One of People’s Top Ten Books of 2015

"[Larson] succeeds in providing a well-rounded portrait of a woman who, until now, has never been viewed in full."—Boston Globe

​“A biography that chronicles her life with fresh details . . . By making Rosemary the central character, [Larson] has produced a valuable account of a mental health tragedy and an influential family’s belated efforts to make amends.” — New York Times Book Review
 
Joe and Rose Kennedy’s strikingly beautiful daughter Rosemary attended exclusive schools, was presented as a debutante to the queen of England, and traveled the world with her high-spirited sisters. Yet Rosemary was intellectually disabled, a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family.

In Rosemary, Kate Clifford Larson uses newly uncovered sources to bring Rosemary Kennedy’s story to light. Young Rosemary comes alive as a sweet, lively girl adored by her siblings. But Larson also reveals the often desperate and duplicitous arrangements the Kennedys made to keep her away from home as she became increasingly difficult in her early twenties, culminating in Joe’s decision to have Rosemary lobotomized at age twenty-three and the family’s complicity in keeping the secret. Only years later did the Kennedy siblings begin to understand what had happened to Rosemary, which inspired them to direct government attention and resources to the plight of the developmentally and mentally disabled, transforming the lives of millions.
 
“The forgotten Kennedy is forgotten no longer. Rosemary is a rare thing, a book about the Kennedys that has something new to say.” — Laurence Leamer, author of The Kennedy Women
 
“Heartbreaking.” — Wall Street Journal
Harriet Tubman is one of the giants of American history—a fearless visionary who led scores of her fellow slaves to freedom and battled courageously behind enemy lines during the Civil War. And yet in the nine decades since her death, next to nothing has been written about this extraordinary woman aside from juvenile biographies. The truth about Harriet Tubman has become lost inside a legend woven of racial and gender stereotypes. Now at last, in this long-overdue biography, historian Kate Clifford Larson gives Harriet Tubman the powerful, intimate, meticulously detailed life she deserves.

Drawing from a trove of new documents and sources as well extensive genealogical research, Larson reveals Tubman as a complex woman— brilliant, shrewd, deeply religious, and passionate in her pursuit of freedom. The descendant of the vibrant, matrilineal Asanti people of the West African Gold Coast, Tubman was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland but refused to spend her life in bondage. While still a young woman she embarked on a perilous journey of self-liberation—and then, having won her own freedom, she returned again and again to liberate family and friends, tapping into the Underground Railroad.

Yet despite her success, her celebrity, her close ties with Northern politicians and abolitionists, Tubman suffered crushing physical pain and emotional setbacks. Stripping away myths and misconceptions, Larson presents stunning new details about Tubman’s accomplishments, personal life, and influence, including her relationship with Frederick Douglass, her involvement with John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry, and revelations about a young woman who may have been Tubman’s daughter. Here too are Tubman’s twilight years after the war, when she worked for women’s rights and in support of her fellow blacks, and when racist politicians and suffragists marginalized her contribution.

Harriet Tubman, her life and her work, remain an inspiration to all who value freedom. Now, thanks to Larson’s breathtaking biography, we can finally appreciate Tubman as a complete human being—an American hero, yes, but also a woman who loved, suffered, and sacrificed. Bound for the Promised Land is a magnificent work of biography, history, and truth telling.
They were the most prominent American family of the twentieth century. The daughter they secreted away made all the difference.Joe and Rose Kennedy's strikingly beautiful daughter Rosemary attended exclusive schools, was presented as a debutante to the queen of England, and traveled the world with her high-spirited sisters. And yet, Rosemary was intellectually disabled-a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family.Major new sources-Rose Kennedy's diaries and correspondence, school and doctors' letters, and exclusive family interviews-bring Rosemary to life as a girl adored but left far behind by her competitive siblings. Kate Larson reveals both the sensitive care Rose and Joe gave to Rosemary and then, as the family's standing reached an apex, the often desperate and duplicitous arrangements the Kennedys made to keep her away from home as she became increasingly intractable in her early twenties. Finally, Larson illuminates Joe's decision to have Rosemary lobotomized at age twenty-three and the family's complicity in keeping the secret.Rosemary delivers a profoundly moving coda: JFK visited Rosemary for the first time while campaigning in the Midwest; she had been living isolated in a Wisconsin institution for nearly twenty years. Only then did the siblings understand what had happened to Rosemary and bring her home for loving family visits. It was a reckoning that inspired them to direct attention to the plight of the disabled, transforming the lives of millions.
Harriet Tubman is one of the giants of American history-a fearless visionary who led scores of her fellow slaves to freedom and battled courageously behind enemy lines during the Civil War. And yet in the century since her death, next to nothing has been written about this extraordinary woman aside from juvenile biographies. The truth about Harriet Tubman has become lost inside a legend woven of racial and gender stereotypes. Now at last, historian Kate Clifford Larson gives Harriet Tubman the powerful, intimate, meticulously detailed biography she deserves.Drawing from a trove of new documents and sources as well extensive genealogical research, Larson reveals Tubman as a complex woman. The descendant of the vibrant, matrilineal Asante people of the African Gold Coast, Tubman was born into slavery on the Eastern Shore of Maryland but refused to spend her life in bondage. While still a young woman she embarked on a perilous journey of self-liberation-and then, having won her own freedom, she returned again and again to liberate family and friends, tapping into the Underground Railroad.Yet despite her success, her celebrity, and her close ties with Northern politicians and abolitionists, Tubman suffered crushing physical pain and emotional setbacks. Stripping away myths and misconceptions, Larson presents stunning new details about Tubman's accomplishments, personal life, and influence. Here too are Tubman's twilight years after the war, when she worked for women's rights and in support of her fellow blacks, and when racist politicians and suffragists marginalized her contribution.Harriet Tubman, her life, and her work remain an inspiration to all who value freedom. Now, thanks to Larson's breathtaking biography, we can finally appreciate Tubman as a complete human being-an American hero, yes, but also a woman who loved, suffered, and sacrificed. Bound for the Promised Land is a magnificent work of biography, history, and truth telling.
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