True Compass – Edward M. Kennedy


True Compass 

Hardcover: 532 pages
Publisher: Twelve (September 14, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446539252
ISBN-13: 978-0446539258 
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 Edward MooreTedKennedy (February 22, 1932 – August 25, 2009) was probably the last of what came closest to an American Royal family.  I wasn’t always fond of him, especially in my younger days.  However, I came to respect him and all he and his family has done.  They were strong supporters of rights for the disabled, civil rights for African Americans, and proponents of healthcare for all citizens.

This book details his 77 years of life.  He fills it with many memorable anecdotes.  Some that come to mind immediately are the tales of when he almost had his arm eaten by a zebra, and when his mother sent him a letter (while he was an adult) admonishing for using the word “ass” in his writing.   I enjoyed these tales, they helped make him seem more of normal person, than just the politician seen in the public.

There was also much tragedy in his life.  The death of his brother Joe Jr, The Assassination of John and Robert, the death of his sister in a plane crash.  One poignant story is that of his young son losing his leg to cancer.  Another tale is of his surviving a plane crash in 1964.  This crash exposed him to what was to become his banner fight for the next 45 years, that of healthcare.  He details his fight for healthcare, stories of the different president’s he’s served under, his views on Vietnam and how they changed. 

While I thoroughly enjoyed this book, there were some weaknesses I thought.  One was in the story of Chappaquiddick.  Senator Kennedy given the opportunity to tell everything that happened, summed it up in 2 or 3 pages.  While he truly seemed regretful, I’d like to have known more details.  Although I did find out some new information I didn’t know before.  

The book itself is nice, with deckle edging.  That’s a new term I found out about.  It involves a rough edging on the sides of the pages so they resemble handcut paper.   I’d recommend this for any Kennedy fans, or for those who want an insider’s view of history through the last 70+ years.  I really enjoyed it, and I think you probably will too.

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