Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy” as Want to Read:
Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy

3.98  ·  Rating Details ·  1,203 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
The complete, authoritativebiography of SenatorTed Kennedyby an all-star team of seasoned reportersfrom The Boston Globe. ...more
Audio CD, Abridged, 0 pages
Published February 17th 2009 by Simon & Schuster Audio (first published 2009)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Last Lion, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Last Lion

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
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
May 15, 2013 Ken rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 14, 2009 Jane rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 30, 2010 Rena Jane rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Nov 04, 2009 Jeannie Niles rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jim Yavenditti
Aug 14, 2012 Jim Yavenditti rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jun 22, 2012 Sally rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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.
Jul 19, 2011 Kimberly rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Aug 23, 2012 Rick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
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.
Jan 20, 2010 Linda rated it liked it
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
Andy Miller
Nov 26, 2012 Andy Miller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ken T
Jan 22, 2012 Ken T rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
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,
Ray Justus
Jan 27, 2013 Ray Justus rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 18, 2013 Joe rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 31, 2009 Judy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 08, 2010 Linda rated it really liked it
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
Jun 25, 2009 Melanie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nonfiction
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
Jun 05, 2012 Richel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, biography
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
Oct 03, 2009 Heidi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 29, 2010 Meaghan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio, favorites
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
Jul 15, 2012 LemonLinda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 10, 2009 Jon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
May 23, 2010 Patricia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 06, 2009 Karen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 23, 2016 Linda rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
I have always enjoyed reading about the Kennedy family. So much tragedy and so much fatih. I found it very interesting that with politics aside Ted was a father to 16 children after the assasination of President Kennedy and Senator Bobby Kennedy. He took this role very seriously and genuinely loved his neices and nephews. He played a very important role in all their life's. He was proud of his Irish heritage and was known for belting out Irish songs at family gathrings or in his office
Irving Koppel
Jul 20, 2009 Irving Koppel rated it it was amazing

"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
Bill Manzi
Jul 02, 2014 Bill Manzi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 01, 2016 Olivia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a great overall snapshot of Ted's life. I felt it skimmed over a lot of significant parts too quickly, but being that it was so many decades to cover, I understand why.

I love bios and memoirs on audio so I listened to this one via audible. The narration was great and well paced. It was thoroughly enjoyable. I do think I am going to read Ted's own memoir, True Compass still. This book also got me interested in delving into some more Kennedy biographies. Something about this family i
Sep 16, 2009 Karyl rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Kennedys haven't always been the best role models, but the expectations for themselves and their children were certainly high. Joe and Rose Kennedy discussed current events at the dinner table, expected an active public life of service and always put their children first.

I'm amazed that with all that Ted did in his political life that he even had time to be a father to both his kids and his brothers.

He neither explains/nor makes excuses for Chappaquidick but he gives a timeline of the event
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Ted Kennedy: The Dream That Never Died
  • JFK: Reckless Youth
  • Robert Kennedy: His Life
  • President Kennedy: Profile of Power
  • The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America
  • Make Gentle the Life of This World: The Vision of Robert F. Kennedy
  • Robert Kennedy and His Times
  • Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years
  • Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House
  • Kennedy
  • The Kennedy Men: 1901-1963
  • True Compass: A Memoir
  • The Sins of the Father: Joseph P. Kennedy and the Dynasty He Founded
  • Mutual Contempt: Lyndon Johnson, Robert Kennedy, and the Feud that Defined a Decade
  • Kennedy and Nixon: The Rivalry That Shaped Postwar America
  • The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings: A Five-Generation History of the Ultimate Irish-Catholic Family
  • The Kennedys: An American Drama
  • The Dark Side of Camelot

Share This Book