The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America
After John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Robert Kennedy—formerly Jack’s no-holds-barred political warrior—almost lost hope. He was haunted by his brother’s murder, and by the nation’s seeming inabilities to solve its problems of r ...more
This is five years after the nadir of the "New Frontier" and four years after Lyndon Johnson embroiled us in the eternal quagmire of what was Vietnam. January, 1968 produced one of ...more
Robert Kennedy was so different as a candidate - as a hope for America in a time of domestic turmoil that those who were not living then can not truly understand. Yet RFK could reach across the gap -- touching blacks and George Wallace blue collar sup ...more
By focusing on the 82 days between Bobby Kennedy's announcement that he would run for President and the night of his assassination, Clarke was able to show the ebbs and flows of Kennedy's final days. In this book, we are able to see development of campaign. Through ...more
Suffice it to say, I did not love this book. In fact, I didn't even like it that much. I felt that most of the book bordered on hero worship, to the point that I could not form an objective opinion about Kennedy's storied '68 campaign.
That said, I ultimately gave "The Last Campaign" three stars rather than 5 ...more
Thurston Clarke in this short book examines those 82 days of 1968 campaign and it captivates you instantly and makes you long to hope that maybe it could have been RFK and not Nixon standing on west side of the Capital facing the mall taking the oath on January 20, 1969.
One of the most powerful moments of the book is the descriptions of the events of the night of April 4th ...more
Bobby Kennedy had been known as a ruthless political operative, and the strong-arm of his brother's White House. When he was elected as the senator from New York, he began to differentiate himself from his brother's policies, and pursuing ones that he held d ...more
One thing sticks with me: the power of RFK's message and conviction, a politician that really said wa ...more
It's detailed enough to be historical, but poetic and at times ironic enough to be considered at times, art.
Yet it lacks the pretentiousness of some historical books that attempt to be art. It rarely expresses its own position, the author keeping himself out of the way for much of the presentation. At the same time it is much more personal and alive than a m ...more
Is this a piece written by an author that, like many of the reporters that covered the 68 RFK campaign, is slightly smitten with Bobby Kennedy? Absolutely. That shouldn't stop you from reading it. It's a good book, well researched and honest. It leaves you feeling like you want to hop in a Delorian and travel back to '68 for just one happy day mid-campaign so you too can say you were there. Yo ...more
Released at a time that corresponds with both the 40th anniversary of RFK's run and the last presidential election, it make for an engaging read. As Kennedy stated he didn't "...lightly dismiss the dangers and the difficulties...but these are not ordinary times and this is not an ordinary election." True words of the turbulent era. Vietnam was in its 3rd year as far as direct involvement of US combat troops, racial tension and riots continued at home and Americans were look...more
Several things struck me most about the politics of Bobby Kennedy:
He was sincere. I truly believe th ...more
Thurston Clarke's thesis is that Robert Kennedy represented the best hope for a politics of reconciliation and compassion, shared responsibility and service to country, at a time when the country was reeling fro ...more
As early as the fall of 1967, Kennedy had been urged by many to run and oppose President Johnson and his policies. But, Kennedy was worried abiout fracturing the Democratic Party and allowing the Republican ca ...more
The anecdote of the wedding party throwing their bouquets at the train bearing RFK's body is unforgettable.
His speech in Indianapolis the night of Martin Luther King's death must rank among the bravest acts of leadership in the history of this country. It is impossible to imagine any politician today being capable of such.
And telling black audiences that there was no free ride, student audiences that he would end their draft deferment ...more
Clarke's articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and ...more