Tag Archives: Ted Kennedy

Rosemary is a Horrific Kennedy Tale

If you already don’t like the history of the wealthy Kennedy family, this book will likely take you over the top.

Kate Clifford Lawson published a book entitled Rosemary:  The Hidden Kennedy Daughter Kate Clifford Lawson Picture(Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015), which exposes information that is not well known to casual followers of the clan.  (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2015), which exposes information that is not well known to casual followers of the clan.

Lawson received her doctorate in History from the University of New Hampshire.  Her first book was a biography of Harriet Tubman, Bound for the Promised Land , published in 2003.  Next was The Assassin’s Accomplice, about Mary Surratt and her role in the assassination of President Lincoln, published in 2008.

RosemaryFuneralPictureProblems for Rose Marie “Rosemary” Kennedy began when her mother was forced to delay her birth, as a nurse, waiting on a doctor to arrive, forced her to remain in the birth canal for two hours, resulting in a loss of oxygen.  She was born on September 13, 1918, and was the first daughter born to Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., and Rose Fitzgerald.  Rosemary was the eldest sister of the three Kennedy brothers, John, Robert, and Ted.  This is her last-known picture, before her death on January 7, 2005.

You get the feeling throughout the book that she was an embarrassment to the Kennedy family.  While she was RosemaryBookCoverbeautiful, she was not nearly as talented in school and sports as her siblings.  The cause was a mental disability, for which her father authorized a prefrontal lobotomy for her at age 23.  The procedure was a failure, and she was permanently incapacitated. She spent the rest of her life in an institution in Jefferson, Wisconsin, with minimal contact from her family. Her condition is believed to have inspired her sister, Eunice Kennedy Shriver, to start the Special Olympics.

As an example of the likely embarrassment she represented, the book discusses the way that Rosemary’s existence was hardly acknowledged during JFK’s 1960 campaign to the White House, even though he stated that conditions such as hers should be brought out into the open.

The book is  not the only work that has addressed Rosemary.  Yet, it is well-researched and documented, and perhaps it will inspire other writers to research even more about her.

Do We Really Want to be Reminded?

A new book that has received recent critical acclaim is former President Jimmy Carter’s White House Diary (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010).

You can read this description on Amazon.com:  “Each day during his presidency, Jimmy Carter made several entries in a private diary, recording his thoughts, impressions, delights, and frustrations. He offered unvarnished assessments of cabinet members, congressmen, and foreign leaders; he narrated the progress of secret negotiations such as those that led to the Camp David Accords. When his four-year term came to an end in early 1981, the diary amounted to more than five thousand pages. But this extraordinary document has never been made public—until now…..By carefully selecting the most illuminating and relevant entries, Carter has provided us with an astonishingly intimate view of his presidency…. Thirty years after the fact, he has annotated the diary with his candid reflections on the people and events that shaped his presidency, and on the many lessons learned.”

I guess that depends upon how depressed you want to be, and the value you personally place on learning from mistakes so you don’t repeat them.

President Carter was an expert in energy and initiated programs in that field that are still developing today.  He boldly worked toward peace in the Middle East, and we will not forget the images of himself with Menachem Begin and Andwar Sadat.

However, my guess is that most Americans remember his errors more.  We did not return him to the White House for a second term.  In fact, he almost lost his own party’s nomination in 1980 when challenged by Senator Ted Kennedy, which would be a remarkable event if attempted today.

For all he did well, he also presided over extreme inflation and  massively high interest rates.   He did not win fans from the sports world by removing American athletes from the opportunity to compete in the Olympics.  He unsuccessfully tried to level the office with the working American  by wearing blue jeans in the White House, and using a photograph instead of an oil painted portrait for his official picture.  He redefined the American motto, “give us your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,” by opening our borders to Cubans who were criminals and mentally ill.   He angered the Iranian people by toasting the Shah at a New Year’s Dinner, then he could not successfully obtain the release of American hostages, who were held for 444 days.

Every United States President has had accomplishments and also has made mistakes.  Carter was no different.  Some consider him the worst American President we have ever had.  I don’t know about that.  Who am I to make that judgment? 

Perhaps you will consider this book insightful, or perhaps you will find it self-serving.  Regardless,  I just don’t know that we need or want to be reminded.  It will be interesting to watch how well it sells.

What do you think?  Let’s talk about it!