Before Camelot

The Patriarch
The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy
David Nasaw
The Penguin Press, $40, 868 pp.

I began reading this book fully expecting it to affirm my pre-existing low opinion of its protagonist. I finished it persuaded that Joseph P. Kennedy was easily the most formidable and most interesting member of the clan that owes its prominence in American life to his shrewd and unstinting exertions.

Let us not confuse formidability with likeability or virtue, however. As David Nasaw, professor of history at the City University of...

The remainder of this article is only available to paid subscribers.

Print subscribers to Commonweal are entitled to free access to all premium online content. Click here to purchase a print subscription, or if you’re already a print subscriber, register now for premium access.

Online-only subscriptions provide access to all premium online articles for just $34/year or $2.95/month. Click here to subscribe.

Registered users, please log in below:

Or log in with...


About the Author

Andrew J. Bacevich is a professor of history and international relations emeritus at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies.