The Last Brother, Joe McGinniss
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The Last Brother

Author: Joe McGinniss

Narrator: Cotter Smith

Abridged: 5 hr 25 min

Format: Digital Audiobook Download

Published: 08/26/2008

Category: True Crime


From Publishers Weekly McGinniss's biography of Edward M. Kennedy is a salacious read containing the things that make a bestseller: sex, incest, money, politics, power, compelling personalities. The problem, though, is, can you believe McGinniss? Although the bibliography lists 73 titles, there is not one footnote. There are juicy tidbits about members of the family. Joseph Kennedy progresses from a WW I draft dodger to U.S. Ambassador to the Court of St. James. He beds innumerable women, manipulates the stock market, becomes a Nazi sympathizer and anti-Semite. Rose is portrayed as the ultimate holder of Irish grudges: when her husband had his stroke she delayed calling a doctor while she played golf. A devout Catholic, she was actually happy about Joe's affairs because then she didn't have to sleep with him. Retarded Rosemary was lobotomized because she was considered a less-than-perfect Kennedy. There are dark hints that Joseph may have had an incestuous relationship with her. Sexual innuendo is rampant throughout the book. When McGinniss finally gets around to concentrating on Ted, we are given a picture of a lonely boy raised by servants. The first crisis of his life comes when he is expelled from Harvard for cheating. His father was furious, but only because Ted got caught. We see Ted as an ineffective campaign manager for JFK in 1960 and we see him being forced by his father to run for JFK's former Senate seat in 1962. In 1968 after RFK's assassination, Ted turned "reflexively, to women, alcohol and other drugs." The book ends with the Chappaquiddick tragedy in 1969 and the questions raised by Ted's alibi. Thus the biography misses Ted's presidential campaign in 1980 and the events surrounding the rape charges against his nephew William Smith in 1991. Employing journalistic histrionics and amateur psychology in his attempts to find what makes this family and this one man obsessed with winning at all costs, McGinniss concludes that the Kennedys are all-American frauds. The reader will wonder if McGinniss isn't one also. First serial to Vanity Fair; Literary Guild and Doubleday Book Club Super Releases; Reader's Digest Condensed Book selection; NBC miniseries; author tour. Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.