True Compass by Edward M. Kennedy

Oct 27, 2010

True Compass by Edward M. KennedyAfter reading many news stories through the years about Ted Kennedy and his family, I looked forward to the release of his memoir. In the media, Ted Kennedy was often portrayed as a stereotypical, hard-drinking, womanizing politician. His father was portrayed as a philanderer, a power-hungry man who pushed his sons into politics and who was willing to play dirty in business and politics. True Compass provides insight into the man who maintained a fair degree of privacy while living in the public eye. In his memoir, he reveals himself to be a family man. As the youngest of the nine children in his wealthy, Irish-Catholic family, he had a special connection with his parents. He admired and respected them. When making important decisions, he turned to his father for advice. He maintained strong ties with his siblings, even in their adult years. And he nurtured close bonds with his children and grandchildren; and the children of his assassinated brothers.
Ted Kennedy talks about how he loved being a politician and living in close proximity to political power and major events in American history. While serving as a United States senator for almost 50 years, he persevered in furthering causes, such as civil rights and universal health care, about which he felt deeply.
Throughout the book, Kennedy writes of his strong connection with the sea and his love of sailing.
He suffered many losses in his life - the death of his brother and his sister in the 1940s, the assassinations of his brother, President John F. Kennedy; the shooting of his brother, Robert, while campaigning for the U.S. Presidency. In this memoir, Kennedy shares how he dealt with (and sometimes avoided dealing with) the grief over these and other losses.
All in all, Ted Kennedy comes across as a man who worked hard on behalf of the causes about which he felt deeply, who was aware of his flaws and felt deep remorse over the events surrounding the Chappaquiddick incident, who lived life fully and compassionately, and who achieved great things.

Reviewed by Marty J.
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