Hostage to fortune : the letters of Joseph P. Kennedy /
edited by Amanda Smith.
New York : Viking, 2001.
xxxvi, 764 p., [16] p. of plates : ill. ; 25 cm.
0670869694 (alk. paper)
More Details
New York : Viking, 2001.
0670869694 (alk. paper)
catalogue key
Includes bibliographical references and index.
A Look Inside
About the Author
Author Affiliation
Amanda Smith is Joseph P. Kennedy's granddaughter. She is a graduate student at Harvard University. She lives in Washington, D.C.
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2001-02-01:
Access to the private letters of Joseph P. Kennedy at the John F. Kennedy Library has been restricted to all but a few authors; others have had to locate his letters among the papers of those with whom he corresponded. As noted by Smith, his granddaughter and a graduate student at Harvard, this situation has created an incomplete and unbalanced picture of the man. In editing this collection, she draws largely on material in the Kennedy libraryDexcept for some letters she herself uncovered in an abandoned garret on Long IslandDin an effort to create a more balanced picture of her grandfather. The result has significant strengths and weaknesses. For the first time, readers can see an orderly presentation of the words of one of the most enigmatic Kennedys as he operates largely behind the scenes and eventually sees his son rise to the presidency. Perhaps the most fascinating aspect of these letters is the extent to which Joseph P. Kennedy's public and private lives were inextricably linked. Unfortunately, as in any collection of this sort, the editor's family ties have added insight but may have blinded her to opportunities a less subjective expert might have explored more effectively. Despite its shortcomings, this book will be a useful addition to all libraries with readers who want to know more about the Kennedy family. Since the Kennedy family seems intent on carefully guarding access to these papers, the sample here will be extremely useful to scholars.DCharles K. Piehl, Minnesota State Univ., Mankato (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2001-01-01:
This volumeÄcovering the life of Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. as a family man, businessman and ambassador to the Court of St. JamesÄdoes not limit itself to letters written by the progenitor of a political dynasty. It also includes much correspondence from his wife, Rose, and his children through nearly five decades (1914-1961), along with carefully chosen entries from his journals, which SmithÄa Kennedy granddaughterÄclaims preserves, as much as possible, an accurate account of the private and public man. The journals, like the letters, have up to now been embargoed by the family, and generally unavailable to scholars; therefore this volume is welcome. More discerning readers, however, aware of Kennedy's well-documented (by Richard Mahoney, Ron Kessler and others) business skulduggery, political opportunism, anti-Semitism and cowardice in the face of Nazism, will find that this collection offers a sanitized, whitewashed image. Smith allows Kennedy's blatantly untrue, disingenuous and self-serving statements to stand unchallenged. The journal accounts concerning meetings with FDR, for example, flatly disagree with the published records of other participants, not to mention with FDR's own secret Oval Office tapes. Still, for the record, these documents are worth having; for the reader familiar with the Kennedy literature, they do much to fill out a portrait of a fascinating clan and a fascinating man. (Jan.) Forecast: First serial rights have been sold to the New Yorker, and the book will be supported by a four-city author tour. There does seem to be an insatiable hunger for Kennedy books, but this one is not likely to have the kind of sales that Sarah Bradford's American Queen is enjoying. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
This item was reviewed in:
Library Journal, September 2000
Booklist, January 2001
Kirkus Reviews, January 2001
Publishers Weekly, January 2001
Washington Post, January 2001
Globe & Mail, February 2001
Library Journal, February 2001
Los Angeles Times, February 2001
Los Angeles Times, December 2001
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Bowker Data Service Summary
Joseph P. Kennedy remains one of the most enigmatic and controversial figures in American history. In this book, the author has unearthed an extraordinary treasure in her grandfather's correspondence and several unseen photographs.
Publisher Fact Sheet
For Amanda Smith, as she set about to collect & assemble the written legacy left behind by her grandfather, Joseph P. Kennedy, the last five years have been a process of discovery. Smith has unearthed an extraordinary treasure of correspondence -- almost sixty percent has never been seen before, beginning with letters from 1914. There is correspondence with his wife & nine children, & with the great figures of the age -- Roosevelt, Churchill, Chamberlain, Pope Pius XII, & Charles Lindbergh. This collection is extremely readable & a work of great historical importance.
Unpaid Annotation
Joseph P. Kennedy remains one of the most enigmatic and controversial figures in American history. From his humble beginnings as the son of Irish immigrants to his meteoric rise to statesman, diplomat, and finally to First Father, he has been both beloved and vilified. In Hostage to Fortune: The Letters of Joseph P. Kennedy, Amanda Smith has unearthed an extraordinary treasure of her grandfather's correspondence and several previously unseen photographs in a collection that reveals his metamorphoses. It is not only a living history of Kennedy's life, but also a revelation of his vision of his own family as the embodiment of the American dream.In the only firsthand record of his life, Hostage to Fortune begins in I914, with the honeymoon of Joe and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy in Atlantic City and ends in I96I with Joe's disabling stroke. In between, we see the public and private Kennedy -- father, husband, film producer, and New Deal government official. The correspondence between his wife and nine children is a completely loving one that too often ends in loss and grief. His relationships with the great figures of the age -- Roosevelt,
Table of Contents
Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. xiii
Editor's Notep. xxix
Boston 1914-1927p. 1
Lettersp. 14
New York and Hollywood, 1927-1932p. 55
Lettersp. 68
Washington, 1933-1937p. 105
Lettersp. 116
London, 1938-1940p. 221
Lettersp. 235
Semiretirement, 1941-1961p. 509
Lettersp. 524
Notesp. 701
Bibliographyp. 723
Indexp. 739
Table of Contents provided by Syndetics. All Rights Reserved.

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