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The Bridge at Chappaquiddick

Narrated by: Kevin Sidenstricker
Length: 9 hrs and 23 mins
Categories: History, 20th Century
3.5 out of 5 stars (75 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

And on its surface, the Chappaquiddick Incident (as it has infamously become known) was a simple but tragic traffic accident. However, its political fallout caused it to become the most speculated-upon car accident until Princess Diana's fatal ride, some 28 years later: Was Kennedy drunk? Was he trying to conceal an affair by deliberately killing Kopechne? Why did he wait for so long before reporting the accident? And who else was involved?

Olsen tells the tale with as much detail as was made available to him. Though there is apparently only a single living eye-witness to the accident (Kennedy himself, who described having the "sensation of drowning" on live television a week later), Olsen tracks down the incongruous statements made by others who were indirectly involved and comes to a potential conclusion which would be difficult to refute. There is no legal evidence of this conclusion, of course, but his alternate explanation of events turns much of the circumstantial evidence into a logic-of-sorts. And his presentation thereof causes one to reflect seriously on the nature of the official record of events as told through Kennedy's lips.

©2014 Jack Olsen (P)2015 Gregg Olsen

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Ray
  • West Deptford, NJ, United States
  • 08-14-15

BRIDGE TO POSSIBLE UNDERSTANDING

I found this book to be much more engaging than did some reviewers. I had lived during the Chappaquiddick bridge incident. As I listened to Jack Olsen's account, I learned new details and was reminded of facts I had forgotten. I found the narrative engaging and easy to understand. I feel that the book is well balanced and well researched. I especially liked the conjecture (at the end) of the author as to the truth of what had happened. His speculation makes great sense, however since the death of Ted Kennedy, it is unlikely to be acknowledged, even if true.

8 of 8 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Interesting Take on an Old Mystery

Jack Olsen examines the circumstances surrounding the incident that undoubtedly ended Ted Kennedy's run for the White House just as he was putting on his track shoes.
Olsen provides thoughtful, reasonable speculation on the events that led to the drowning death of Mary Jo Kopechne, suggesting an explanation that is far less salacious than any of the wild theories that abounded at the time.
The narrator's frequent mispronunciation of ordinary words such as "similar", (not "simular") is a sizeable distraction. And leave the accent to the natives.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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Ignore the negative reviews....

of "Bor-ing!" and that the book is largely speculation. It certainly is NOT boring. It is just that many readers now need a mutilated female corpse doused in body fluids to be entertained by true crime. You won't get that with Olsen. What you will get is thoughtful investigation and insight. And as to speculation: what else can one do in this case? But there is empty speculation, and there is speculation that might led to a break in a case. Olsen's is the latter sort. Give this book a chance, and disengage your need for gore, and you will discover a new take on an old murder.

13 of 18 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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Boring

Had to force myself to listen to it because I had bought it. Didn’t finish it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Chappaquidick

The story is well known. Thought there'd be new information about what really happened. Disappointed.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    2 out of 5 stars
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Narration Kills It For Me

I'm halfway through this book and while I LOVE Jack Olsen's work (I've listened to many of his previous books) this narrator makes it tough to like this one. His narration is choppy so much that I can tell when he paused mid sentence and came back later due to the quality and his tone of voice. It's hard to describe but once he did it with a word. For instance take the words "coffee cup". When this narrator says it it would sound like, "coffee (pause) CUP!"

Another time he raised the inflection of his voice for a word like he wasn't finished speaking but it was the last word in the sentence. That threw me off for a second. Kind of like he read the sentence and thought there was another word after it but had to edit it out at that second word so the first one sounded like it wasn't the final word.

The narrator does have a sing-song way of reading that is appropriate for some areas of this book but confusing in other areas. The narrator isn't the worst I've listened to but he's far from the best. I wish they would've paid Kevin Pierce to narrate this one, he's done many of Jack's books and he's by far the BEST narrator on earth.

The content of the book seems rather dry but I can't tell if it's because I keep zoning out with this guy's narration or if the writing (Sorry Jack Olsen's estate!) is lacking - which would be a first with my experience with Jack Olsen stories.

Overall, I'm slowly making my way through this book. I'm already familiar with the basic details of this case but I'm determined to listen all the way through. Wish me luck!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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  • Sharon
  • United States
  • 04-22-16

meh...

Finished the book simply because I had nothing better to do. Story and narrator leave something to be desired.

2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Carol
  • Belle river, ON, Canada
  • 01-06-17

Not a true crime book

This book, though a crime that went unpunished isn't written or told as a crime book. you'll learn quite a bit about Martha Vineyard you'll learn about the Kennedy boys and how they love to party and how people felt about them but very little is told about the True Crime very disappointed in this book I shall return it.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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Not Olsen's Best Work

I've read several of Olsen's books and have greatly enjoyed them. This one was a big disappointment.

I didn't know a ton about the incident before reading, just a high-level overview of what happened. The setup and background before getting to the incident were extremely long (a couple hours plus, if I recall correctly). Even once the incident occurred, it never did become the gripping story I was expecting. A lot of it was pretty boring and I nearly turned it back in for a refund multiple times. I wanted to finish it, though, because I was sure Olsen would redeem himself somehow. He didn't.

Nothing new was really presented or new angle raised. It mainly read like a history of the Kennedys and the political/legal maneuvering that surrounded the incident. I was left with many unanswered questions about the incident itself, as well as the question of what the author's intent was when writing the book.

One of the few interesting parts was the last one, where various questions were raised about the official version of events. I would've liked to know more about this and have more in-depth answers given. It was treated almost as an afterthought. One really intriguing possibility was raised about what might have happened that night, but it is given a brief mention and never touched upon again.

Overall, I would not recommend. Also, the narrator has an odd way of pausing in unusual places at times or speaking with an odd cadence that was often really off-putting.

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  • L.
  • STEUBENVILLE, OH, United States
  • 05-17-18

Not Jack Olsen's Best

I'm not sure I learned anything new from this book, it was pretty much a repeat of what I knew. The beginning of the book is a very flattering profile of Ted Kennedy. The end seems to try very hard to make the party that Mary Jo Kopechne attended before her death as just a pleasant and innocent party with a group of married men without their wives and with their unmarried colleagues.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark Lynch
  • 10-26-17

Interesting theory on the Chappaquiddick incident

This is an enjoyable book that puts forward an interesting and plausible theory on what really happened the night of Ted Kennedy's fatal Chappaquiddick car accident. That said its very generous towards the Senator and the very inept Police investigation that followed. Because of this lack of a proper investigation (not even a post mortem on the poor victim) the truth of what really happened that night will forever be unknown. The tiny local one man and his dog police department never really stood a chance once the Democratic party political machine in Massachusetts got into full swing and full cover up mode. Did the Senator in a panicked attempt to avoid a political sexual scandal inadvertently put himself behind the wheel of a car involved in a fatal accident? The author offers an interesting theory but omits much of the really negative background noise. Although Ted Kennedy's court trial is covered the inquest hearing is omitted. All said this was still an enjoyable book.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful