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The Patriarch Audiobook
The Patriarch
Written by: 
David Nasaw
Narrated by: 
Malcolm Hillgartner
The Patriarch Audiobook

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

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Publisher's Summary

Celebrated historian David Nasaw brings to life the story of Joseph Patrick Kennedy, in this, the first and only biography based on unrestricted and exclusive access to the Joseph P. Kennedy papers.

Joseph Patrick Kennedy - whose life spanned the First World War, the Roaring Twenties, the Great Depression, the Second World War, and the Cold War - was the patriarch of America’s greatest political dynasty. The father of President John F. Kennedy and Senators Robert and Edward Kennedy, 'Joe' Kennedy was an indomitable and elusive figure whose dreams of advancement for his nine children were matched only by his extraordinary personal ambition and shrewd financial skills. Trained as a banker, Kennedy was also a Hollywood mogul, a stock-exchange savant, a shipyard manager, the founding chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission, and ambassador to London during the Battle of Britain. Though his incredible life encompasses the very heart of the American century, Joseph Kennedy has remained shrouded in rumor and prejudice for decades.

Drawing on never-before-published material from archives on three continents, David Nasaw - the renowned biographer of Andrew Carnegie and William Randolph Hearst - unearths a man far more complicated than the popular portrait. Was Kennedy an appeaser and isolationist, an anti-Semite and Nazi sympathizer, a stock swindler, a bootlegger, and a colleague of mobsters? Did he push his second son into politics and then buy his elections for him? 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 his FBI? How did he influence his son’s politics and policies in the White House?

In this groundbreaking biography, Nasaw ignores the tired old answers surrounding Kennedy, starting from scratch to discover the truth behind this misunderstood man.

Though far from a saint, Joseph Kennedy in many ways exemplifies the best in American political, economic, and social life. His rags-to-riches story is one of exclusion and quiet discrimination overcome by entrepreneurship, ingenuity, and unshakable endurance. Kennedy’s story deserves to be told in full, with no holds barred, and Nasaw’s magnificent The Patriarch is the first book to do so.

©2012 David Nasaw (P)2012 Penguin Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.3 (348 )
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Performance
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  •  
    margot new york, NY, United States 03-18-13
    margot new york, NY, United States 03-18-13 Member Since 2011
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    "Much better than it had to be"

    I cannot complain about Nasaw's writing: he is generous and understanding. I liked Joe Kennedy going in, and he didn't suffer much on the way. Nasaw disposes of the "bootlegger" lie handily; it is too bad he had to bother with that at all. A little more on the Hollywood years would have been appreciated here, but there is only so much you can squeeze into a fat biography.

    My reservations are mainly about the narration, which does not seem to have suffered any decent editor's fine hand. The narrator does not know what he is talking about sometimes, continually pronouncing the Astors' Cliveden House as Clyve-den (it's 'Clivdin'); he also repeatedly mispronounces the name Cadogan (as in the Irish surname, the peer and the multiple placenames in London) as Ca-dough-gin when it is of course Ca-duggin. He turns Noroton, Connecticut into Norritin (rather than 'Nor-O-tin'). And so on. These are not minor quibbles. If one is going to speak of the 'Cliveden Set' many times, one should at least know how to pronounce it.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Vincent Lansdowne, PA, United States 02-19-13
    Vincent Lansdowne, PA, United States 02-19-13 Listener Since 2010
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    "Great listen"
    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Patriarch?

    For me it was probably when the family was notified of sister Kathleens death.


    What about Malcolm Hillgartner’s performance did you like?

    Everything. His changing accents for different characters was excellent.


    Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

    Probably. But for me it was better to do it a couple of chapters at a time.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Janice 02-04-13
    Janice 02-04-13 Member Since 2013
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    "Just Okay"
    Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

    It wasn't always that interesting, so some of my time was well-spent other times I just started day dreaming because it didn't hold my interest.


    Has The Patriarch turned you off from other books in this genre?

    somewhat


    Have you listened to any of Malcolm Hillgartner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No, I have not listened to him before.


    Was The Patriarch worth the listening time?

    No.


    Any additional comments?

    If there's an abridged version, go for that.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Peter United States 02-01-13
    Peter United States 02-01-13 Member Since 2012

    Professional who loves a good book. Prefer non fiction-but will take on good fiction.

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    "The man behind the myth"
    If you could sum up The Patriarch in three words, what would they be?

    great story of a man with great highs and lows in his life


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Patriarch?

    The death of Joe Jr


    Which character – as performed by Malcolm Hillgartner – was your favorite?

    The subject


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    The Man behind the myth


    Any additional comments?

    The reader was excellenT

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Noreen United States 01-31-13
    Noreen United States 01-31-13 Member Since 2015
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    "A true modern tragedy. Fascinating to listen to."
    What made the experience of listening to The Patriarch the most enjoyable?

    Understanding more about lives that are part of our common history


    Who was your favorite character and why?

    Rose.


    What about Malcolm Hillgartner’s performance did you like?

    Clear to listen to with that wonderful Boston inflection. He made the experience feel personal.


    If you were to make a film of this book, what would be the tag line be?

    A true American tragedy.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Roberta HALF MOON BAY, CA, United States 01-02-13
    Roberta HALF MOON BAY, CA, United States 01-02-13 Member Since 2015

    Sensitive critic

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    "Very well done, but a bit slow at times"

    I have always been interested in the Kennedys and found this book to be fascinating, however the author goes into so much detail that at times I found myself skipping a few parts. I'm also interested in history, so believe me, it had to be a LOT of detail to turn me off a bit.

    Otherwise extremely well done, I'd recommend it to my friends.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ryan San Francisco, CA, United States 12-20-12
    Ryan San Francisco, CA, United States 12-20-12 Member Since 2012
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    "Entertaining and well worth the listen"
    Where does The Patriarch rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

    I would rank it right near the top with Steve Jobs Biography.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Patriarch?

    The entire portion of the book related to the beginning of World War II when Joe Kennedy was Ambassador to England.


    Have you listened to any of Malcolm Hillgartner’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

    No


    Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

    Nothing extreme, but a very satisfied listening experience.


    Any additional comments?

    No

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Douglas Cohen NY, NY USA 12-15-12
    Douglas Cohen NY, NY USA 12-15-12 Member Since 2014

    newmus

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    "Unvarnished Biography and a Peek into Our History"
    Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

    Yes, because this book tells a compelling story. The truth about Joseph P. Kennedy may not be as scandalous as the myths that abound, but this honest appraisal of the man is even more engaging because we learn not only of this one person but also share his views and insights into the world of the early and middle 20th century.


    What was one of the most memorable moments of The Patriarch?

    The section dealing with Kennedy's venture into motion pictures. i would venture that very few people today appreciate Kennedy's importance as a movie mogul and how his influence was the catalyst that turned Hollywood into a modern motion picture industry.


    What about Malcolm Hillgartner’s performance did you like?

    He reads well and keeps the attention of the listener. He is excellent at changing his accent to approximate the voice of the speaker when reading quotations.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Elizabeth72 11-24-12
    Elizabeth72 11-24-12 Member Since 2013
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    "A "Must Read" for Irish Americans"

    A very well researched page-turner, with lots of fascinating details about Joseph Kennedy and the world in which he lived. I enjoyed it immensely.

    2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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