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Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World

4.04  ·  Rating details ·  781 ratings  ·  159 reviews
A Pulitzer Prize–winning journalist examines the life and times of Eunice Kennedy Shriver, arguing she left behind the Kennedy family’s most profound political legacy.

While Joe Kennedy was grooming his sons for the White House and the Senate, his Stanford-educated daughter Eunice was tapping her father’s fortune and her brothers’ political power to engineer one of the grea
Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 3rd 2018 by Simon Schuster
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Jennifer ~ TarHeelReader
5 empowered, emboldened stars to Eunice: The Kennedy Who Changed the World! 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟 🌟

Prior to reading this book, I familiar with Eunice Shriver’s enormous contributions to society on behalf of individuals with intellectual disabilities and their families, creating the Special Olympics, among many others, but this book quickly illuminated all of Eunice’s accomplishments, her strength of character, her passion in advocating for individuals with disabilities, and her love and devotion for her fam
Mar 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Kennedy Who Changed The World
Eileen McNamara

MY RATING ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
PUBLISHER Simon and Schuster
PUBLISHED April 3, 2018

Eunice is an incredibly informative and spellbinding biography about a woman who would not be written off, not by her father, not by her family nor by anyone who stood in her way.

While Joe Kennedy was grooming his sons for careers in politics, his daughters were largely invisible to him. They were not his priority. Eunice would allow her brothers to have the spot
4.5 Stars

The Shriver branch of the Kennedy family is my favorite. They don't get enough attention but they probably have done more for the world then the other branches combined.

Eunice Kennedy Shriver was the runt of the litter, she was a sickly child who despite having the best political mind in the family was constantly over looked because she was a woman. In the Kennedy family women were wives and mothers and nothing more. Had Eunice been born 20 years later she may have become President. Th
Hannah Simpson
May 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was one of the best biographies I’ve ever read and while part is due to the subject of Eunice K Shriver, a larger part is due to the immense talent of writer Eileen McNamara. It felt balanced and factual, yet narrative and sympathetic. The access McNamara had to Eunice’s children and sister-in-Law lent a personal quality that many biographies lack, while her deep public record spoke for itself.

In the end, I find myself motivated by Eunice’s life. Her commitment to her work makes me want to
Feb 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is a nonfiction biography of Eunice Kennedy Shriver. I loved the title by the time I finished this book because it rang so very true. She did so much good and truly made the world a better place to live. She experienced much tragedy in her life and she weathered it by not talking about it. Her whole family also took that same approach. That was sad.

Eunice accomplished so much in her life time. She really did shine. I liked that this book highlighted her strengths and how it showed her weak
Emily at Reaching While Rooted
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it
This woman was amazing. Although her work went largely unrecognized, Eunice’s activism helped shift the paradigm for people with disabilities. This well researched biography was filled with information, but was impartial so we truly got to see all parts of this charismatic woman’s personality. A little flat in the middle, but overall a good read
Feb 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing
An extremely well researched, well written book. Eileen McNamara brings alive Eunice Kennedy, with all her amazing drive and passion and flaws. She was a woman who I think never took no for an answer. She fought for the injustice she saw about her. She worked politically and hands on with those especially with intellectual disabilities and really did change the way these people were treated and seen. She was just so herself. A marriage that seems to have been successful on many plains and childr ...more
Stefanie Van Steelandt
Mar 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
When I started reading this book, I basically knew two things about Eunice Kennedy Shriver: she started the Special Olympics and she was Arnold Schwarzenegger’s mother-in-law. I have read many books on the Kennedys over the years, but information on Eunice is usually scant. The focus is on the Kennedy men most of the time, just as the focus of the Kennedy family - and especially the family patriarch Joseph Kennedy - was always on the men. This book does a tremendous job of showing what a force E ...more
I've had a "thing" for the Kennedys since I was in grade school, when I first found out about them. I've read about Papa Joe, Rose, JFK, RFK, and Teddy, but, until this year, never about any of the girls. This was very interesting to learn about this woman ahead of her time. She was a powerhouse, not very organized, but someone with fantastic ideas who would plant the seeds and then let others do the work to make things happen. She probably would not have accomplished as much as she did if her b ...more
Aug 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What an inspiring woman. I was born in the late 60's. I had no idea how many ways she changed social injustices and openned doors for the physical and mentally challenged. I know that I was a benefit of her hard work and dedication. The book was interesting and great tour of Kennedy history. ...more
K2 -----
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I am not a Kennedy buff but I am one who is interested in strong women's stories. This is certainly one.

Eunice was a force to be reckoned with and sounds like being around her sometimes could have been challenging, particularly if you worked for her. Because of her gender she was often sidelined by her family compared with her brothers but she was a powerful person behind them all. I was particularly interested in how the author would handle the subject of Rosemary, their sister who had intellec
Jul 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Excellent biography of an amazing woman who was the catalyst for the launch of the Special Olympics...Eunice Shriver made a difference in our world
Jul 31, 2021 rated it really liked it
Eunice Kennedy Shriver was an amazing woman. I had no idea she was so sickly throughout her life, with many hospitalizations. This makes it even more surprising that she was such a powerhouse in the fight for rights for the mentally and physically disabled. Eunice never sat still, she was always charging onward in the fight. She would pester, nag, call people at all hours of the day and night (she was an insomniac) and they would usually do her bidding. One thing that always astounds me in readi ...more
Oct 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Eunice Kennedy is a true hero. This book tells her story from her privileged childhood as a daughter of a Millionaire US Ambassador through her illustrious career as the director of the Kennedy Foundation where she established the Special Olympics to her life as a mother of five and wife for 50 years. Sister to a US President and 2 Sentors. Wife to an accomplished man responsible for the success of the Peace Corps and Head Start. "Eunice- The Kennedy that Changed the World" captures the complexi ...more
Jul 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
I’m glad I read this book, having a vicarious connection to Eunice via my friend Loretta Claiborne. It gave me some insight as to the reasons why Eunice treated people the way she did. Many thought her abrasive and short tempered but the author who was given access to the family’s vast array of letters to and from Eunice allowed me, the reader, to surmise what propelled Eunice to act as she did. Now when Loretta relates a “Eunice story”, I’m able to receive it with some foreknowledge of the woma ...more
Sep 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
Such an interesting woman. There are so many things she did that I am in awe of. Much of what she did in advocating for people with disabilities has shaped my own life's work without even realizing it. She was inspiring in how she never stopped advocating for the people she cared about. Eunice was also a bit frustrating in that she didn't recognize when to slow down or rest. What a well written book that showed all sides to this very interesting woman. ...more
Jan 01, 2020 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed reading about Eunice. I really had know idea about her huge influence on policy for people with disabilities. It was remarkable. I found her views on abortion thought provoking. The details into her personality and driven nature shard by her family were fascinating. The beginning chapters were a little slow to get through but did provide an important framework for understanding her personal and professional development.
Apr 20, 2020 rated it really liked it
Raised by a Kennedy-ophile, there have always been books about the Kennedy family on my bookshelves. Still, this book told me things I did not know before. This is a thoroughly researched, well-written account of arguably the most influential and politically savvy Kennedy of them all.

As one suspects was true of spending time with her in real life, there are moments where she was brash, unrelenting, dismissive, cold, followed by stories of her plopping down in a sandbox with her children and thei
Cassie Donald
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
I was very impressed by this fascinating woman and her story. I have always been a fan of the Kennedy family and Eunice's story puts her right on top with her brothers. She was amazing, inspiring, strong and passionate in spite of growing up in her brother's shadow. Her life and her accomplishments were eye-opening and impressive. ...more
Lisa  Carlson
Jun 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone
Recommended to Lisa by: Lori and Julia, My Talk 107.1
Shelves: biography
Boston Globe journalist, Pulitzer Prize winner and Director of journalism at Brandeis University Eileen McNamara has written an excellent, comprehensive, fascinating and relevant biography on the 5th child born to Joseph and Rose Kennedy. Eunice was one of 3 daughters in a family which has often been portrayed as royalty in the United States. For those of us who have read extensively about the family we've come to realize their flaws were like any other family but because this family had the nat ...more
Jun 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Eileen McNamara presents Eunice Kennedy Shriver as the compassionate woman who championed those with mental disabilities.
Mar 31, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
What an amazing woman! And at a time when women were taught and expected to be ONLY supportive and follow the rules, Eunice found a way leave an incredible legacy and be an inspiration to everyone.
Sep 16, 2021 rated it liked it
Dry and long. Not a necessary read.
Jul 20, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was poorly written, very scattered and difficult to read. This was a book club read and only 3 of us actually got through it. Sone even tried it on audio after giving up on the book and still couldn’t get into it. It was not what I thought it would be. It was not what I would consider to be a biography of Eunice but more of a very light touch on the Kennedy clan. It did however intrigue me to do research as I was reading as there was very little detail and a whole lot of name dropping. ...more
May 17, 2019 rated it it was ok
It was an long painful drawn out story.
Sep 27, 2021 rated it really liked it
Had it not been a book club read, I may not have picked up this biography. Turns out it is very well researched, presented in an interesting manner and includes photos. Thankfully, Ms McNamara did levee her content mainly to Eunice, yet included other Kennedy clan members as part of Eunice's story.
A devout Roman Catholic, raised in wealth by a family that advocated patriotism, a superior work ethic, volunteerism as well as male chauvinism, Eunice, always frail and sickly, was intelligent, and d
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book and I learned so much.
Andy Miller
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was a very thorough and balanced biography of the Kennedy daughter who many argue would have been the best President of any of the Kennedy children if she had been born in a different time or a different gender.
The book first details what it was like to grow up as Kennedy. While Joe loved all his children, he treated the boys differently, nurturing their ambition and career. Rose comes off poorly, a distant mother who seems to appear when it is time for judgmental nags. Eunice was as compet
Janet Nickels
Feb 28, 2018 rated it really liked it
I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. I've read many biographies about the Kennedy family but they tend to skim over the daughters. Eileen McNamara manages to give a rather unflinching look at the astonishing life of Eunice Kennedy Shriver without succumbing to the urge to romanticize her subject. The book does not delve to deeply into the political years or her person life, it is more overview of her life and how events shaped it. This is not a book that contains a bun ...more
Debra Oliva
Mar 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wanted to read this book because, although I only knew that Eunice Kennedy Shriver started the Special Olympics, was a devout Catholic and raised 5 children; I wanted to know more. I remember watching her funeral and I thought at the time – she has more admirers than most of her brothers.
This book shows the reader what an astonishing force Eunice was in her own right, and her amazing accomplishments. In my opinion, she is on a higher pedestal than her more famous brothers. She was a good wife
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