When you want to learn about sexy modern history, there’s no better place to start than Kennedy history. Since Joe Sr. came on the scene in the 1930s, this group of powerful, charismatic, and sometimes dishonest all-Americans has been the talk of our news and movies. The movie Chappaquiddick, which came out in 2018, retells one of the most well-known Kennedy stories. In 1969, Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge, fled the scene, and left Mary Jo Kopechne inside. Conspiracists went crazy: Why did Ted not call the police for so long? No, he was sober. Was Kopechne killed when she hit the ground or drowned? Or did Ted’s selfishness cause her death? The movie is trying to get to the truth and give a clear story of the event that ruined Ted’s plans to become president. This is what the movie is trying to do.
To be fair, there are still plenty of John F. Kennedy scandals to go through. There are also a lot of accomplishments and tragedies, too. It didn’t matter what they did or how clever they were. They were a family that worked for change and had a big impact on the country we know today. Below, you’ll find a list of books about the Kennedys that look at their high-profile careers, interesting personal lives, most famous mistakes, and more. Even if you don’t like the royal family in the United States, you have to admit that they’re always the center of a good story.
The Kennedy Imprisonment By Garry Wills
Gary Wills, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, studies the entire Kennedy family to find out how they came to be so powerful and how they keep it. When the patriarch points a finger at the man, he says Joseph was the first person to manipulate facts and stories to meet his own needs. When JFK was in the Navy, he told stories about how brave he was. When Ted was drunk, he hid his drunken antics. Tracking decades of corruption, The Kennedy Imprisonment paints an interesting but harsh picture of the American royal family.
The Unfinished Odyssey of Robert Kennedy By David Halberstam
During the 1960s, Bobby Kennedy seemed like the perfect candidate to fight the war and help minorities who were struggling. During the California primary in 1968, Bobby had just won. He was shot by Sirhan Sirhan on June 5, 1968, and that dream came to an end. Despite the fact that Bobby never sat in the Oval Office chair, David Halberstam’s book, which chronicles his journey from U.S. attorney general to campaign manager to New York senator, is a great way to learn about him. It’s been called “the best book” on the subject by the New York Times. It’s a look at a man who wanted a better future for his country, but whose own future was tragically taken away by the war.
Conversations with Kennedy By Benjamin C. Bradlee
Benjamin C. Bradlee was John F. Kennedy’s right-hand man from 1958 to 1963, and he was a trusted confidant and a presidential tour partner. His New York Times bestseller gives us a glimpse into their five-year relationship, from casual weekend get-togethers to serious political talks. It also shows a new side of Kennedy, the people’s president: Kennedy, the caring friend.
Kennedy and Roosevelt By Michael Beschloss
During the time he worked with Franklin Roosevelt, Joseph Kennedy was still as green as grass. Despite the fact that Roosevelt was well-known and Kennedy was just starting out, their partnership worked well. But they didn’t always get along. They disagreed about how much of a role the United States should play in the Second World War, and an infamous “pants-dropping incident” shows that there was some animosity and distrust. There are many things that Michael Beschloss looks at in his book, like these contrasts and more. He shows how a bond between two powerful, ambitious men works inside.
Last Lion: The Rise and Fall of Ted Kennedy By Peter S. Canellos
Ted Kennedy is the youngest member of the Kennedy family, but he may also be the most well-known because of the 1969 Chappaquiddick accident. And yet, after years of misbehavior and professional failures, in late adulthood, there was a big, 180-degree change. Last Lion tells the story of how a disgraced party boy and politician turned into a wise, progressive spokesman. In the end, the book is an eye-opening look at Ted’s flaws but doesn’t forget about his achievements.
The Kennedy Wives By Amber Hunt & David Batcher
The Kennedy women were just as interesting as the men in their lives, and Amber Hunt’s New York Times bestseller proves it. In this book, Hunt reveals the inner struggles and successes of Rose, Jackie, Ethel, Joan, and Vicki. He looks at their lives in many ways, from their marriages to their jobs. People were always watching these women, so they took their hardships on the cuff and didn’t let them get them down. They kept their heads up.
The Nine of Us: Growing Up Kennedy By Jean Kennedy Smith
When we can’t live inside the Kennedy home, maybe The Nine of Us is the next best thing. By Jean Kennedy Smith, the only one of her eight siblings left alive. It is a heartfelt memoir about growing up with her precocious siblings and parents. Rosa and Joe Kennedy taught their kids to be ready for the world stage by having debates at mealtime and having thought-provoking discussions. These kinds of stories are all over the book, and they’re all accompanied by personal photos. They show a side of the great American family that you can’t get anywhere else.
Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter By Kate Clifford Larson
A lot of stories have been told about the Kennedy kids for years, except for one. Until this book came out in 2015, Rosemary didn’t get the attention that her other siblings did. It didn’t matter how well she did in school or how much money JFK or Bobby had. She had mental problems that kept her from having a normal childhood like theirs. In shame and ignorance, Joe Kennedy had her lobotomies done in secret. This left her unable to work for the rest of her life. The long-hidden deception comes out of the dark when Rosemary does this. It shines a light on this amazing woman for the very first time.
Kick Kennedy By Barbara Learning
Kathleen Kennedy, like her brothers, died at a young age, but that’s not the whole “Kick” story. In a time of great uncertainty that was filled with love and sex, she was magnetic and daring. She came of age at a time when the world was bracing itself for another global war. When Kick found love and lost it, he found love again in 1948 and paid an unfair price. Described as “extraordinary” by Wall Street Journal author Barbara Leaming, the book is about a woman who brought her family joy and still had so much more to give.
Come to the Edge By Christina Haag
Christina Haag was just a little girl when she met JFK Jr., who was also just a prep school boy in her group of friends. Years later, the two would meet again after college, and they’d become long-term lovers. Haag talks about their five-year relationship in her New York Times best-selling memoir. She gives a unique perspective that avoids tabloid-style stories in favor of “tender, aching memories” (Los Angeles Times).