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Victura: The Kennedys, a Sailboat, and the Sea

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Winner of the Chicago Book Review's Best Books of the Year (2014)
To truly understand the dynamics and magic of the Kennedy family, one must understand their passion for sailing and the sea. Many families sail together, but the Kennedys relationship with Victura, the 25-foot sloop purchased in 1932, stands apart. Throughout their brief lives, Joe Jr., Jack, and Bobby spent many hours racing Victura. Lack of effort in a race by one of his sons could infuriate Joseph P. Kennedy, and Joe Jr. and Jack ranked among the best collegiate sailors in New England. Likewise, Eunice emerged as a gifted sailor and fierce competitor, the equal of any of her brothers.
The Kennedys believed that Jack s experience sailing Victura helped him survive the sinking of his PT boat during World War II. In the 1950s, glossy Life magazine photos of Jack and Jackie on Victura s bow helped define the winning Kennedy brand. Jack doodled sketches of Victura during Oval Office meetings, and it s probable that his love of seafaring played a role in his 1961 decision to put a man on the moon, an enterprise he referred to as spacefaring.
Ted loved Victura as much as any of his siblings did and, with his own children and the children of his lost brothers as crew, he sailed into his old age: past the shoals of an ebbing career, and into his eventual role as the Lion of the Senate. In Victura, James W. Graham charts the progress of America s signature twentieth-century family dynasty in a narrative both stunningly original and deeply gripping. This true tale of one small sailboat is an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the great story of the Kennedys."

265 pages, Hardcover

First published January 1, 2014

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James W. Graham

2 books1 follower

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5 stars
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14 (32%)
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Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews
Profile Image for Tiziano Brignoli.
Author 15 books7 followers
January 1, 2019
I loved this book for a series of reasons. First of all it not looks like a classic political biography, but it is a more intimate story about the life of the Kennedy family tied up to the sea and the meaning of the sea for all of them. It is full of family anecdotes about their loved boat - Victura. Last but not least the author have had the opportunity to meet and talk with the family and this give to the book a more introspective view which I very appreciate.
It's a good book for anyone who want to know about the family, from Jack to Bobby to Ted to the younger generations, even when there are paragraphs about the political life.
Profile Image for Elizabeth.
97 reviews
January 11, 2020
This is really a collection of anecdotes about the Kennedy family, rather than an original story. The tales are largely interesting ones, if, at times, somewhat oddly organized. Sailing terms are frequently not explained, which makes reading somewhat lackluster for non-sailors. Recommended for those interested in the Kennedy family and their legacy.
77 reviews1 follower
July 28, 2014
If the Camelot Kennedy lore doesn't appeal to you, chances are you will not like VICTURA. Although much is told of RFK, JFK and Teddy, very little is mentioned of Jackie O and their spousal relationships within the Kennedy core family. I would have liked to see these relationships included, as I consider their wives and how they are treated within the family relevant.
Although the story purports the moral values the family learned, such as loyalty to each other, those values from my reading, only extended to the Kennedy core clan and less to those of their spouses and the world around them. The story also tells how the Kennedy's were raised with a sense of serving others and the contributions they have made to this world because of lessons learned from Victura. To me, I had problems, because although the book tells of the moral values and good the Kennedy's accomplished, it tends to ignore their moral failings, unless they were well publicized. Upon finishing this book, I found myself wondering whether or not the Kennedy sense of servitude was merely a tool to keep them in good standing with the public.
Profile Image for Jessica.
568 reviews775 followers
July 14, 2014
I received this book for free through LibraryThing's Early Reviewers.

When I first started reading this book, I found it to be very boring. It talked a lot about boats, which I don't know much about. But once it got to part 2, it got more interesting. It talked more about the Kennedys and how sailing impacted their lives. I recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the Kennedys.
Profile Image for Amanda.
23 reviews
May 7, 2018
I enjoyed that this book was not all about JFK; it was great to learn a bit more about the sisters and the Kennedy Clan as a whole in regards to sailing.
1,368 reviews7 followers
September 8, 2014
Good! The Kennedy's are a fascinating bunch. Also, knew nothing about sailing. Found that interesting as well. Enjoyed Jack's experience on PT109. Very good...
3 reviews
January 29, 2016
I read this book and really like it. It is really fun to read about my families history because my grandpa is in this book because my grandpa was friends with the kennedys!
Profile Image for Scott.
3 reviews1 follower
May 30, 2016
From one sailor to another, thank you for inspiring us to chance the wind and seas and push toward a brighter horizon!
Displaying 1 - 9 of 9 reviews

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