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The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy Has Haunted America's First Family for 150 Years
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The Kennedy Curse: Why Tragedy Has Haunted America's First Family for 150 Years

3.59  ·  Rating Details ·  1,083 Ratings  ·  96 Reviews
Death was merciful to Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, for it spared her a parent's worst nightmare: the loss of a child. But if Jackie had lived to see her son, JFK Jr., perish in a plane crash on his way to his cousin's wedding, she would have been doubly horrified by the familiar pattern in the tragedy. Once again, on a day that should have been full of joy and celebration, ...more
Paperback, 260 pages
Published April 17th 2004 by St. Martin's Griffin (first published April 1st 2003)
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This was an interesting take on why the Kennedy family, especially the males, have met such tragic ends. Author Edward Klein believes it's the "Kennedy curse" and is due to their arrogance and narcissistic personalities. Hubris and tempting fate all play a part as well. I enjoyed this book...while it was sad to read of the tragic events that affected so many family members, I found myself thinking perhaps if they were less egocentric and more humble and not believe themselves to be invincible, t ...more
Jun 27, 2007 Kasey rated it really liked it
I have been fascinated by the Kennedys for years, so much so that I wrote my high school term paper on Jackie O and I cried when I heard the news about JFK Jr and Carolyn Bessett. Anyone that knows me also knows that I am obsessed with all things paranormal so when I saw this book on sale for $5 at some ghost shop in St. Augustine a few weeks ago, I had to have it. Out of all of the books I'm currently reading, this one has piqued my interest the most. I'm amazed at how much I've learned about t ...more
Sep 06, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it
Well researched and well written, but I didn't learn much more about the Kennedy family except their interesting history in Ireland.

If you have read other books about the Kennedy family and its tragedies, you probably will not learn much more in this book. If this is your first book about the Kennedy curse, it is worth reading.

I was disappointed because I thought it would trace the actual curse generationally. However, this process seems to be beyond the experience of the author.

If you are inte
Reading this book has been both a startling and revelatory experience. For close to 80 years, the Kennedy Family -- with President John F. Kennedy representing the apogee --- has cast a dazzling light on the U.S. (and the world, by extension). From the time the first Kennedy (Patrick Kennedy) arrived in Boston from famine-stricken Ireland with his wife Bridget in 1849, the Kennedys have been strivers, gamblers, and at times reckless in their pursuit of economic and political power. Being Irish a ...more
Rebekah Welch
Dec 17, 2013 Rebekah Welch rated it it was ok
I can't decide if I think this book is mean spirited and biased or simply pointing out a family's lack of morals and scruples. Update: I just read Fairytale Interrupted where Rosemarie Terenzio quotes John Kennedy as commenting that Edward Klein had lunch with his mother one time and is working to make as much bank from that one lunch as possible. That makes sense--I was wondering why the book was so mean when Klein made it out like he was a close friend of Jackie Kennedy.
Patsy Anderson
Aug 06, 2013 Patsy Anderson rated it did not like it
Gossipy, tabloid style writing. I don't believe that the Kennedy's are cursed even after reading this book. They are extremely narcissistic risk-takers. Don't waste your time reading this book.
Jan 06, 2017 jsewellmcevoy rated it did not like it
This idiotic book mentions the assassination of Robert Kennedy, once, in passing, on page 177. That's all you need to know about the author's abilities and priorities.
Sep 19, 2016 jozefczechowicz rated it it was ok
subjective, sensationalist, shallow. despite a rather interesting topic and an attention-grabbing title klein falls short of delivering a thoughtful and balanced account of the kennedy family's history, focusing on meaningless examples of misfortune, inundating the reader with countless names and titles. moreover, his work is severely unsourced and his writing skills – mediocre at best. the only saving grace of this book is its bibliography, pointing at more interesting, and hopefully more measu ...more
Dec 20, 2016 Chloe rated it really liked it
Not so much dirt but confirmed suspicions. Ruthless, liars, rich and drunk - but with the endless charm of the Irish. It usually leads to downfall. In this case it did. Great read - good writer and very throughly researched.
Dec 16, 2015 Courtney rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
I have a love/hate relationship with this book. One one hand, it is a very entertaining, informative and interesting read (5 Stars!). On the other hand, the author completely fails to go into any depth on the character of the infamous Ted Kennedy, or live up to his claim that this is "a detective story". In addition, Bobby Kennedy's assassination is given all of ONE line at the end of the section on JFK (3 Stars!).

I knew quite little about the Kennedy family when I started this book, and after h
Jun 08, 2016 Nichole rated it it was amazing
The book goes through the history of The Kennedy's and the "family curse" that haunted them for years. I all began with Joe Kennedy's father and how he decided to leave his home for America. It goes through what he experienced in America and where exactly the "curse" started. It also talks about the first time that Joe met his future wife, Rose. There are 4 Parts that split up. In Part one (Scourage) , there are 2 chapters. The first chapter is titled Patrick Kennedy, and the second chapter is t ...more
Feb 02, 2013 Christie rated it liked it
Shelves: american-history
A glimpse into the life of the Kennedy's and the tragedy that has plagued this family for 150 years. The story begins in Ireland before Patrick Kennedy emigrated to the United States and follows his journey and beginnings in the US. The author then covers the story of how the Kennedy and Fitzgerald families, both Irish immigrants, had early political ties. The life of Joseph Kennedy Sr. and his role as the US Ambassador and the loss of his daughter Kathleen is covered in pretty good detail. Whil ...more
Jean Fausto
Jan 07, 2016 Jean Fausto rated it did not like it
Ok, I think I just picked my 2016's worst book of the year.
Sensationalism is a good word to describe this book.
Klein makes supposition upon supposition to draw some ridiculous, personal conclusions and mingles them with (often unverifiable) facts. Not to mention the absurdity about the so-called ""Curse"" and the fact he repeated his arguments a dozen times.
(Lies repeated too many times DO NOT constitute truths).
I guess I shouldn't have expected much better from a gossip columnist, but well...
Renee Reynolds
Aug 15, 2015 Renee Reynolds rated it liked it
Because the author clearly knows his subject—he is the author of two books on Jackie Kennedy—and because I agree with his underlying premise of the so-called Kennedy curse, I can overlook the distracting flaw of this book, which I found to be the authenticity of the detailed dialogue found throughout the narrative. Klein's underlying premise of the curse is simple and hard to contradict: that this family, through its abuse of power, recklessness, and fantasy of omnipotence, facilitated much of t ...more
Sep 02, 2016 Cindy rated it did not like it
Klein attempts to explain the Kennedy curse, to explain why the family that gave us Camelot also gave us Chappaquiddick and 11/23/63. To do this, he chronicles the lives of their Irish forefathers, Kathleen, JFK, RFK (in like one sentence), Teddy Kennedy, and Willie Smith. The more salacious stories of JFK are well known but the others proved to be interesting. However, He does this, I guess, in such a defaming way. It was just MEAN and CRUEL. It makes me doubt the veracity of his vignettes and/ ...more
Feb 09, 2016 Brisbride13 rated it liked it
I didn't think I would like this book because of the whole curse thing, but then I read about the significance of curses in Irish lore and I understood better the title. And really it's only mentioned about a dozen times. That being said this book doesn't really contain anything new if you're a reader of the Kennedy family. We all know that Joe Sr. was ruthless and that Rose was a cold, detached mother; that Jack was a womanizer and did drugs; that Ted was a drunk and well, fat. WE know the stor ...more
Mar 20, 2013 Christy rated it liked it
I picked this book because History has always I fascinated me; so have the Kennedy's. Originally, I thought this book would begin its story with JFK, his siblings and parents. I was wrong - the literally goes back to "in the beginning," as in the 1800s there is a timeline in the book that seems to indicate this sad tale of tragedy and death did not and his father. It's fascinating to say the least.

"The Kennedy Curse" indicate that the Kennedy family is somehow cursed because of all the tragedie
Marty Acks
Mar 11, 2013 Marty Acks rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is written as a series of loosely related vignettes of seven of the Kennedy/Fitzgerald clan. It is arranged in chronological order. I found the book flowed well and was an easy enjoyable read.

The general premise is that the Kennedy family developed phenomenal amount of hubris and risk taking resulted that in tragic consequences for the family across recent generations. The book highlights the oppression of Irish by the English in Ireland and similar treatment in America by WASP societ
Emi Bevacqua
Mar 29, 2013 Emi Bevacqua rated it did not like it
How did this Ed Klein guy get Jackie Kennedy Onassis to tell him anything, when he kept twisting it all into such hideous accusations about the family she married into? This book, The Kennedy Curse is Klein's third in his quest to ruin the Kennedy name completely (after All Too Human and Just Jackie). I don't understand how this qualifies as non-fiction, rather than hearsay and historical fiction.

Here's a quote about the author from Adam Peck, of the Center for American Progress Action Fund: "T
Brent Soderstrum
Jul 13, 2009 Brent Soderstrum rated it really liked it
The book's premise is that the Kennedy family is somehow cursed based on all the things that have happened to them in the last 150 years. Klein then looks to various members of the family (including Honey Fitzgerald who was not a Kennedy)and the things they went through. Much of it are accidents that happen to all families to various degrees. I enjoyed the sections on JFK, JFK JR, Kick and William Smith. The older "Kennedy" profiles were not nearly as factual and came across as if they were part ...more
Emily Gonzalez
Jan 14, 2015 Emily Gonzalez rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Would it be valid to have a possible favorite book of the year candidate so early in the year? It's not even mid January, yet here this book is blowing my mind. I'm not sure if I'm attracted to the story itself, or the way it was written. Who would have thought that a high school dropout started working at his local liquor shop, blinded by his own ambition to climb up the social ranks, saved up enough money to buy and extend said liquor shop and therefore creating a legacy that would pass down g ...more
Alicia Devero
Jun 09, 2015 Alicia Devero rated it really liked it
I have never had much regard for the Kennedy's Family - I actually have never seen any of them as a role model I would like to follow or use as an example. Therefore, America's infatuation with JFK and RFK will always remain a mystery to me. In the end the book is nothing, but a proof that Kennedies were just a bunch of spoiled, cynical, insecure, criminals with no morals and high ego with no regard for any laws. From the very beginning of their political careers they used to win election throug ...more
Mar 25, 2012 Lauren rated it it was ok
What the author claims is a curse seems to me to be more of a family propensity for assholey behavior. The Kennedys Klein described sounded more like spoiled brats with entitlement issues to me.

If his intention was to generate sympathy, he failed with this reader. I, like many misguided Americans, was prone to remanticize the clan. Reading this book by a Kennedy sympathizer(?) makes me want to punch them all in the face, even the dead ones, except maybe for Caroline... She seems alright.

I didn
May 24, 2015 Daphne added it
I enjoyed the book; however, I wish there would have been larger sections on JFK and JFK Jr. A section on Robert Kennedy would have been a nice addition. If you are intrigued by the Kennedy family, I would recommend this book. It was well written and an easy read. While JFK and his siblings had a privileged childhood, I would not say it was idyllic. The book has slightly changed how I view JFK's legacy. It's extremely difficult for me to separate his personal indiscretions from his performance l ...more
May 12, 2015 Blake rated it it was ok
I didn't really know too much about the Kennedy Family ( except for JFK) so I didn't hate this book,but it seems like this was an easy book to write. This was a "Let's dig up all there dirt about the Kennedy's to show they were a stubborn , Self Centered,arrogant family who were cursed by their own doings" kind of book. I'm not denying the facts,but it's only one side of the coin. You can't really have a great opinion about the kennedy's by this book alone. I advise to read more books on them. I ...more
Feb 01, 2010 Kate rated it liked it
Recommends it for: history buffs
Recommended to Kate by: Bridget
Shelves: nonfiction
First, let me admit that I only read this book when I was at my parents' house, which means that I read it in snippets over about 1.5 months. The reason that's important is because I think I would have liked this book much better if I had read it entirely through.

The book traces the origins of the Kennedy Curse back to JFK's great-grandfather and all the way up through JFK Jr. It's an interesting concept and the author shows how ruthless, selfish, and unscrupulous the Kennedys really were.
Rhina Guidos
Jul 21, 2011 Rhina Guidos rated it liked it
A fast read, some scandals I didn't know about. It's definitely sensationalist and I'm sure, like all families, they're more complex than the simplistic way they're painted. I found the Catholicism a duality in the family interesting. Also astounded at the way they were treated as Irish, a lot like Latinos, wondered about the parallels between the two as immigrant groups and how religion haunts and helps, i.e. some of the sexual repression, but also the ideal of serving the world. Not a deep boo ...more
Joan Grubbs
Feb 10, 2015 Joan Grubbs rated it really liked it
This book contains a lot of background information about the Kennedys, going back to early days in Ireland. It was very informative and interesting. Each chapter tells the story of a family member "cursed" by the Kennedy curse. What I took away from this book was not that these people were cursed, but that they, in many ways, made reckless and unwise decisions that led to their untimely deaths. It's an interesting read, but I am still unconvinced that the "Kennedy curse" exists.
Vicki Gooding
Aug 05, 2016 Vicki Gooding rated it really liked it
The interviews and research are excellent. My least favorite part of the book is how the author continues to taint the facts, by repetition of his opinion. They think they are divine. Their risk-taking makes them a narcissistic bunch.It sounds more like the author does not like the family and has a vendetta to paint a picture to the reader of his own personal opinion as fact. The stories themselves are fascinating.
Dale Stonehouse
Feb 24, 2012 Dale Stonehouse rated it it was ok
Not the most exciting Kennedy book, and the premise is a bit speculative, but still interesting. He knew Jackie well and draws from that friendship here, perhaps a bit much. Reading about JFK Jrs. marriage before he was killed can only make one wish the curse had bypassed him. Since he began to do things after his mother died that she would not like, beginning a magazine (George), flying, and marrying the wrong girl, maybe it was her curse from beyond that got him.
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Edward Klein is an American author, tabloid writer and gossip columnist who has written about the Kennedys, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama and Michelle Obama.

From 2005 has had a mission to stop Hillary Clinton becoming president and as a tabloid writer has not let the truth stand in his way. He has been criticised for factual errors and his use of anonymous quotes by the media, neo-co
More about Edward Klein...

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“In the case of many Kennedys,” Neubauer continued, “their drive for power is often supported by good deeds, by a desire to help the poor and disenfranchised, by humanitarian goals. They describe what they do not merely as ‘politics’ but as the much more lofty-sounding ‘public service.’ All this reduces the need for them to feel guilty about their single-minded pursuit of power.” 1 likes
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