considerable research, as the listing of interviews and bibliographic information at the back of the book will attest. Here the reader will see how a family dynasty, which has achieved much that is good and positive in public service and politics, inspiring many, has, nevertheless, like Icarus, flown sometimes too close to the sun, and fell into the abyss. Hence, the Kennedy Curse. I highly recommend this book to any reader with a keen interest in history as shaped by personality.