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Camelot's End: Kennedy vs. Carter and the Fight that Broke the Democratic Party
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Camelot's End: Kennedy vs. Carter and the Fight that Broke the Democratic Party

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  251 ratings  ·  42 reviews
From a strange, dark chapter in American political history comes the captivating story of Ted Kennedy's 1980 campaign for president against the incumbent Jimmy Carter, told in full for the first time.

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Published January 22nd 2019 by Twelve
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Jon Ward Hi, it's Jon Ward, the author. That language escaped my notice in the book production. I'm not sure how it got in there, and I had already planned to…moreHi, it's Jon Ward, the author. That language escaped my notice in the book production. I'm not sure how it got in there, and I had already planned to remove it on the paperback edition. Thanks for catching it. And Melissa is right: while I try to approach both Kennedy and Carter with an open mind and an open heart, and I look to affirm their qualities and achievements, I don't shy away from writing about Chappaquiddick or Kennedy's other moral shortcomings. Thanks! - Jon(less)
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3.96  · 
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 ·  251 ratings  ·  42 reviews


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Matt
Jan 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Many have heard the Kennedy family referred to as living in a modern Camelot. Powerful patriarch, Joseph, and his sons strove to make a difference in the political realm. But when did it all come to an end for them and how did America turn away from this glorified view of the Kennedys? Perhaps they never have, though Jon Ward argues that the political Camelot came crashing down with the 1980 Democratic National Convention, dragging the Party along with it. All this primarily due to an embittered ...more
Nancy
Feb 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: goodreads-win
Two flawed men.

Kennedy, carrying the heavy legacy of his patriot martyred brothers, a narcissist womanizer and drunkard yet developing into the 'conscious of his party." And Carter, a devout Christian, a political maverick, a man whose wide grin disguised a bulldog tenacity.

I could see it coming. As author Jon Ward unfolded the story of the 1980 presidential election campaign, I got to the 'ah ha' point of understanding the inevitability of the Democrats losing to the Republican candidate Ronal
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Steven Z.
Feb 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Today we find ourselves at the beginning of the 2020 presidential campaign even though the Iowa caucuses are eleven months away. It seems that each day another Democrat announces their candidacy, and President Trump does what President Trump does. Talking heads on cable news programs ask each candidate why they are running and what sets them apart from the competition. For me, it brings back memories of watching a 60 Minutes program in 1980 where Roger Mudd interviewed Ted Kennedy and asked him ...more
Kathleen
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First, it must be said that some commentators __ without reading the book __on the basis of a blurb have assumed that this book will be a celebration of Ted Kennedy. This was not the intent of the author. In fact, Ward says of Chappaquiddick :" The scandal could easily have resulted in prison time, and probably should have. Kopechne's death should have cost Kennedy his Senate seat, but it did not."

Instead CAMELOT'S END is a detailed, fascinating history of the contrasting lives of Jimmy Carter a
...more
Dave
Mar 03, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A good look at the 1980 Democratic primary.
Edward Kennedy challenged fellow Democrat and incumbent President Jimmy Carter. It was a bitter fight..
I was 12 in 1980 and while I remember a lot from that time, I didn't remember the Kennedy/Carter clash. (I was watching the Network TV premiere of JAWS the same night Ted Kennedy was on CBS, struggling to answer questions about Chappaquidick and why he wanted to be President)
I learned much about the Carter presidency. And about the time frame in gene
...more
Trey Grayson
Mar 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ward masterfully tells a story about which I only knew the most general outline. (Cut me some slack — I was 8 the 1980 presidential election!) Having met or heard stories about a number of the folks involved in that campaign made it even more interesting. Anyone interested in politics should read this book.
Inches
Jan 31, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The 1980 election marked the beginning of the Democrats gradual drifting to the right, culminating in its present state of Republican Light.
Brennan
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating read.
Douglas Graney
May 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like Carter so yes bias...but what a jerk Kennedy was on the last night of 1980 Democrat convention.
Good background on both and written in a fair manner.
Antonio Matta
Feb 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A marvelous account about the fight between two giants that ultimately shaped the face of the
modern Democratic Party.
John
Jan 30, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found it to be engrossing and well researched and a nice democratic-centric follow up to The Invisible Bridge by Perlstein.
Bookreporter.com Biography & Memoir
Though he's not known for his deep knowledge of American political history, with his approval ratings languishing in the mid-30s, President Trump could be excused if his thoughts occasionally turn to the last time an incumbent president faced a serious challenge to his renomination.

That contest --- the 1980 Democratic nomination fight between President Jimmy Carter and Massachusetts Senator Edward Kennedy --- is the subject of Yahoo News senior political correspondent Jon Ward's CAMELOT'S END: K
...more
Byron
In the midst of the current partisan political nightmare that plagues our country, I found this recounting of political intrigue of the 1970's into 1980 as a reminder that unpredictable things happen in presidential elections, and the current generation of politicians is not where dirty politics began. In fact, there are many things to like about what has happened in the 40 years since Carter was president, although we have been plagued by having humans taking on that role.

This book focuses on
...more
Brandt
Feb 08, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: non-fiction
This is an interesting yarn about Jimmy Carter and Ted Kennedy and how they pretty much hated each other and how that hatred was front and center in the 1980 campaign, where Kennedy had the brass to challenge a sitting president of his party in the primaries. Personally, I find it difficult to believe that Kennedy was even a viable candidate after he left Mary Jo Kopechne to drown at Chappaquiddick, but then again Donald Trump is president as of this writing so what do I know? But this book show ...more
Steven Voorhees
I strongly believe my interest in politics came from my mother and father. They were both really politically connected when I was a kid (my mother held public office when I was in elementary school). In 1980, when I was 9 years old, they had on television the Democratic National Convention, held at NY's Madison Square Garden. I watched it. I remember Sen. Ted Kennedy's stirring concession address ( ".. the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream shall never die.") the sight of both KE ...more
Caitlin Bronson
Feb 17, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars.

The narrative of the 1980 primary and the two colorful personalities that propelled it is super interesting, and Jon Ward does a serviceable job in telling it. I learned quite a bit about Kennedy and (especially) Carter, including how the events of the election shaped their later years.

Where I think the book fails to deliver is the second half of the title: "the fight that broke the Democratic Party." It actually makes me wonder if this was a publisher's decision, as Ward doesn't reall
...more
Jeff
May 21, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very good book. I can’t say that it broke new ground, for me as a person who has read a good deal of history I had read most of the stories and anecdotes. Still, it does provide a nice background of the story.

This would be a great book for someone wanting to acquit themselves with an important, under remembered time in politics. One of the more important lines of thought in the book was that for Kennedy, even as the odds became longer for him to succeed, the process of running, full
...more
Manuel González V.
A rigorous in-depth investigation of the last time (2020, meaby?) a sitting President of the US was challenge whithin his own party, but also the last Presidential race who had a Kennedy in it, so the thrilling rhythm Ward imposes from the beginning is exactly what the book needs. I picked up the book wherever and whenever I could in the week I read it, because it doesn’t slow down for a bit: you go from the origins of Carter and Teddy on to the battle for the soul of the Democratic Party and th ...more
Austin Crafton
An overall worthwhile read concerning two men that faced monumental defeats in 1980. The first half retreads quite a bit of familiar ground if you've read on Carter or Kennedy in the past, the latter half is where we get into the real reason for coming - A look back on a bitter, nasty primary election. If you're interested in political party mechanics or seeing how history essentially repeated itself in the 2016 primaries, there are interesting tidbits to be found. You'll also learn why sitting ...more
Steve Hill
Apr 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The dark story of the bitter struggle between Carter and Kennedy for the 1980 Democratic nomination for president. It was a difficult time in American history, the perfect setting for Reagan’s sunny personality. Both required time to recover from their losses, and both ultimate achieved greatness, Carter as our most accomplished ex-president and Kennedy as one of our greatest senators. The book provides a unique view of both men and pulls no punches in describing the harsh realities of ego-drive ...more
Stephen Gray
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
You guys remember when Ted Kennedy killed a woman while he was cheating on his wife, and then a decade later everyone pretended he was the epitome of moral character at the expense of Jimmy Carter, who is the actual paragon of virtue. Voters in 1980 sure were dum dums, not like well-read and informed voters of today

Anyway, this book made Jimmy Carter even more likable and Ted Kennedy even less likable. Also Georgia is cool and Massachusetts is for people who think Dunkin Donuts is fancy. 5 stars
Chris
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A really great read about the 1980 Democratic nomination fight between Carter and Kennedy. This is what I got: Carter was a mediocre president basically in over his head. Kennedy was slightly immoral and driven by demons (a notion not helped by my just having seen the movie "Chappaquiddick"). Great writing and pace and the book shows when a political party splinters and a candidate keeps running even when they have no chance of winning (ummm Bernie) it can cause the whole party to lose. None of ...more
Janine
Mar 10, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very well-written and interesting book about a chapter of American history that I did not know much about. It focuses on the fight for the Democratic nomination in 1980. President Carter was the incumbent and was challenged by Teddy Kennedy. Given the current political climate, it is interesting to consider a time where the incumbent president received a serious challenge from within his own party.
Robert
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was rich with details about both Carter and Kennedy, and the author worked hard to portray the two rivals as they really were. There is no sugarcoating the ugly race. Where I quibble with the book is it does not deliver the promise of how this race changed the Democratic Party. It certainly impacted both men but there was a lack of detail on how the Democratic Party as a whole was impacted either in policy or style.
Judyth Wier
Ward has not found is topic in this angry, missing the facts account of the Carter/Kennedy relationship. It is certainly not a testament to the end of the Democratic Party. There were nuggets where he could have exploded this but he stood them them up for childish pokes at both Kennedy and Carter. If I had read his acknowledgments first I probably would not have read the book.
Andrew Wilhelm
An interesting book, and a somewhat fresh take on a well traveled topic. Overall though nothing in the book was particularly earth shattering. Despite the title there was also no real commentary offered about how the events that took place in the 1980 primary or the Kennedy/Carter relationship shaped the future of the Democratic party.
Mehrsa
Apr 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book is interesting, but it fails to deliver what it promises. It's not at all about the fight that broke the democratic party. It's a mixed biography of Carter and Kennedy. There's not much about the current democratic party at all or even the next democratic administration that followed Carter's. The biographies are pretty interesting though.
Tina  Roper
Feb 25, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: giveaways
I won this book via Goodreads giveaway.
I found this to be very insightful, as there was much of the information that I hadn't known before I read this book. I recommend this to anyone interested in politics and our countries history. I will be passing this on to my husband for him to read.
DJ Cheek
Feb 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A great look at the 1980 primaries between Pres. Carter and Sen. Kennedy. Well researched and intriguing, the author makes clear the historical threads and parallels that connect the era to the present.
Kathleen
Who could be more dissimilar as politicians than Jimmy Carter and Edward Kennedy? Yet, this book claims what happened during the early 1980’s changed everything. It didn’t seem to be a very believable argument.
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