Narrated by John Bedford Lloyd
Publisher: Hachette Audio
My Thoughts: I am going to start this review by saying that politically I line up very well with Edward Kennedy and that might have influenced my thoughts on this book.
I really enjoyed this book. One of my all time favourite shows is The West Wing and for me it was fun to see the amount of incidents that were taken from reality. I also really enjoyed learning more about American politics. It made me realise how little I actually knew about the history of American politics. I actually wish that there had been more of this in the book. Much of the book is taken up with campaigning and then the big pieces of legislation or confirmations. I would have liked to have heard more about the day to day work as a Senator. I liked the behind the scenes information that someone who served in the Senate for so long could provide, because no matter how you feel about him politically there is no denying that he has served for a long time.
I know that there was some criticism about the fact that he only briefly touches on the many scandals that have peppered his life but I appreciate the fact that he feels that commenting on scandals only feed them, I actually wish that more politicians took this view. And Kennedy does make this very clear very early on. This is not a book where he apologises for what he has done, he tells what happened and that is that.
One of the things that I took with me from this book was Kennedy’s unfailing wish to do good. Although he had lived a privileged life (one he fully acknowledges) he wanted to help those less privileged, not because it was politically expedient but because it was the right thing to do. I know that not everyone feels that this is the way to go, but as I said earlier politically I agree with this. And even if you don’t agree with his political ideas I don’t think he can be criticised for his motivations.
I also enjoyed getting his opinions on the different political leaders of the modern era. To get a more personal view on the different Presidents during his time in the Senate was illuminating. Although he doesn’t always agree with the different decisions they make he does allow that they had good intentions (most of the time). Here I do have one small criticism of the book, I felt that sometimes he highlighted his own importance over that of others, but I think this is often the case when it comes to biographies, and it is somewhat tempered by the fact that he does acknowledge his own faults.
I listened to this book in audio and I am very happy with this decision. John Bedford Lloyd really brings the book to life, you almost feel as if you are sitting with Kennedy in his house in Hyannis Port, MA, listening to him tell the story. It lent a certain reality to the stories, I especially enjoyed a story about Kennedy’s mother while he is stationed in France with the Army and a pair of dancing shoes. I was sitting on a train listening to that story and I think people around me thought I was insane, I was giggling so much. Although this book is a serious book, it is also a very funny book, little anecdotes like this one are peppered throughout the book and make it an enjoyable listen/read.
Overall I really enjoyed this book and wouldn’t mind reading it in hard copy so that I can take notes. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in politics, American history and people in general.