Kennedys Amidst the Gathering Storm: A Thousand Days in London, 1938-1940
Author: Will Swift
In The Kennedys Amidst the Gathering Storm, Will Swift presents a fresh, empathetic interpretation of the ambassadorship of Joseph Kennedy and explores the intricate, often shifting relationships among Kennedy, Chamberlain, Churchill, and, of course, Roosevelt.
Arriving in London in early 1938, the Irish-Catholic Kennedys were welcomed by politicians, aristocrats, and intellectuals, all eager to court America. They finally appeared to have overcome their lifelong status as outsiders. From 1938 to 1940, the Kennedys crystallized their identity as protagonists on the world stage, making public the competitive and clannish intrafamily dynamics that would fuel their mythic rise to power. They all learned from their father's successes—and failures. The older children—Joe Jr., Jack, and Kathleen—took an active part in England's glittering, "last fling before the bombs fall" society, but all nine children charmed, their every move chronicled by the British and American media. John F. Kennedy's path to the White House began in London. As his father's political fortunes dimmed, Jack published a best-selling book and his star rose.
Drawing on recently released Kennedy family archives, Joseph P. Kennedy's private papers, and using rare photographs of English society and the photogenic Kennedy clan, Dr. Swift, with penetrating psychological insight, brings to life this fascinating family during a dramatic one thousand day period.
The Washington Post - Lynne Olson
Swift, a clinical psychologist, does an admirable job of depicting Kennedy the man, an Irish Catholic outsider who spent most of his life trying to "defuse his profound sense of being a second-class citizen" by seeking acceptance from the WASP establishment.
Clinical psychologist and historian Swift (The Roosevelts and the Royals) capably documents Joseph P. Kennedy's troubled tenure as American minister to the Court of St. James's, and the experiences of his family during these years, aiming to present a "fair and comprehensive" portrait of a man he says has been caricatured by other historians. But Kennedy's flaws still appear to outweigh his virtues. He proved a problem to FDR almost immediately, casting his lot with such British appeasers as Neville Chamberlain, Nancy Astor and others of the so-called Cliveden set. This earned him the enmity of Winston Churchill and criticism from such administration figures as Henry Morgenthau Jr., Cordell Hull and FDR himself, who had to regularly remind Kennedy that his role was to implement, not define, United States policy. Kennedy lasted just over two years, during which his second eldest son, Jack, became a bestselling author with Why England Slept. Eldest son Joe Jr. toured war-torn Spain and wrote articles in support of Franco's Fascist forces. And daughter Kathleen ("Kick") became immersed in aristocratic British nightlife, meeting Billy Cavendish-the marquess of Hartington and a Protestant-to whom she would eventually be married, to her Catholic mother's horror. All this Swift narrates with grace and style. Illus. and photos. (May)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Karl Helicher - Library Journal
In 1938, Franklin D. Roosevelt, to his lasting regret, appointed Joseph Kennedy ambassador to the Court of St. James. Kennedy spent three years in Great Britain, during that uneasy time when it was threatened by the Nazis' European conquests and by American isolationism that left it without financial or military support. Swift (The Roosevelts and the Royals: Franklin and Eleanor, the King and Queen of England, and the Friendship That Saved History) offers a revisionist portrayal of Kennedy, who became one of the most hated men in England. Swift downplays Kennedy's anti-Semitism by claiming that he did more for Jewish refugees than FDR's other European ambassadors. He explains Kennedy's rants about Great Britain's inevitable defeat by stating that he was echoing, not creating, U.S. sentiment. After his 1940 resignation, he devoted his life to promoting the political careers of sons John, Robert, and Ted, as well as encouraging the professional lives of his other children, who, Swift says, benefited from their father's public-mindedness but were also conflicted by his flaws. This well-told account takes a less harsh view of Joseph Kennedy than Ronald Kessler's Sins of the Father: Joseph P. Kennedy and the Dynasty He Foundedand Edward J. Renehan Jr.'s The Kennedys at War, 1937-1945. Recommended for public libraries.
A sympathetic reappraisal of Joseph P. Kennedy's controversial tenure as America's ambassador to Britain. With the European dictators Mussolini and Hitler becoming increasingly belligerent, Kennedy's 1938 appointment to the Court of St. James's came at an especially dangerous time. The first Irish-Catholic ever to fill the distinguished position, the successful businessman actively sought the honor. Despite friends' warnings that his background, temperament and talents ill-suited him for the job, Kennedy headed for London intent on keeping the United States neutral in the war everyone feared was approaching. At first, along with his large and attractive family, he charmed all of London. In a detailed text that never becomes tedious, Swift (The Roosevelts and the Royalty, 2004, etc.) explains how it all turned sour and how the ambassadorship quickly morphed from a glittering culmination into the sad undoing of Kennedy's public-service career. While he concedes that Kennedy's own ambition, independence, pride, stubbornness and thin skin contributed to his failure, Swift insists, for the most part persuasively, that the old fox was himself outfoxed by FDR, who knew precisely how to manipulate him. Kennedy's isolationism, his fear of the devastation that would be wrought by a second world war, Swift reminds us, perfectly mirrored popular opinion in the United States. Focusing primarily on how the ambassador gradually lost the confidence of both the U.S. and British governments, Swift also pays significant attention to Rose, who reveled in the social status accorded the ambassador's wife; to daughter Kathleen, who became something of a debutante sensation; to sons Joe Jr. and Jack, who servedintermittently as aides to their father; and to an array of famous names-Nancy Astor, Clare Booth Luce, Neville Chamberlain, Lord Halifax, Winston Churchill, Charles Lindbergh, Pope Pius XXII-who were all part of the Kennedys' orbit. An admirably balanced assessment of an enormously complicated man who, wrongly but not ignobly, stood athwart history. Agent: Judith Riven/Judith Riven Literary Agent
Table of Contents:
Prologue: Twisting the Lion's Tail 1
1 Into the Lion's Mouth 11
2 A Hole-in-One 21
3 Pilgrims from the New World 33
4 A Season of Unprecedented Abandon 47
5 Honor and Humiliation 59
6 "Grave Danger in the Air" 76
7 Jubilation and Shame 91
8 Outrage 103
9 Praying for Peace 155
10 A Jittery Winter 129
11 Blitzkrieg Against Denial 138
12 Encirclement 148
13 The Last Whirl 159
14 The Glittering Twilight 173
15 The Party Is On 188
16 "A Damned Disagreeable Life" 201
17 Shutting Down the Pipeline 211
18 Missing the Bus 223
19 "Tumbled to Bits in a Moment" 234
20 Narrow Escapes 244
21 "Waiting for the Curtain to Go Up" 258
22 "There's Hell to Pay Here Tonight" 269
23 "Telling the World of Our Hopes" 283
Epilogue: "The Crowns of Suffering" 297
Source Notes 315
Obama: From Promise to Power
Author: David Mendell
David Mendell has covered Obama since the beginning of his campaign for the Senate and as a result enjoys far-reaching access to the new Senator--both his professional and personal life. He uses this access to paint a very intimate portrait of Obama and his life pre and post Senate, including Obama's new status as a sex symbol now that going into a crowd to shake hands with constituents carries the added concern of being groped by women, and the toll this has had on his marriage. Mendell also describes the dirty tactics sanctioned by Obama--who has steeped his image and reputation on the ideals of clean politics and good government--to win his Senate seat by employing David Axelrod, a Chicago-based political consultant (consultant to the John Edwards's campaign) with what the author describes as "an appetite for the Big Kill."
Mendell also positions Barack Obama as in fact the Savior of a fumbling Democratic party, who is potentially orchestrating a career in Senate to guarantee him at the very least a vice presidential nod, if not a nod for the top job in 2008. The dream ticket would be Hilary Clinton-Barack Obama given his reception at the Democratic National Convention in 2004. Because he enjoys popularity among Whites (particularly suburban White women) and Blacks, it might not be such a far-fetched idea.