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Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,028 ratings  ·  112 reviews
No figure in American public life has had such great expectations thrust upon him, or has responded so poorly. But Ted Kennedy -- the youngest of the Kennedy children and the son who felt the least pressure to satisfy his father's enormous ambitions -- would go on to live a life that no one could have predicted: dismissed as a spent force in politics by the time he reached ...more
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published February 17th 2009 by Simon & Schuster (first published 2009)
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Having read at least one biography of Ted Kennedy and another chronicling the relationships with his brothers, I thought "Last Lion" lacked quite a bit. The book provided numerous anecdotes of his impact on social progress in the senate and political realm, and his dedication to his constituents of Massachusetts. I thought it glossed over a lot of things, creating a rather fluffy obituary-esque summation. Part of what makes Ted Kennedy such an interesting subject is the fact he was so reviled an ...more
This is book is not a David McCullough history, nor is it a trashy Kitty Kelley-esque dive into Ted Kennedy's personal life. Instead it is a very accessible, yet sympathetic account of Ted Kennedy's life and provides a welcome introduction to the good, the bad, and the ugly of the Senator's professional accomplishments and personal life. I learned quite a bit about Ted Kennedy reading this and left with a new found admiration for his accomplishments in the Senate, as well as his role as the Kenn ...more
Here is an important book about Ted Kennedy's conflicts and contributions. It is somewhat balanced between his mistakes and his successes. The main reason for reading it is to find out exactly what Kennedy contributed to our country and how far his sponsorship of bills, particularly on health care and the disadvantaged, has affected everyone's life in the USA.
Rena Jane
This was a really good read. Read almost more like a novel than a biography. I didn't remember all the tragedies of his life in quite the right order. I know I was more involved in my own life at the time of his plane crash and Bobby's assassination.

I never realized how personable Teddy was. His attention to so many people was truly inspiring. He confirmed the truth of the saying that he was a man of the people. He didn't put on airs or put himself above anyone. I also have his book, True Compas
Jeannie Niles
I read this book after reading True Compass by the senator. This book was told a similar story but with a different slant. This is a great book, very complimentary to the greatest senator in history.

I liked learning about the personal side of Ted Kennedy. He was a very thoughtful considerate man and the family stories were great. So much has been written about the Kennedys it was exciting to learn new things about them.

He's the Kennedy I've probably read the most about in contemporary media, but I had never read a biography. Great team writing effort by the Boston Globe. Good context in terms of family and the issues over 4+ decades. Easy reading. Motivating, too. The commitment to public service, whatever you may think of the personal failings is incredible.
Jim Yavenditti
Very interesting book about the Kennedys and Ted Kennedy in particular. I admittedly am not old enough personally to remember most of the events in the book-- JFK, RFK, Chappaquiddick, et al.-- but found the book to be a very interesting read. No matter your political persuasion, Ted Kennedy's service in the Senate is laudable.
An interesting and balanced read for anyone who wishes to explore the complexities of the youngest Kennedy son. While addressing the Senator's various shortcomings, the authors succeed in humanizing a man whose personal life and professional passions were a staple of American politics for over four decades.
Ted Kennedy was a man full of flaws and weaknesses. Yet he worked hard and was able to do more for this country than either of his two famous brothers. This book details all of this and more, and does it very well.
Andy Miller
This was a sympathetic biography of Ted Kennedy that did not ignore the troubling aspects of his life. Author did a good job of going back and forth from his political life and personal life and how one could affect the other--how he was not effective during the Clarence Thomas confirmation because of his personal life issues at the time and how pressures of his political life affected his first marriage

A lot of his life is so well known so I enjoyed the lesser known reading the lesser known par
January is turning into a month of reading biographies. After the Mitford sisters, I ordered another one of Lovell's bios from the public library. While waiting for it to come in, in 48 hours I zipped through the 400-page "Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy." The biography is the work of a group of reporters from The Boston Globe, edited by Peter S. Canellos, the paper's Washington bureau chief. If anyone would know — could know — the full story of Ted Kennedy's life, it's the Globe, wh ...more
Jul 08, 2010 Linda rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone interested in both history and politics
Recommended to Linda by: NY Times
I feel this book was a very honest accounting of the life of Senator Edward M. Kennedy, who died on August 25, 2009. His parents come across as aloof and distant, constantly putting enormous pressure on their children to push themselves to succeed. Teddy was farmed out to various boarding schools from an early age to his parents could travel and so Rose could go off to Paris to purchase the latest designer clothes. Joseph forces Rosemary to have a lobotomy, which resulted in permanent brain dama ...more
When hearing of Ted Kennedy's brain tumor, Senator John McCain called him "the last lion of the Senate" and then added "he remains the single most effective member of the Senate if you want to get results." This biography of Senator Edward Kennedy was written by the staff of The Boston Globe and edited by Peter S. Canellos and it deeply inspects Kennedy's career in the Senate of the bi-partisan support that he was able to craft for many pieces of legislation since his election in 1962. The book ...more
Ken T
Canellos and others have put together an extremely sympathetic portrait of the former senator. It focuses primarily upon the many trials he endured over the course of his life (both personal and those related to family members) and his maturation and achievements as a US senator.

Canellos' has a lucid style and is accomplished at enabling a reader inexperience with the Kennedys or politics to keep up with the various aspects of Ted Kennedy's life. He dwells in particular upon the Kennedy family,
Last year, I read Ted Kennedy's autobiography "True Compass" and this year I couldn't resist but give this book a read. Last Lion takes a look at the familial and political life of Ted Kennedy and charts his progress from being the 9th child of Rose and Joe Kennedy to one of the most decorated Senators in U.S. history.

The book does a solid job at discussing Kennedy's strengths. His compassion to the plight of others, his zeal for legislation, his excellent sense of humor and his love of children
Ray Justus
This is my original review posted online at Barnes & Noble immediately after I finished the book. Please keep in mind that I wrote the review while the subject was still living. After his death, I was vilified by many responders for my review. I read the entire book cover to cover and wrote what I believed. I still believe that it is an extremely biased and inaccurate account of the man's life. If a book is not truthful, the only rating I can give is a single star.

Nothing was ever Ted Kenned
A very readable biography of Ted Kennedy, senator from Massachusetts. Through his childhood, the death of his brothers, his journey through the Senate, his personal problems as well as his role as the 2008 Presential "kingmaker", this was a very interesting and quick read. I was surprised to read certain things in this book, such as his father, Joseph Kennedy, being the emotional center of the family. Other sources I had read made him the cold ambitious father.

Other points seem to be mysteriousl
Bill Manzi
A really fine book about Ted Kennedy that pulls no punches, covering all of the negative as well as the immense amount of good that he did during his Senate career. The book covers a vast amount of ground without being overly detailed, giving what I thought was a good view of a life that covered so much of our important recent history. He started his political life with many considering him a lightweight, riding on President Kennedy's coattails, but he ended up (in my opinion) as one of the most ...more
Really interesting book. I didn't know much about Ted Kennedy at all and finally found out what the "scandal" was. This book is an amazing tribute not only to him, but to the Kennedy family and his role in preserving their legacy. I was impressed by how much Ted Kennedy has actually done for our nation, particularly in the areas of health care, education, civil rights and social programs. I had only ever heard about his drinking and womanizing and was surprised to learn how hard he has worked du ...more
This book engrossed and intriqued me. I'd always thought of Ted Kennedy as a scumbag, but I gained a new perspective on him from this book. Whatever his moral failings, and he certainly had his share, I couldn't help being fascinated by this man who seemed to have such a great love for his parents, family and country. From sleeping on the funeral home floor through the night when his dad died, to attending mass every day for a year when his mom died, to being there for all of his nephews, neices ...more
I think the writers at the Boston Globe did a great job with this book. I have read a lot about the Kennedys over the years and was hesitant to read another book about them. Then again, Teddy has more often than not been left out of the bright spotlight in the previous books I had read. Last Lion succeeds at giving a sweeping account of the life and times of Edward Kennedy, skillfully highlighting his vast accomplishments, while also sufficiently addressing his massive personal failings (Chappaq ...more
Ted, just like his brother, Bobby, would have become President too. Bobby was assassinated during the campaign by a demented, Sirhan Sirhan-- just like The President who was assassinated by Oswald, another demented.

Ted backed out of the Presidency many times to stretch his stay in the Senate and be of service to his country for as long as he can. He believes that as long as he kept himself away from the Presidency, he will be safe.

The youngest Kennedy son lived a turbulent life--family scandal
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and would recommend it as an excellent overview of Ted Kennedy's life. The authors didn't dwell on any one part of it; there was plenty of good and plenty of bad. The adversity that this man went through seems unbearable, and Ted didn't always handle it well. His work in the Senate, though one might not agree with his views, proved to be born of a tenacity and work ethic rarely seen. Well written and fair.
I really enjoyed listening to this account of the life and political career of Ted Kennedy. History and politics are two of my passions so I was very interested and connected with these years and these events as I lived through and remembered so many things covered in this account.

Although I was aligned politically with Ted Kennedy, the Kennedy family has always fascinated me and their public service, I believe, is done with a true sense of purpose and commitment. That being said, I think proba
While the assessment of Ted Kennedy leans toward the positive in this well-researched book, the authors are thorough in their coverage of his many weaknesses. As his personal life was in turmoil from one bad decision after another and one family tragedy after another, Kennedy became a Senate workhorse, focusing on the needs of the less fortunate and becoming one of the Senate's longest-serving and most-respected members. Nobody could make up a Kennedy story--who would believe it?--but the report ...more
Mary Frances
Not as compellingly written as I might have hoped-reportorial and thorough, though. I find Kennedy's story absolutely compelling, though, and it is a story of a man who is real in all his talents, grace and failures.
I think this is a great read! I found it incredibly interesting to travel through the shoes of Ted Kennedy. Coming from Massachusetts, I already held a certain reverence for the Kennedy family, but after learning more about them, you wonder if a family like this will ever enter the American spotlight again.

Learning about one of the longest tenured Senators in the current legislature and the initiatives he's pushed in recent years, you wonder if his main priority (universal health care) will com
Short of Ted Kennedy's own memoirs, I believe this book to be the definitive Ted Kennedy, tracing the Senator's fabled childhood, his rise to prominence, his fall from grace, and his redemption. I've long studied the Senator and so deeply identified with this book and the subject. Oh, how I've admired this man and all he's accomplished, and oh, how angry I was when his personal behavior ran contrary to his message. This book weaves the story of Ted Kennedy's life - his motivations, his concerns, ...more
Irving Koppel

"Last Lion": The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy is a very in depth study
of what makes Ted tick. Being the last born in a very famous,competitive
family is not the easiest thing with which to be saddled. Still, Ted has
managed through humor and taking on of tremendous responsibility to master
the care of his family,and by extension, the people of the United States.
While the book is overall a very favorable account of the great statesman
he has become, it doesn't hesitate to show his shortcomings. Writ
I am not generally a non-fiction reader in general, or biographies either. But after Ted Kennedy passed away earlier this year, I put this on hold at the library. I have to say whether you loved him or hated him, that man led an almost unbelievable life. So many horrible tragedies, so many enormous triumphs. This country was truly changed by his work. I am inspired by the fact that he was constantly taught that "to whom much is given, much is expected." And he did work his whole life for those t ...more
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