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The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America | [Thurston Clarke]

The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America

With new research and previously unavailable interviews, The Last Campaign provides an intimate and absorbing historical narrative that goes right to the heart of America's deepest despairs - and most fiercely held dreams - and tells us more than we had understood before about this complicated man and the heightened dramas of his times.
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Publisher's Summary

With new research and previously unavailable interviews, The Last Campaign provides an intimate and absorbing historical narrative that goes right to the heart of America's deepest despairs - and most fiercely held dreams - and tells us more than we had understood before about this complicated man and the heightened dramas of his times.

After John F. Kennedy's assassination, Robert Kennedy - formerly Jack's no-holds-barred political warrior - almost lost hope. He was haunted by his brother's murder, and by the nation's seeming inabilities to solve its problems of race, poverty, and the war in Vietnam. Bobby sensed the country's pain, and when he announced that he was running for president, the country united behind his hopes. Over the action-packed 82 days of his campaign, Americans were inspired by Kennedy's promise to lead them toward a better time. And after an assassin's bullet stopped this last great stirring public figure of the 1960s, crowds lined up along the country's railroad tracks to say goodbye to Bobby.

Clarke's The Last Campaign is the definitive account of Robert Kennedy's exhilarating and tragic 1968 campaign for president - and a revelatory history that is especially resonant now.

©2008 Thurston Clarke; (P)2008 HighBridge Company

What the Critics Say

"The Last Campaign is a great read....Thurston Clarke's keen eye for the telling detail and his fast-paced narrative make the The Last Campaign a must-have for any student of American politics." (Tom Brokaw)
"This is a book worthy of the man and that moment, an honorable and unforgettable piece of work. The Last Campaign should be required reading for anyone seeking public office, and for the rest of us, too." (Joel Klein, author of Primary Colors)

What Members Say

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  •  
    D. Littman OH 06-13-08
    D. Littman OH 06-13-08 Member Since 2003

    history buff

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "not good political history"

    Robert Kennedy would have been a great president, certainly far better than the man who won in 1968, perhaps better than his Democrat competitor Hubert Humphrey. But Robert Kennedy was not a saint.

    This book was disappointing, by no fault of Audible. The author had terrific source material, much of it primary and not available elsewhere -- many many interviews, unpublished memoirs, journalistic collections -- but he did not make good use of this material He could have told a story that was descriptive and analytic. But he tells a story that is fawning and descriptive. Whenever he encounters an anecdote, a personality quirk, a campaign strategy question, a public speaking attribution, that might reflect badly on RFK, he finds an excuse to turn bad to good, or finds someone else to blame. This made me angrier and angrier, since I had such high hopes for the book

    The author also subscribes the the "great man theory" of history, arguing that the entire history of the United States, even the world, would have gone off on another track had RFK survived and been elected. I have no doubt that things would have been better, far better, with RFK than with LBJ or Nixon, but another track? Too much.

    Sorry Audible. I would have liked to have given this a good review. The narrator is excellent. The sound quality is excellent.

    13 of 15 people found this review helpful
  •  
    curtis Tucson, AZ, United States 09-17-09
    curtis Tucson, AZ, United States 09-17-09 Member Since 2009
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    "Very compelling and inspiring story"

    I thoroughly enjoyed this audiobook. The sound quality and the narraitor were excellent. This was an intimate, up close look at a unique canidate and campaign during troubled times. I've read the other reviewers complaints that the author was biased and romanticized RFK's campaign. This may be the case but I can recall a few points when the author makes objective points that aren't flattering for RFK. Bottom line, if you're interested in history, politics, the Kennedys, or RFK you'll love this book. There is a wealth of interesting information and campaign stories that wont disappoint.

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Craig Williamsport, MD, United States 02-10-09
    Craig Williamsport, MD, United States 02-10-09 Member Since 2007
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    "It was more than Indiana, more than South Dakota"

    Thurston Clarke has written a panoramic history of a few days in 1968. The world changed in 1968, but not for the better with the loss of Bobby Kennedy. The thrill of the campaign becomes more exciting with the backdrop of all the other major events of that year. Clarke transports us to Bobby's inner circle where we are privy to the grand swells and the meaningless minutiae of Bobby's death defying run for the Democratic nomination. Death defying because everyone - even Bobby - believed that Bobby's death was the inevitable end of the campaign. We experience Bobby's rapid evolution into a peoples candidate - even of people who eventually "had to" vote for Wallace instead of Bobby.

    We sit in the car with Bobby when he is accosted by Ernesto Jaurez who says, "Remember my name." We hold our breathe when Bobby throws all caution to the wind and does two things on that final evening in L.A. that he would never ever do any other time during the campaign.

    Clarke has written a history which resounds with the era and the man. It's a great and bittersweet listen.

    2 of 2 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Connie Omaha, NE, United States 10-20-09
    Connie Omaha, NE, United States 10-20-09 Member Since 2007
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    "Very Well Done!"

    This book provides an insight to REK without idolizing him. He is portrayed as a leader who struggled as we all do and was stolen from us too early. It also provides excellent insight into concepts of the times.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    R.S. Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada 03-29-11
    R.S. Saint-Laurent, Quebec, Canada 03-29-11 Member Since 2004
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    "it is what it is"

    Details of Robert Kennedy's presidential campaign were enlightening, surprising and often moving. At times one wishes that today's political leaders would listen to this book and take to heart the ideas and stated priorities of Robert Kennedy as conveyed through the speeches here presented.


    One cannot avoid thinking, "what if." What if RFK had not been gunned down? How different the United States and its place in the world might be today. Would the US have converted its economy to peaceful production and help the world avoid the waste and destruction of preventable wars and arms proliferation? Would his administration have effectively addressed poverty and racism? Would he have blazed a new path? Would his example establish a new model for political engagement? The author doesn't pretend to know what is unknowable, but the listener/reader is left with much to think about.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Teresa Indianapolis, IN, United States 03-26-11
    Teresa Indianapolis, IN, United States 03-26-11 Member Since 2007

    As a person with dyslexia, audio books give me the opportunity to "read" wonderful books that I would otherwise miss. Thank you for this fabulous service.

    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "A Very Personal Story"

    Listening to this, I'm not sure how objective the author was. I felt that he had been captivated by the legend of Senator Kennedy. This made it all the more interesting for me. As a 16-year-old student at a Catholic girls school, I worked as a volunteer at Kennedy's campaign headquarters in Indianapolis. I, too, was captivated. When I listened to stories of the senator in a motorcade slowing down to shake hands with bystanders, I remember standing along a street where I knew his car was going to pass on it's way to a speech. My friends and I hoped to get a glimpse of him. Instead, the car stopped and he shook hands with each of us. We were obviously not old enough to vote. We felt very special.

    As a 16-year-old, I assumed that everyone was as excited about the senator as I was. Listening to this book has opened my eyes to the bigotry and closed-mindedness that he encountered in Indiana during that campaign. Now I understand why my mother warned me that not everyone might be interested in my campaign literature when I went out knocking on doors.

    There was no 24-hour television then. I stayed up until the stations went off the air waiting to hear the final California primary election results. They were still counting ballots when I went to bed. My mother woke me the next morning with the news that the senator had been killed. I couldn't believe it. Listening to this book brought all that back. It made me even more grateful for the experience that I had.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Chapel Hill, NC, United States 09-08-09
    Thomas Chapel Hill, NC, United States 09-08-09 Member Since 2006
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    "awful"

    i have reviewed probably 20+ books from audible, mostly history, and never given below 3.5 stars. This is awful.
    The narration and audio quality is outstanding. The content is ridiculous.
    It starts wth a 30 min paene to how the world would be perfect if Robert had not been shot. OK, i thought once the actual history starts, this won't be so bad. It gets worse.
    Every action RFK makes is an inspired act of selflessness that has never been accomplished again. Meanwhile his opponents continuously act of our selfish motives, without the people in mind.
    this is not a work of history. There are very very few facts. All that is here is and endless stream of quotes from people who praised RFK as the most inspirational, charismatic, caring, selfless politician, one which we will never see the likes of again.
    furthermore, you could easily fall asleep for an hour listening to this, and not miss a thing. It is one repetition of the same mantra after another.
    I was sorely disappointed..i thought this was really going to be a great book about someone i knew little aabout. I learned nothing, becuase any objective person will realize how biased, slanted, and one-sided this is.
    One of the worse books i have ever read, and certainly the worst I have listened to. I cannot imagine how this got so many start by other reviewers.

    1 of 4 people found this review helpful
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