The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

David Nasaw

Language: English

Pages: 896

ISBN: 1594203768

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

2013 Pulitzer Prize Finalist
New York Times Ten Best Books of 2012

“Riveting…The Patriarch is a book hard to put down.”  – Christopher Buckley, The New York Times Book Review

In this magisterial new work The Patriarch, the celebrated historian David Nasaw tells the full story of Joseph P. Kennedy, the founder of the twentieth century's most famous political dynasty. Nasaw—the only biographer granted unrestricted access to the Joseph P. Kennedy papers in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library—tracks Kennedy's astonishing passage from East Boston outsider to supreme Washington insider. Kennedy's seemingly limitless ambition drove his career to the pinnacles of success as a banker, World War I shipyard manager, Hollywood studio head, broker, Wall Street operator, New Deal presidential adviser, and founding chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission. His astounding fall from grace into ignominy did not come until the years leading up to and following America's entry into the Second World War, when the antiwar position he took as the first Irish American ambassador to London made him the subject of White House ire and popular distaste.

The Patriarch is a story not only of one of the twentieth century's wealthiest and most powerful Americans, but also of the family he raised and the children who completed the journey he had begun. Of the many roles Kennedy held, that of father was most dear to him. The tragedies that befell his family marked his final years with unspeakable suffering.

The Patriarch looks beyond the popularly held portrait of Kennedy to answer the many questions about his life, times, and legacy that have continued to haunt the historical record. Was Joseph P. Kennedy an appeaser and isolationist, an anti-Semite and a Nazi sympathizer, a stock swindler, a bootlegger, and a colleague of mobsters? What was the nature of his relationship with his wife, Rose? Why did he have his daughter Rosemary lobotomized? Why did he oppose the Truman Doctrine, the Marshall Plan, the Korean War, and American assistance to the French in Vietnam? What was his relationship to J. Edgar Hoover and the FBI? Did he push his second son into politics and then buy his elections for him?

In this pioneering biography, Nasaw draws on never-before-published materials from archives on three continents and interviews with Kennedy family members and friends to tell the life story of a man who participated in the major events of his times: the booms and busts, the Depression and the New Deal, two world wars and a cold war, and the birth of the New Frontier. In studying Kennedy's life, we relive with him the history of the American Century.





















twentieth century (as they had been since the founding of the first bank in Boston in 1784), tightly controlled by the scions of old-established Brahmin families, none of which had any interest in offering a decent position to an Irish Catholic from East Boston. Thirty-five years after Joe Kennedy graduated from Harvard, John Gunther visited Boston while researching Inside U.S.A. and found that not much had changed. “Only one small Boston bank is Irish-owned, and only four out of thirty directors

Stone and David Montgomery that the New York Times had five days earlier declared “far and away the biggest show of its kind . . . that has ever come to Broadway.” They spent their final honeymoon evening dining at the Biltmore, then returned to Boston and moved into their new house on Beals Street in Brookline.20 Joe had spent everything he had on the purchase of the outstanding stock in Columbia Trust the year before and was left with only $500. Unfortunately, the house he and Rose had

effect on America’s standing in Europe is the biggest lot of dribble I ever read. Unless you’re a newspaperman or a politician, the masses haven’t the slightest idea what McCarthy stands for, what he does or what’s wrong with him, and 99% never heard of him long enough to remember him.”5 — His defense of McCarthy that summer was all the more remarkable given the fact that only months before he had experienced firsthand the damage that reckless accusations posed to innocent young men. In

rich, powerful, and privileged, but in a city sharply and irremediably divided between “us” and “them,” Irish Catholics and Yankee Protestants. Kennedy discovered an entirely different social environment in Hollywood, one in which the major division was not between Irish Catholics and Anglo-Protestants, but between Christians and Jews. As an Irish Catholic studio executive in Hollywood, Kennedy was the odd man out, part of a minority so small, it was of little consequence. There were Catholics in

Kelly continued in his absence. He and Swanson talked regularly on the telephone, though that was not easy. It took several telegrams back and forth to set up each phone appointment. “Shopping today for house furnishings for Mrs. Kennedy,” Kennedy wired Swanson on April 23. “Will call tomorrow. Nothing new.”24 In early April, Swanson and the cast of Queen Kelly returned to the Pathé studio to shoot a new beginning and ending for the film. Gloria approved the script, then, after screening the

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