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Rosemary: The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

3.79  ·  Rating details ·  23,617 ratings  ·  2,427 reviews
They were the most prominent American family of the twentieth century. The daughter they secreted away made all the difference.

Joe and Rose Kennedy’s strikingly beautiful daughter Rosemary attended exclusive schools, was presented as a debutante to the Queen of England, and traveled the world with her high-spirited sisters. And yet, Rosemary was intellectually disabled —
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published October 6th 2015 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
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Hoop Drums She kept a journal and its all in there . Poor Rosemary not once but twice her life changed for the worse because of doctors .. This book is very near…moreShe kept a journal and its all in there . Poor Rosemary not once but twice her life changed for the worse because of doctors .. This book is very near and dear to me and I encourage everyone to read it .. very easy page turner , somewhat fascinating... I am savoring every page .. lots of rich history of the times cover the pages .. I think all of my children should read it .. because of Rosemary the Special Olympics was ( in her quiet honor ) born.(less)
Staci I MUCH preferred this one. "The Missing Kennedy" is poorly written and scattered and feels more like the author wanted to write some sort of memoir ab…moreI MUCH preferred this one. "The Missing Kennedy" is poorly written and scattered and feels more like the author wanted to write some sort of memoir about mental illness in her family and used Rosemary Kennedy as a sort of book title "click bait".(less)

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Average rating 3.79  · 
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 ·  23,617 ratings  ·  2,427 reviews

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Miranda Reads
Jun 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook
The stigma of mental illness is still alive and well.
When you hear "the Kennedys" you think of JFK, Jackie-O and so much more - but what about Rosemary?

If you haven't heard of the eldest Kennedy daughter, then you aren't alone. Rosemary was a dirty skeleton in that prestigious family's closet and they (in particular her parents) were terrified of her getting out.

Rosemary Kennedy was born to an incredibly competitive and religious family. Rose (Rosemary's mother) wanted the perfect family a
P8tra X
I can't finish this book. I can't get past the author and her attitude. At this point Rosemary is 16 in yet another expensive school where she is supposedly doing ok. Her brother, Joe Jnr goes to Europe where Hitler had come to power and persecution of Jews is on the rise. He writes to his father that he has heard much condemnation of Hitler and his party but he feels he should be given a chance.

He says that Germany is in economic ruins and the people are despondent. Hitler though gives the peo
Diane S ☔
May 19, 2015 rated it really liked it
Rosemary was the Kennedy's first daughter, third child, suffered from a home birth gone wrong and basically disappeared from public view after her early twenties. This is the story of what her life was like and the story of why she had to disappear.

I know it was a different world back then, they did not have the resources for those developmentally disabled, even retarded was not a word thrown around back then, many would just drop these type of individuals off at asylums or sanitarium to be forg
Sep 23, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites, memoir
Kate Clifford Larson delivers a compelling and compassionate account of Rosemary The Hidden Kennedy"

I really enjoyed this well written and researched look back at the life of the oldest daughter of the Kennedy family. I had been aware that Rosemary had lived her life in an institution for some time but had no idea of the circumstances that led to her being institutioniased and this book is a great insight into her life and indeed the health care system at the time.

I think the author does and ex
Katie B
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
I'm glad I finally got around to reading this book because for the most part it did a good job separating fact from rumors and misconception. Due to family secrecy and lost or redacted papers, we might not ever know the full story. However, this book is about as thorough and well-researched look we will ever probably get into Rosemary's life. Her story in my opinion is the saddest among a family who has experienced their fair share of tragedy.

Rosemary was the third child of Joe Kennedy Sr. and R
Aug 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
I'm astounded at all Rosemary went through because she was "different" from her other siblings. The treatment she received from her parents is heart breaking. I learned a lot from the Kennedy family. Smh. ...more
Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
I learned, I was absorbed, I was emotionally invested = 5 stars.

Review of the audio.

Rosemary Kennedy, the third child and first daughter born to Rose and Joe Kennedy, was intellectually disabled due to a trauma during her birth. It was both interesting and devastating to learn how the Kennedys, the medical field, and the mainstream U.S. culture, felt about the disability at the time. I hope we’ve made some strides in this area, but there is definitely room to grow.

The Kennedys were staunch in
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it
It was a very informative read for me as I knew very little about this lady. The book reads very, very well.
Oct 23, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Rosemary Kennedy, the third child of Joe & Rose Kennedy, was born in 1918. The doctor was late in coming to the home birth, and a nurse instructed Rose to hold her legs together and not push, to delay the baby's arrival til the doctor could get there. This delay deprived Rosemary of oxygen, leaving her learning disabled and mentally challenged. The Kennedy family was wealthy and powerful. In that day and age, having a retarded or mentally ill family member was a stigma, an embarrassment that the ...more
Jun 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I don't usually read bios or memoirs but I remember Rosemary Kennedy from when I was a child. She was the forgotten Kennedy, the one we knew nothing about ( her family made sure of that). At least until now. Heartbreaking, disturbing but essential reading. Having read her biography I will always remember Rosemary as one of the people who forever changed the way we as a society treat those with disabilities. ...more
Oct 26, 2015 rated it really liked it

That is really the only word I can think to describe the life of Rosemary Kennedy.

Kate Clifford Larson gives readers a meticulously researched and highly readable book about the eldest Kennedy daughter, her relationship with her parents and siblings, and ultimately her impact on the special needs community.

At every point in her development, beginning with her botched at-home birth, Joe and Rose Kennedy could tell that Rosemary was different than her siblings. They spared no expense sendin
Montzalee Wittmann
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Susan (aka Just My Op)
This is a story of a poor little rich girl, Rosemary Kennedy, the hidden Kennedy. Being rich isn't going to solve all your problems, and could just contribute to making them worse.

Starting with a horrific birth practice, Rosemary's life was never easy. Especially in a family that honors competition and winning above all else.

This is also a story of a girl, and then a woman, whose life should never have been as it was. Even after her traumatic birth, it could have been so much better for her. But
May 20, 2015 rated it really liked it
Concise, well-researched and to the point!

Of interest to all seeking information about the Kennedy family and treatment of those with mental, psychological and physical disabilities in the US during the last century.

So much can be said about the Kennedy family and so much has been written. This book focuses only upon those aspects that are directly related to Rosemary Kennedy(1918-2005), the third of Joseph and Rose Kennedy's nine children. At delivery the midwife delayed birth until the doctor
Oct 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Wow, what a pair Joe and Rose Kennedy were! It's a wonder the kids turned out as well as they did. But oh my oh my poor Rosemary. If she had any happiness at all it was because of the love and protection her brothers and sisters gave her as well as the many professionals hired to hide her. But in the end they were all powerless to save her from her parents. This book was just so hard to read because of the pain and misery heaped on her by her parents, both more concerned with their reputations a ...more
Laurie Notaro
Oct 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Completely and utterly heartbreaking.
Jan 09, 2016 rated it it was ok
While the story of Rosemary is compelling enough, the book as a whole is held back by the author's mediocre writing. Fact is, we don't know much about Rosemary because there was such a staunch effort to hide her life. Rather than accept this, the author tries to bulk up the missing pieces with unnecessary information (paragraph after paragraph gives the histories of schools Rosemary attended and doctors she encountered) resulting in a distracted and at times boring read. Nonetheless, Rosemary's ...more
Dec 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've long been interested in Rosemary Kennedy's life as she hasn't been all that "hidden" in my eyes. I'm fascinated/disgusted/horrified by the lobotomy "craze" that happened in the middle part of last century and have done a ton of research in the area, not only about Rosemary but also others tangentially "famous" (e.g. Tennessee Williams' sister) victims and other "regular" folk (ahem, mostly women, as they were by far the vast majority of patients). Full disclosure: my interest in this was pi ...more
Jun 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
One of my Goodreads friends posted a review on this book a couple weeks ago and it made me want to read this book right away. I started this book Monday evening at the Providence airport waiting to fly home into DC, and for some reason I felt the mix of RI and DC set a perfect reading setting for this book. 🤣

We get the story of Rosemary, the Kennedy child who was stashed away because she was mentally disabled. It is mind blowing that there was a time when these individuals were hidden away from
J. Schlenker
Apr 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audio version. It took two days. It was so interesting, I didn't want to quit listening. I was only a little familiar with Rosemary Kennedy. Such a complex family. So much greatness and so much sadness. A family strove so much for perfection, but families aren't perfect, far from it. And so many if only's, if only they hadn't waited on the doctor when Rosemary was being delivered. The big one--if only they hadn't done the lobotomy. It seemed like the lesson to be learned here w ...more
Nov 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: kindle-ebook
This biography consists of a string of events about Rosemary's disability and her parents' denial and attitude. Unfortunately, her circumstances didn't get better. They got worse with the lobotomy and the consequences were devastating. I'm glad peoples' stance (the Kennedy's included) has changed over time towards people with disabilities. ...more
Initially, I was disappointed by this book. In a book that was supposed to be ABOUT Rosemary Kennedy, there did not seem to be a lot about her. Instead, there was information about her and the rest of her family -- her relationship with each of her parents and siblings. It wasn't until later that I realized this was just as important, if not more so, as a history about Rosemary, herself. The reason is that many of the decisions about Rosemary and her life were based on Rosemary's relationships w ...more
This is going to be an unusual review for me because this book really hit me hard and I’m going to do a rant/book review for this one … so bear with me -

I was fascinated by this story and of Rosemary's life. I'm ultimately sad for her and how her family made decisions about and for her that were so selfish. I am sad she wasn't born into a family who could appreciate her for who she was instead of needing her to be something particular in order to fit into their social ideal. And the saddest par
Lance Carney
Nov 18, 2016 rated it really liked it
The takeaway from this book is the profound effect Rosemary Kennedy, intellectually disabled (called “retarded” in the book in the vernacular of the time) had on her eight famous brothers and sisters. Her plight inspired them to enact legislation and direct government resources to the developmentally and mentally disabled, even resulting in the creation of the Special Olympics.

The book shocked me in the beginning with the home birth of Rosemary. The pregnancy had been healthy with no complicatio
Oct 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This terribly sad book about Rosemary Kennedy is an indictment of the treatment of those with mental disorders in the United States. Things that struck me were the hubris of Joe Kennedy, Sr., in doing everything he could to suppress public knowledge and awareness of his retarded daughter; the incredible presumptuousness of the two doctors who insisted, on the basis of little to no evidence, that lobotomies were the answer for retarded people; the rigidity of Rose, who disowned her daughter Kathl ...more
Dec 29, 2015 rated it liked it
What amazes me the most about this book is the enormous amount of work Rose Kennedy put into education and social development of her mentally delayed daughter.
Jan 14, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: memoir-biography
The story of Rosemary Kennedy is heartbreaking, but fascinating to discover through Larson's well researched and intense portrait of the Kennedy family.

We begin with Rosemary's birth, which is gut wrenching to say the least. (The nurse forced the baby to remain inside the birth canal even after she began crowning. We now know how dangerous this is to infant and mother for a variety of reasons.) The story then begins slowly weaving the history of the Kennedy family beginning with Rosemary's pare
Sep 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, biography
Most of what I know about the Kennedy family I learned from my mother. She had read a lot about them and she shared it with me. I remembered hearing that Rosemary had some disabilities, and that her father had her undergo a lobotomy, but I didn't know much more than that.

Larson gives a great, detailed look at both Rosemary and the Kennedy family. The horror started with Rosemary's birth, where Rosemary was forced back into the birth canal for the 2 hours it took for the Doctor to get there. I wa

Before you go on, please know that this is less a book review, and more a rant about how much this family ended up repulsing me on almost every possible level. Spoilers abound. You have been warned.

Look, I’m going to level with you. I know nearly nothing about the Kennedy family. I know, for example, that they are Irish, Catholic, rich, and JFK was a womanizer who was assassinated. That’s about it. I don’t generally have that much of an interest in wealthy
Oct 03, 2015 rated it liked it
Wow. I am horrified at what happened to this lovely, beautiful person. 3 stars only because this writer needs a better editor.
In my opinion based on the facts as I understand them, Rosemary had a traumatic brain Injury from her lack of oxygen at birth. That nurse forcibly HELD HER IN for TWO hours because she was afraid to deliver the baby until the doctor got there. Today, this be unheard of, and would have most certainly resulted in a very successful lawsuit. This type of injury to the brain w
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