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True Compass: A Memoir | [Edward M. Kennedy]

True Compass: A Memoir

In this historic memoir, the late Ted Kennedy takes us inside his family, re-creating life with his parents and brothers and explaining their profound impact on him. For the first time, he describes his heartbreak and years of struggle in the wake of their deaths. Through it all, he describes his work in the Senate on the major issues of our time - civil rights, Vietnam, Watergate, the quest for peace in Northern Ireland - and the cause of his life: improved health care for all Americans
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Publisher's Summary

The youngest of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, he came of age among siblings from whom much was expected. As a young man, he played a key role in the presidential campaign of his brother John F. Kennedy, recounted here in loving detail. In 1962 he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he began a fascinating political education and became a legislator.

In this historic memoir, the late Ted Kennedy takes us inside his family, re-creating life with his parents and brothers and explaining their profound impact on him. For the first time, he describes his heartbreak and years of struggle in the wake of their deaths. Through it all, he describes his work in the Senate on the major issues of our time - civil rights, Vietnam, Watergate, the quest for peace in Northern Ireland - and the cause of his life: improved health care for all Americans, a fight influenced by his own experiences in hospitals.

His life was marked by tragedy and perseverance, a love of family, and an abiding faith. There have been controversies, too, and Kennedy addresses them with unprecedented candor.

At midlife, embattled and uncertain if he would ever fall in love again, he met the woman who changed his life, Victoria Reggie Kennedy. Facing a tough reelection campaign against an aggressive challenger named Mitt Romney, Kennedy found a new voice and began one of the great third acts in American politics, sponsoring major legislation, standing up for liberal principles, and making the pivotal endorsement of Barack Obama for president.

Hundreds of books have been written about the Kennedys. True Compass will endure as the definitive account from a member of America's most heralded family, an inspiring legacy to listeners and to history, and a deeply moving story of a life like no other.

Download the accompanying reference guide.

©2009 Edward M. Kennedy; (P)2009 Hachette Audio

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

4.2 (483 )
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  •  
    T. F. Plona Phoenix, AZ 10-16-09
    T. F. Plona Phoenix, AZ 10-16-09 Member Since 2004

    Plimtuna

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    "An interesting but skewed read"

    An interesting historical read. Starting from the late 30's to just this last Spring. Kennedy covers events from WWII to the Presidential elections of 1960, 1968, Chappaquiddick, 1972, 1976, Carter, 1980, 1992, 1996, 2000, 2004. A good insight. My only cautionary comment is that the book is exactly what it is, it is a story as told by Kennedy himself, it is quite skewed (as expected) to his view on things.

    Overall an interesting read.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lorne 04-30-14
    Lorne 04-30-14 Member Since 2009
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    "all in a life time"
    Would you consider the audio edition of True Compass to be better than the print version?

    yes i think it comes alive to hear page after page as there life unfolds in ears.


    What other book might you compare True Compass to and why?

    i don t think this can be held to compare to another


    Did the narration match the pace of the story?

    a bit slow in some places but not bad


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

    a true compass of a life time


    Any additional comments?

    this was a eye opener to see a man in a new way

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    James 08-24-13
    James 08-24-13 Member Since 2009
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    "Senator Kennedy Went Out In Style"

    I can’t say that I've ever been a huge Sen. Edward Kennedy fan, but in reading this memoir, True Compass, I was able to get a much more in-depth look behind not only the image, but also the man, Sen. Edward Kennedy.

    I followed the Kennedy clan throughout much of my adult life, so I’m very familiar with the various personalities and achievements of the Kennedy family going back nearly 100 years. Sen. Edward Kennedy was always perceived as the “rascal” of the group, who, probably because of his being the baby of the bunch, seemed to be riding on his family’s coattails for the most part.

    Kennedy does a good job of peeling back some of the “layers of the onion” and letting us get an up close and personal look at some of his own personal demons, challenges, addictions and rivalries (both political and non-political) that he dealt with sometimes “oh so publically” (the Kennedy’s had a family oath to try their best to deal with issues in private as much as possible).

    I learned so much more about him and gain a new level of respect for not only him, but his many accomplishments, especially later in his life when he spent his “political capital” on new up and comer, Barrack Obama, instead of on the Clintons (Hillary and Bill) in 2008 for the Presidential Election.

    Of course, there’s still a lot of suspicion and mystery surrounding him and the whole Chappaquiddick thing, but I guess there’s always going to be a “certain amount of intrigue with the Kennedy’s”.

    The book flows nice and easy, so even though it’s lengthy, it’s easy to comprehend and go with the flow.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Debbie Free Union, VA, United States 01-02-13
    Debbie Free Union, VA, United States 01-02-13 Member Since 2012
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    "True Compass"

    A great listen. The reader's voice almost sounds like Kennedy himself (without the accent). An interesting insight into the life of a fascinating family, and a man who made his share of mistakes and accomplished more than his share of great things.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Claudette Moberly,Missouri 12-06-12
    Claudette Moberly,Missouri 12-06-12
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    "Excellent book by Ted Kennedy"
    Would you consider the audio edition of True Compass to be better than the print version?

    I have the book, but preferred to listen to the book.


    What other book might you compare True Compass to and why?

    I have quite a few Kennedy type books.


    Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

    He kept positive and moved on to the things that were important to him until the very end.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Ann St. Louis, MO, USA 12-03-12
    Mary Ann St. Louis, MO, USA 12-03-12 Member Since 2004
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    "The Whole Is Greater Than the Sum of Its Parts"
    What did you love best about True Compass?

    Ted Kennedy gives us his recollections as best he can, striving to report his own failings while refusing to indulge in gossip. This is a hard line for a public figure to hew to and occasionally Kennedy tells us about his own decision-making process. He takes us into his life and into history. The result, to my thinking, is the revelation of a human being striving to be good. Ted Kennedy grows throughout his life. I'm the better for reading about his struggles and accomplishments.


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mary Punxsutawney, PA, USA 07-25-12
    Mary Punxsutawney, PA, USA 07-25-12 Member Since 2003
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    "Not just for Kennedy fans"
    Would you consider the audio edition of True Compass to be better than the print version?

    NA


    What was one of the most memorable moments of True Compass?

    A story he tells about his father challenging him to consider (at the age of 13 or so) whether he would live "a serious life or a non-serious life." He chose the former and never looked back. Would that people of that age (and older) receive a similar challenge today, instead of devoting themselves to sports & video games and other entertainments.


    What about John Bedford Lloyd’s performance did you like?

    At first it was a bit startling NOT to hear a "Kennedy-style" accent, as I can hardly think of the Kennedy's without it, but other than that, he did a fine job capturing the numerous voices and characters.


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

    It made me want to hurry back to it, although I'm not sure I'd want to listen to 19 hrs of anything in one sitting.


    Any additional comments?

    I had wanted to listen to this because I grew up Irish Catholic in Massachusetts and the Kennedy name has always held such power. I was especially taken with Kennedy's early life -- as he gave a "little boy's eye view" of some of the major events of the 20th century: writing to his father who was in London during the bombing, his relationships with his brothers, receiving his first communion from Pope Pius XII. Quite remarkable. While Kennedy no doubt provides a politician's "positive spin" on many things, he does come off as a man who really did care about his constituents and wanted to do what was right, at least as he interpreted it. He was a "little brother" who found himself the patriarch and sought to rise the that unexpected occasion. A fascinating read.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Ann T. O'toole 06-15-12 Member Since 2010

    no2l

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    "Memories of a Life Time ..."
    What did you love best about True Compass?

    What impressed me most were the memories that came flooding back as I listened to the retelling of his life time. I couldn't help but be impressed with "the presence of the moment", as he rewound time and I began to relive so many of the times that we had shared from our different points of view. I had often wondered what he had thought ~ about this or that ~ then. Listening, the moments returned, greeted as if familiar forgotten friends, with an unexpected, "Oh yea...", tumbling from my lips. I had forgotten, I had wondered about that. The answers to those long ago questions brought mixtures of responses all the way from ~ just what I had thought - to unexpected surprises of things I never knew, things no one but he - could have known, each with still the sweetness of spending time becoming reacquainted with a long ago friend. If you are 'of an age' to remember the times that recorded his entrance on life's stage, you are likely to share some of the same experiences, regardless of your political persuasion.And regardless of when your time-line crosses his, there are things to learn ~ about being human. About surviving disasters. While being awed by an iron-will that refuses to give up hope, that persists to become a force of nature in-and-of-itself, that is a Life Fully and Well - Lived!


    What other book might you compare True Compass to and why?

    There must be, but I can't think of one.


    Which character – as performed by John Bedford Lloyd – was your favorite?

    The reading of this book ~ served as the voice of Ted Kennedy ~ well. I felt that Ted, was grateful upon hearing it in heaven.


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

    Yes.


    Any additional comments?

    I will listen to this book again. While it renewed the loss of his passing, it also refreshed my faith in the possibility living within the human spirit, which always seemed to me, to be the message, those happy band of brothers, strove to demonstrate, to engender and to lead.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Mark W. Putnam 07-25-10 Member Since 2005

    Putnam

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    "Passionate politician"

    You get a true understanding of the wealth in which Kennedy was born which helps one to understand why he feels the upper 1/3 needs to provide for the lower 2/3's. The book gives you an understanding of how hard he worked for national health insurance and why, and how sad for him that he did not see it achieved, but probably better for the country. I can only say there must be a good reason that in his lifetime he could not obtain a national health insurance program. I am glad I read the book and think everyone, regardless of political persuasion will find it interesting.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Deb renfrew, PA, USA 05-25-10
    Deb renfrew, PA, USA 05-25-10
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    "Truly enjoyed!"

    This was a great insite into the Kennedy family. I enjoyed this book. I believe that he speaks from the heart about very personal family things. I was surprised that he speaks to the car incident out on the Cape. I felt that he was being very true ...different hearing about it from him than what was in the news. I believe that this is a wonderful read. Hope that all will enjoy as much as I have.

    1 of 2 people found this review helpful
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