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The Kennedy Brothers: The Rise and Fall of Jack and Bobby
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The Kennedy Brothers: The Rise and Fall of Jack and Bobby

3.91  ·  Rating Details ·  588 Ratings  ·  48 Reviews
Books about the Kennedys are legion. Yet missing until now has been the exploration of the bond between Jack and Bobby, and the part that it played in their rise and fall. Eight years apart in age, they were wildly different in temperament and sensibility. Jack was the born leader—charismatic, ironic, capable of extraordinary growth and reach, yet also pathologically reckl ...more
Paperback, 480 pages
Published May 1st 2011 by Arcade Publishing (first published August 18th 1999)
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Why don't you learn any of this stuff in school? My AP US History book gave about a paragraph to Bay of Pigs, the Missile Crisis and Bobby Kennedy, total. None of this intrigue between the different branches of the CIA, FBI, and Justice, let alone secret dealings with the Mafia. Shame on "The Enduring Vision" for giving us such a bland, whitewashed version of recent history.

That said, the book has flaws- the portrait of RFK post-JFK's assassination borders on saintly, and the allusions to tragic
May 23, 2011 Colleen rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poli-sci
What a misrepresenting title. Ought to be "Mafia, Mobsters, Hitmen." I was under the impression based on the description of the book (not to mention the title) that it would examine how the brothers interacted with each other, and with their father. Granted, this was covered (with not many more insights than the obvious ones covered by the Reelz miniseries that aired earlier this year) but this book was much more about Castro, Cubans, the FBI and CIA, and mobsters from Miami to Chicago to Las Ve ...more
Mar 14, 2016 Aubrey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016
This book was only okay. I wanted to point out two nitpicky things: driving from Springfield to Amherst Massachusetts doesn't bring you through the Berkshires, and Mishawaka, Indiana had a population of 33,000 in 1960, which I don't consider a "tiny" place. Maybe I'm just too particular with getting those kind of things right in a book!
Roger Dier
Sep 23, 2012 Roger Dier rated it liked it
At the outset, I liked reading the book and I think anyone who is interested in that period of time, or the political Kennedys, will find some merit in the pages of Mr. Mahoney. Some of Mr. Mahoney's writing is striking and thought provoking, but he takes liberty with the truth to fold events into his theory that Mob-backed elements killed JFK, and by inference, Bobby as well. There are many instances where Mr. Mahoney cites as Gospel truth the unconfirmed and unproven ramblings of curious chara ...more
Dec 20, 2007 Samantha rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First of all, let's get it out of the way. I really love the Kennedys. I enjoy most of the books about them and always learn something of each (yes, even the crazy conspiracy books). This book was a little different. I learned a lot. I enjoyed how it was put together. It starts with the 1950's and then takes 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963 and then Bobby Alone as separate topics. It has stories from their growing years in each as if looking back to show why they were doing what they were doing at that ti ...more
Mae Clair
Mar 31, 2012 Mae Clair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I'm not sure how I became so enamored of Bobby Kennedy, why, or when. I think it started by watching a movie about his life several years ago. After that I started searching out anything I could find - - movies, documentaries and books.

This was the first book I read on the Kennedys. While I normally search for titles that are strictly on Bobby, this one revolved around him and Jack. It was an eye opener in many ways. I was far too young to remember the Kennedy era but I have a shadowy memory of
Michael Layden
Feb 29, 2016 Michael Layden rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The daily email from bookbub is probably a very bad idea for someone who loves books. This kindle book was offered on Friday for 1.99 so it seemed like too good of a deal to miss out on.
The book is outside of my current interests and yet as is often the case I am glad I read it. The book shows the complexity of the Kennedys and particularly devotes time to Bobby.
The fascinating thing about the two brothers particularly was their capacity for growth. although many of their decisions and their fa
Barbara M
Sep 01, 2015 Barbara M rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An interesting well researched book about Jack and Bobby Kennedy. The author grew up around the Kennedy's - his father was a friend of Bobby's and a US ambassador (appointed by Jack). The author, Richard Mahoney, was a JFK scholar and worked at the Kennedy Library.

I learned a lot reading this book. I went to school in the US, but very little, if any, of the Kennedy era history was taught in school. I am not a history buff, but I found the history of events happening in the 60s very interesting
Oct 25, 2014 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kennedys
This was a really good read. Fairly ballanced version of the Brothers' story.

Good level of detail in summary of the connections between the deals they cut on the way up, and the price they obviously paid. Just too many connections to the underworld and the two assisinations.

In the end these two really paid for sins of their Father.

Although JFK had a fascinating run. Not exactly the model family man. Complex.

Feb 29, 2016 Judy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting take on a small piece of the Kennedy family history. The author, whose father was friends with (and an appointee of) the Kennedys, did a lot of research into the Kennedy archives, but also used some other published sources to detail the period from Jack running for office until Bobbys assassination. There was a lot of information on Bobbys campaign to subdue the mob, despite his fathers undisputed ties to them. There was also a lot of detail on the Cuba situation, from th ...more
Aug 16, 2015 Tom rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is not always easy reading for anyone who treasures the dreams and aspirations of both Jack and Bobby Kennedy, but
Mahoney is a superlative historian and his facts are scruplessy researched and supported. What is left is a fair history of a flawed and yet extraordinary presidency and the tale of two fascinating men. Having been exposed to Bobby during my own early years, I find my hero both human and yet incredibly admirable. Did both JFK and Bobby's reach exceed their grasp and were some o
Well written and interesting, no doubt, but for a large part not what I'd expected. The very last part, entitled "Bobby alone" is what I'd hoped this whole book would be: A close look at the person, his behaviour, growth, reception, self reflection, what not - that last part was a joy to read, making me sigh and swoon and think and mourn. I was close to this book right then, I felt it. And I'd so expected, no, hoped, for the rest of the book to be the same, with both JFK and RFK, their similarit ...more
Chrystine Collins-blums
Insightful, Thorough Analysis of Two Leaders

I have read many Kennedy bios over the years but greatly enjoyed this format which describes the synergy between these two men leading up to, and including the Presidency. I wonder if JFKs initial reluctance to have his kid brother hold such a key position as AG had anything to do with how much he would actually rely on his counsel. Love the comparisons and contrasts. I also learned a great deal about RFK post the JFK years and have grown to admire him
Dec 01, 2014 Ben rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adulthood
I thought this book was outstanding.

The author sticks to his goal of detailing the relationship between the two brothers. It is tight prose with illuminating anecdotes. The author has a strong point of view, especially about the parties behind the assassinations, but weaves that nicely into the narrative.

I noticed that some people didn't like all the discussion of the Mafia, but prosecuting the Mafia was the defining moment of Bobby's young career, where he started working professionally with
May 20, 2013 Joshua rated it it was amazing
Former Massachusetts Governor and friend of the Kennedys once characterized Jack Kennedy as "the last Irish Brahmin" and his brother Bobby as the "last Irish Puritan." Of all the descriptions that Dr. Mahoney could have given I thought that one was perhaps the most substantial I have heard to date. If O'Reilly's book interested you then you should read this one because it is far better than O'Reilly's and does not contain the significant problems one finds in a precursory reading of "Killing Ken ...more
Apr 05, 2010 Raghu rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Richard Mahoney's book on the Kennedy brothers is a well-researched and well written history of John and Robert Kennedy's years between 1952 and 1968. It provides interesting answers and pointers to the many 'puzzles' surrounding the murder of both the brothers and also the extent of the roles of the Mafia, the anti-Castro exiles in Miami, the Teamsters Union, the CIA and the FBI in an advanced industrial democracy like the US in the 1950s and sixties.
The picture that emerges from the book about
Sep 16, 2014 Barb rated it liked it
Overall, pretty interesting as I didn't know about joe's mob dealings and Bobby's work to go after organized crime. It also provided some insight into how jack and bobby interacted. I also appreciated the change bobby experienced after jack's assassination. Writing itself was not inspiring or elegant but told the story. Another interesting conspiracy theory to the assassinations as well.
May 30, 2016 Christi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Quest for Camelot

This book paints a very good picture of the interwoven political and personal Libes of the brothers Kennedy. The reliance of the older brother on the younger drove them both straight down the path that led to their ultimate fates. This book is well-researched, well-written, and an excellent addition to the reading list of any Kennedy fanatic.
Frances Fielden
Jul 27, 2015 Frances Fielden rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Two Tragic Brothers Whose Fates Could Not Be Altered

This book provides a very detailed description of the many situations and characters involved in these poignant events.. This is highly readable and gives much clarification of the tumultuous politics of the 60's with its sad outcomes. Their
Reader will left with more understanding but an enduring sadness.
Nov 10, 2015 Vic rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Much more than I expected

I was a young adult working on a ladder and listening to my portable radio when news about President Kennedy being shot hit the airways. Like the rest of the nation I followed as the events unfolded like Ruby shooting Oswald on live tv. This book helped me to connect to the past and fill in information I either forgot or never new.
Teresa Cooper
I remember the assassinations but not much more about JFK and RFK. This was a clear-eyed description of the events during and following JFK's presidency and how the brothers interacted and influenced each other. Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, campaigns, parental influence...I found it very interesting and enlightening.
George Ilsley
Detailed and comprehensive. Provides much insight into the Kennedys, the presidency of JFK and the events which attracted the assassinations. Basically, it was known in the 1960's who killed JFK, yet because it was in the interests of the CIA, the FBI and the White House to keep the secrets, it has never been officially confirmed. The revelation for me has been how well known this is, how the different elements came together, and yet the official story has not really budged.
Allan McLeod
Sep 22, 2016 Allan McLeod rated it really liked it
The saga of disturbing and interesting truths continues. I am still glad to be reading.

To learn the extent of mob involvement, independent military power, J. Edgar's misdeeds, and womanizing defies imagination. If you are seeking Camelot, don't read this book. This is a scary, discouraging expose. Unbelievable stuff. I am glad I read it. I am also damn mad.
Kathryn L Byrd
Aug 31, 2014 Kathryn L Byrd rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting. Learned many new things about the Kennedys.

My views of the Kennedys changed as I gained insight into their racketeering and thoughts of grandeur, beginning with Joe Kennedy. I do not regard this era as Camelot anymore.
May 07, 2012 Richel rated it it was amazing
Two Brothers: one was assassinated while he was President of the US, the other was assassinated before he could become President of the US; one was charming and good looking, the other rough and not so good- looking; one became President through the concerted efforts of a triumvirate: Joe Kennedy (the father), Jack himself, and Bobby; the other would have become President on his own; one ran for the Presidency to fill the shoes left by the eldest brother, Joe Jr.; the other ran for the Presidenc ...more
Glen Chern
Jun 02, 2016 Glen Chern rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Richard Mahoney masterfully captures the depth and significance of the relationship between John and Robert Kennedy. He brings to light the efforts by J.Edgar Hoover to blackmail the Kennedys in order to protect his position as director of the FBI. Mahoney goes in depth to expose the cunning and vile which Teamsters President Jimmy Hoffa demonstrated in his campaign to take down President Kennedy and Bobby. This was one of the most detailed snd complex books about the Kennedys and well worth rea ...more
Leslie Hickman
May 27, 2015 Leslie Hickman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
I have always thought the death of both Kennedy's a major event that changed the way of the world. Maybe even more so of Bobby's than Jack's. The love of history came from a great high school teacher back in the day.
William Howle
Jun 09, 2016 William Howle rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Have always found that books about the Kennedys vary depending on the author. This book seemed to be factual, and not worshipful, nor disdainful.
Mar 22, 2014 Amanda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history
Conspiracy theorist who borrows heavily from Seymour Hersh. But I found myself captivated by his research and left me with a few question of my own.
Clint Browning
Jun 27, 2016 Clint Browning rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the most insightful books on these historical individuals.
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  • Jack: A Life Like No Other
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