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True Compass: A Memoir Paperback – Apr 13 2011

4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 560 pages
  • Publisher: Twelve; Reprint edition (April 13 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0446539260
  • ISBN-13: 978-0446539265
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 4.4 x 22.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 662 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars 13 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #470,349 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description


"[A] deeply affecting memoir... he writes with searching candor about the losses, joys and lapses of his life; the love and closeness of his family; the solace he found in sailing and the sea; his complex relationships with political allies and rivals. Mr. Kennedy's conversational gifts as a storyteller and his sense of humor -- so often remarked on by colleagues and friends -- shine through here, as does his old-school sense of public service and his hard-won knowledge, in his son Teddy Jr.'s words, that 'even our most profound losses are survivable.'"―Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

"Teddy has made a final, persuasive case for why he may actually be his family's greatest torchbearer."―TIME

"Often touching . . . After a life chronicled in tabloid chatter and often vicious editorial cartoons, Kennedy tells his own story here, expansively yet selectively, portraying himself as a dedicated, loving, flesh-and-blood figure who, despite being born well, had to prove himself. And the person, to whom he most had to do that is clearly etched in these pages. It was neither his famous brothers, nor his pious mother, Rose, nor even himself, but his controversial father, Joseph P. Kennedy Sr. . . This is a book that all but the most toxic Kennedy critic could love . . . Later, there is much substance about his political life. His accounts are richly detailed. As a reporter covering Kennedy decades ago, I learned that he was keeping a diary and knew what a treasure it would someday be. It is. The best insights are perhaps his accounts of Senate maneuverings prior to the impeachment of Bill Clinton, his advocacy for peace in Northern Ireland, the misgivings that he and Robert both had about Vietnam, and the run-up to the latter's presidential campaign and subsequent murder in 1968 . . . He writes with great affection of dating and marrying the warmly elegant Vicki Reggie. The memoir is dedicated to her."―The Boston Globe, Boston Globe

"Touchingly candid, big-hearted and altogether superb . . . Completed in the shadow of the senator's own mortality, this is a book whose clarity of recollection and expression entitles it to share in the lineage established by America's first great memoir of public life -- 'The Autobiography of U.S. Grant,' which he wrote while himself dying of cancer . . . Kennedy was a devoted diarist whose natural gifts as a storyteller and as a sharp, painterly observer shine through every page . . . In the weeks leading up to [the] publication of TRUE COMPASS, much of the obvious 'news' in this book was leaked to the press . . . What's far more remarkable about this memoir is its capacious and generous spirit . . . TRUE COMPASS reminds us -- we

're all the poorer for his absence."
Los Angeles Times

"Based on 50 years of notes and journal entries, this monumentally moving memoir illuminates nearly every aspect of the late senator's personal and public life and times. With incomparable wit and candor, Kennedy offers up his perspective on Senate colleagues, Presidents past, and most of all himself, revealing the tarnish along with the triumphs . . . Deeply affecting on the subjects of grief, his battle with brain cancer and his devotion to family, sailing and the Senate, this is an astonishingly intimate self-portrait of a man whose belief that 'if you persevere . . . you have a real opportunity to achieve something 'was born out by his extraordinary life."―People

About the Author

Edward M. Kennedy has represented Massachusetts in the United States Senate for forty-seven years. In 2004 he began interviews at the Miller Center of the University of Virginia for an oral history project about his life. Since then, he has drawn from his fifty years of contemporaneous notes from his personal diaries and worked closely on this book with Pulitzer Prize winner Ron Powers, coauthor of Flags of Our Fathers and author of Mark Twain: A Life.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As political memoirs go, Ted Kennedy's "True Compass" is a decent effort at setting the record straight on the Kennedy legacy, given all its many controversies and distorting myths. To create an accurate rendition of how he, the senator from Massachusetts, fits into this 'dynastic' family, Kennedy treats his reader to an extensive but rambling description of the years he and brothers, Jack and Bobby, spent ascending to and experiencing power in Washington. While this lengthy review covers all the political bases including some failed runs at the presidency, it also pays considerable homage to his parents, his other siblings, and his own family. Reading this book should reinforce the belief that this generation of Kennedys was a very closely-knit and loyal one who learned, like the nobility of old, to never complain about adversity, and there was plenty of it. It is amazing how Kennedy, in the debilitated state that he was in 2009, could command so much anecdoctal detail for writing this autobiography. It is this attribute that really makes for a compelling and enlightening read about where the Kennedys were on the big stage of history when the important events took place either on the floor of the senate or in the capitals of the world. Whatever opinion you might hold about Ted Kennedy's private life - several of the embarrassing and awkward incidents are mentioned, including a few explanatory words about Chappaquiddick - the man's legislative record is pretty impressive on healthcare reform and related domestic matters. By championing this cause and other international ones like nuclear disarmament, Kennedy not only redeemed his tarnished image as an insensitive, lazy rich boy, but became known as a 'friend' of the poor and a respected leader in the Senate.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover
As a dual citizen with my paternal roots laying in boston mass, i bought this book naturally for my love of the kennedy's and teddy particularly. I was prepared for a more difficult read, but was pleasantly surprised. I CANNOT put this book down. Ted Kennedy tells is like it is, the bad and the good, and makes the reader feel like part of the kennedy family themselves. I highly recommend this book for anyone! Even if you not interested in politics, you'll appreciate this memior that reads more like a story of life!

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Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonderful read. The late Senator has written an interesting, warm, at times humorous, and touching memoir. After reading the book, I felt I had a more complete vision of what he was about and who he was as a man. Seeing the events of his life, both tragic and joyous, through his eyes gives a fascinating glimpse of what it was like for him and his family. The theme of redemption flows through the pages. Highly recommended!
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Format: Hardcover
This was definitely the best non fiction book I read this year. Not since Winston Churchill have we seen such an articulate account of history from one on the inside. The sweetness of Ted Kennedy's personality and the warmth of his authentic voice virtually sings from the page. I cannot recommend this highly enough. This book is a living rose.
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Format: Hardcover
I have been an admirer of the Kennedy family for decades now and this book just ignited that love all the more. Yes, he was flawed, yes, he made mistakes, he was a human being like the rest of us - he talks very openly about that in the book. The difference is he learned from each moment in life and gave of himself more than anyone. As a politician, he became a 'lion' but with a very big heart. I had the privilege of meeting him in the late 1970's on a trip to DC with my mom. Although he was late to get to the Capital for a vote, he took his time chatting with us, signing autographs and posing for a picture with me. Then he shocked us by suggesting we take a picture with all "3 of us" (my mom, me and him). He got his aid to take the picture and then insisted I send it back and he would sign it - which he did. In my short time with him, I felt like the most important person in the world and I was just a teenage Canadian on vacation. Reading this book reminded me of how he treated my mom and I, clearly that's how he treated everyone - as if they were the most important person in the world. He was a great man and passed down his values and love for service to his children and his brothers' children. To read a book written about him BY him was a gift to his family, friends and all of us who strive to live a life as full and giving as he did. Thank you Senator Kennedy!
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By EA Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on May 16 2010
Format: Hardcover
I have to admit from the start: I am not a fan of Edward Kennedy, or of the Kennedy family in general.

But with Kennedy's autobiography "True Compass: A Memoir," I did my best to embrace objectivity. And it's an interesting albeit deeply flawed book -- a look at the slow decline of a once-powerful political dynasty, vast world changes, and a world that changed drastically due to war and massive political shifts. But at the same time, Kennedy whitewashes the entire family and skims over their uglier moments and recorded sins.

You know the drill: Edward Moore Kennedy was born to the wealthy and connected Joseph and Rose Kennedy, as part of a vast brood of energetic kids. And of course, Kennedy was the younger brother of the revered president John F. Kennedy, and his almost-as-adored brother Robert Kennedy. He followed his brothers into public office, becoming an outspoken member of the U.S. Senate... but those brothers were both assassinated in the space of a few years, and Kennedy himself nearly was paralyzed in a plane crash.

He also charged ahead with his strong viewpoints on health care and the controversial Vietnam War, and even flirted with the idea of running for president himself. But he also was involved in some seedy and sometimes deadly scandals: particularly the Chappaquiddick incident, resulting in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne (whom Kennedy unconvincingly insists he was TOTALLY not involved with), and the rape of a young woman by his nephew. It also explores how he remarried late in life (after his mostly-ignored first marriage to Joan Kennedy), and how his determination to uphold the Democratic party even led him to make a speech when seriously ill with cancer.
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