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Publisher's Summary

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist examines the life and times of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, arguing she left behind the Kennedy family's most profound political legacy.

While Joe Kennedy was grooming his sons for the White House and the Senate, his Stanford-educated daughter Eunice was tapping her father's fortune and her brothers' political power to engineer one of the great civil rights movements of our time on behalf of millions of children and adults with intellectual disabilities. Now, in Eunice, Pulitzer Prize winner Eileen McNamara finally brings Eunice Kennedy Shriver out from her brothers' shadow to show an officious, cigar-smoking, indefatigable woman of unladylike determination and deep compassion born of rage: at the medical establishment that had no answers for her sister Rosemary, at the revered but dismissive father whose vision for his family did not extend beyond his sons, and at the government that failed to deliver on America's promise of equality.

Granted access to never-before-seen private papers - from the scrapbooks Eunice kept as a schoolgirl in prewar London to her thoughts on motherhood and feminism - McNamara paints a vivid portrait of a woman both ahead of her time and out of step with it: the visionary founder of the Special Olympics, a devout Catholic in a secular age, and a formidable woman whose impact on American society was longer lasting than that of any of the Kennedy men.

©2018 Eileen McNamara (P)2018 Simon & Schuster

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Annoying Narrator

Narrator reads this as if she's reading just the words and not sentences. She frequently hesitates and pauses mid-sentence. In some sentences, the meaning of what was written actually changes. This is annoying, but fortunately the story is interesting enough that I am putting up with it, though don't know if I can listen for the full 15 hours.

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Eunice is a powerhouse!

The most influential, dynamic and diligent Kennedy was Eunice. She was a mover and a shaker; she made it all happen. Her feisty spirit, her tireless crusading and her complex relationships are inspirational and empowering. I held onto this book in my wish list for far too long and I should have listened to it the day it was released.

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Remarkable woman of her time, but a slow listen.

The story of Eunice Kennedy is a compelling one. But the narrator and the story dragged at times.

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Outstanding Biography

Eunice Kennedy Shriver was a brilliant, ambitious, compassionate woman who was ahead of her time. She never stopped trying to improve the lives of children who are born with extra challenges--and to show that when some of us do better, we all do better. Within my own family, we have children with special needs who continue to benefit from Eunice's work!

The book is extremely well written. I listened to the audible book at 1.25 speed and found the reader to be excellent.