True Compass: A Memoir
Edward M. Kennedy
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Edward M. Kennedy is widely regarded as one of the great Senators in the nation's history. He is also the patriarch of America's most heralded family. In this landmark autobiography, five years in the making, Senator Kennedy speaks with unprecedented candor about his extraordinary life.
The youngest of nine children born to Joseph P. Kennedy and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy, he came of age among siblings from whom much was expected. As a young man, he played a key role in the presidential campaign of his brother, John F. Kennedy. In 1962, he was elected to the U.S. Senate, where he learned how to become an effective legislator.
His life has been marked by tragedy and perseverance, a love for family and an abiding faith. He writes movingly of his brothers and their influence on him; his years of struggle in the wake of their deaths; his marriage to the woman who changed his life, Victoria Reggie Kennedy; his role in the major events of our time (from the civil rights movement to the election of Barack Obama); and how his recent diagnosis of a malignant brain tumor has given even greater urgency to his long crusade for improved health care for all Americans.
Written with warmth, wit, and grace, True Compass is Edward M. Kennedy's inspiring legacy to readers and to history.
You can do it. It’s possible. It’s feasible. We’re prepared to help you do it,” he felt an obligation to do something. Our organizational meetings shifted in tone from “further discussion” to “campaign mode.” We assigned key people to campaign tasks—organizing volunteers, arranging an itinerary. By the middle of March, Bobby was perhaps 90 percent resolved that he would run, but he held back, pending one final consultation with Eugene McCarthy, whose viability could not be dismissed. I flew to
from the new president and First Lady was to a screening of Thirteen Days, the new movie about the Cuban Missile Crisis starring Kevin Costner as Jack’s aide Kenny O’Donnell. The screening was held on Thursday night, February 1, 2001, the day the Senate voted to confirm John Ashcroft as attorney general by a vote of fifty-eight to forty-two. I recognized this invitation as a gesture of respect and goodwill from the president and took it as a harbinger of cooperation in the months ahead. In that
about bigotry, he slapped an Elvis Presley record on the turntable, thanked me, and sent me on my way. I had no idea how I’d be treated by the crowd as I stepped outside, but a number of the people called out supportive comments to me, which went a long way toward calming me. Later I learned from the chamber of commerce president that the radioman was a Baptist minister, and that he had treated me to one of his past sermons. The rest of my appearances were not nearly so unpleasant. I showed up
trip together, Jack grabbed the telephone and rang up a Senate Foreign Relations staff member named Carl Marcy. Marcy told him that a group of senators had left on a fact-finding tour of West Africa just two days earlier. “If your brother leaves tonight,” Marcy said, “he can catch up with them in Salisbury, Rhodesia. He can take an overnight flight to London. We’ll set up briefings for him the next day. Then he’ll go overnight again to Cairo, and get on an eleven o’clock plane and fly six hours
world’s enlightened societies supported his quest. In the spring of 1965, a voting rights bill was making its way through both houses. Its cosponsors were Mike Mansfield and Everett Dirksen. It aimed to expand upon the Civil Rights Act’s social impact by outlawing literacy tests and other impediments long enshrined in southern state laws to discourage Negro voting. Some Judiciary members, myself included, believed that the bill did not go far enough, and that liberal lawmakers had not been