Joe Kennedy, a single-minded capitalist, made big money in booming Wall Street, Hollywood movies, corporate reorganizations, liquor distribution, and New York and Chicago real estate speculation. An early New Dealer who helped elect Franklin D. Roosevelt and dreamed of becoming the first Catholic President, he supported appeasement of Hitler and failed as FDR's pre-World War II Ambassador to London. That seemed to end his dream.
But the ruthless, iron-willed Kennedy rebounded. He shifted his ambitions to his sons and used his showman's savvy to found an image-centered political dynasty, translating wealth into unprecedented power...until tragedy intervened. Jack and Bobby were both assassinated.
Whalen's enduring classic of investigative scholarship was the first book to portray the Kennedys as real people, "warts and all". Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the fair, balanced, and fearless Founding Father is the starting point of the fascinating Kennedy family saga.
© Richard Whalen; (P)2005 Whalen Consulting Group
"An exemplary biography....Mr. Whalen paces the story well, conveying the strengths and weaknesses of this remarkable person with judiciousness." (The New Yorker)
"In The Founding Father, Richard J. Whalen, a first-rate journalist, presents the product of two years' research, a detailed, lively account illuminating many of the obscure aspects of Kennedy's career, especially his wide-ranging business operations. Yet this fine biography forces the reader to decide for himself what manner of man Kennedy really has been." (The New York Times Book Review)
This is a great bio of an amazing individual (whatever one might make of him) and a great business history. The audacity of the man, his ability to spring into whole new areas in the economy, one after another, and quickly grasp and dominate the field, leaves my jaw slack. This works well as a story too, with enough color and detail and new characters appearing, to keep me entertained (between the more finance-techie audios I generally listen to). I can forgive the narration, actually finding it a bit different and quaint, in an alright way, as an archaic Eastern-accented-older guy (the author) paces through his story. If you have the attention span for a book on this big and sweeping of a canvas, perhaps you have the time and temperament for this narration style. The sample displays the writing, style and narration well.
Having recently listened to Robert Caro's latest volume on Lyndon Johnson, this biography suffers from being even longer. Though extremely interesting, the author's narration slows the book down almost painfully, expecially in his insistance on saying "quote"- "end quote" before and after every single utterance. Totally unnecessary. A professional actor would not even feel the need to do this.
I was so surprised when a person I really respect said this was one of the top book he had ever read because I thought Joe Kennedy was "just a rum runner." Not so. He was a 2nd generation American who thoughtfully planned and implemented his life. Lots to learn from his business story.
The author read the book, be sure to utilize the faster narration speed of audible because he is a slow talker.
I am more likely to read it, its a fine book, but the reading is weak, and if you're used to a great narrator, then this will drive you nuts. The author reads his own book, and you can hear pages turn and saliva build up in his mouth as he reads, he also doesn't pace his breathing well. There are reasons that authors hire readers to read their audiobooks for them, and this one should have.
Any history book, its somewhat dry and only interesting if you already find this topic (the history of Boston, the Irish and politics) interesting.
Hire a professional reader
Irish Royalty in America
How has joe's reach not be more visible to people like myself. It was like Forrest Gump, he touched nations history from the shadows and we never saw his fingerprints. He was near achieving greatness that would exceed Jack's until he was ruined by his desperate fear of war that could take his sons from him. His influence over pres./pm /wallstreet/ newspaper barons ,even parliment is hard to believe
Report Inappropriate Content
If you find this review inappropriate and think it should be removed from our site, let us know. This report will be reviewed by Audible and we will take appropriate action.