A Common Good: The Friendship of Robert F. Kennedy and Kenneth P. O’Donnell

Open Road Media
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An illuminating account of the history-making friendship between RFK and the chief of staff to JFK—a bond built on shared ideals, but severed by tragedy.

When they first met at Harvard in 1946, young Bobby Kennedy and Kenny O’Donnell could not have imagined where their lives would take them. Teammates on both the football and debate teams, they formed a partnership that would sustain them through the years, from Robert Kennedy’s tenure as attorney general to O’Donnell’s years as John F. Kennedy’s chief of staff. Together they lived, worked, and struggled through some of the most pivotal moments of the twentieth century, including the assassination of JFK in Dallas. Their harmonious relationship was cut short only by Bobby’s own tragic death.
 
With full access to the Kennedy family archives, Helen O’Donnell brings an inspiring personal and political alliance to life. With A Common Good, she amply fulfills the promise she made to her late father to honor and preserve his memories of Robert F. Kennedy for future generations.
 
Kirkus Reviews hails A Common Good as “a moving and intimate study of a unique friendship but also of the time and place, now long ago, in which this friendship formed and blossomed.” O’Donnell “set out to write ‘a good book about two good men.’ In this she has succeeded.”
 
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About the author

Helen O’Donnell is the daughter of John F. Kennedy’s top-gun political aide, Kenneth P. O’Donnell. Ms. O’Donnell is the author of A Common Good: The Friendship of Robert F. Kennedy and Kenneth P. O’Donnell. She also worked with Chris Matthews of MSNBC’s Hardball on his 2012 book Jack Kennedy: Elusive Hero.
A writer and producer, O’Donnell has written for publications including Town & Country, Cape Cod Magazine,and the Wrap. She also narrated the BBC Radio 4 program “JFK, Bobby and Dad,” which includes interviews by famed journalist Sander Vanocur of NBC and Christopher Kennedy Lawford.

She began her career working for the late senator Edward M. Kennedy before leaving for his Labor and Human Resources Committee as an assistant to Walter Sheridan, a longtime aide to Robert F. Kennedy, close friend to Kenneth O’Donnell, and head of the “get-Hoffa squad” during the John Kennedy administration. The experience served to further pique her interest in the topic of her father, the Kennedys, Marilyn Monroe, and the Rat Pack.

Recently, O’Donnell was featured in a KTLA documentary on Thirteen Days, a film about the Cuban Missile Crisis starring Kevin Costner as Kenny O’Donnell. She is currently writing a new book entitled The Washington Rat Pack about Frank Sinatra, Jack Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, and the heyday of the Rat Pack. She is also developing a film by the same name, one of several forthcoming works to be co-produced by her production company, Helen O’Donnell Media, of which she is CEO. O’Donnell also serves as president of the Kenneth P. O’Donnell Political Leadership Foundation, based in Burbank, California.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Open Road Media
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Published on
Oct 1, 2013
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Pages
438
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ISBN
9781480437791
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Language
English
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Genres
Biography & Autobiography / Historical
Biography & Autobiography / Political
History / United States / 20th Century
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Eligible for Family Library

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A warm, intimate account of the love between Eleanor Roosevelt and reporter Lorena Hickok—a relationship that, over more than three decades, transformed both women's lives and empowered them to play significant roles in one of the most tumultuous periods in American history

In 1932, as her husband assumed the presidency, Eleanor Roosevelt entered the claustrophobic, duty-bound existence of the First Lady with dread. By that time, she had put her deep disappointment in her marriage behind her and developed an independent life—now threatened by the public role she would be forced to play. A lifeline came to her in the form of a feisty campaign reporter for the Associated Press: Lorena Hickok. Over the next thirty years, until Eleanor’s death, the two women carried on an extraordinary relationship: They were, at different points, lovers, confidantes, professional advisors, and caring friends. 
 
They couldn't have been more different. Eleanor had been raised in one of the nation’s most powerful political families and was introduced to society as a debutante before marrying her distant cousin, Franklin. Hick, as she was known, had grown up poor in rural South Dakota and worked as a servant girl after she escaped an abusive home, eventually becoming one of the most respected reporters at the AP. Her admiration drew the buttoned-up Eleanor out of her shell, and the two quickly fell in love. For the next thirteen years, Hick had her own room at the White House, next door to the First Lady. 
 
These fiercely compassionate women inspired each other to right the wrongs of the turbulent era in which they lived. During the Depression, Hick reported from the nation’s poorest areas for the WPA, and Eleanor used these reports to lobby her husband for New Deal programs. Hick encouraged Eleanor to turn their frequent letters into her popular and long-lasting syndicated column "My Day," and to befriend the female journalists who became her champions. When Eleanor’s tenure as First Lady ended with FDR's death, Hick pushed her to continue to use her popularity for good—advice Eleanor took by leading the UN’s postwar Human Rights Commission. At every turn, the bond these women shared was grounded in their determination to better their troubled world.
 
Deeply researched and told with great warmth, Eleanor and Hick is a vivid portrait of love and a revealing look at how an unlikely romance influenced some of the most consequential years in American history.
The poignant and unforgettable true account of the deep, loving friendship between a handsome physician and the former First Lady, as seen on PBS’s The Roosevelts: An Intimate History
 “I love you as I love and have never loved anyone else.” —Eleanor Roosevelt in a letter to Dr. David Gurewitsch, 1955
 
She was the most famous and admired woman in America. He was a strikingly handsome doctor, eighteen years her junior. Eleanor Roosevelt first met David Gurewitsch in 1944. He was making a house call to a patient when the door opened to reveal the wife of the president of the United States, who had come to help her sick friend. A year later, Gurewitsch was Mrs. Roosevelt’s personal physician, on his way to becoming the great lady’s dearest companion—a relationship that would endure until Mrs. Roosevelt’s death in 1962. Recounting the details of this remarkable union is an intimately involved chronicler: Gurewitsch’s wife, Edna.
 
Kindred Souls is a rare love story—the tale of a friendship between two extraordinary people, based on trust, exchange of confidences, and profound interest in and respect for each other’s work. With perceptiveness, compassion, admiration, and deep affection, the author recalls the final decade and a half of the former First Lady’s exceptional life, from her first encounter with the man who would become Mrs. Gurewitsch’s husband through the blossoming of a unique bond and platonic love.
 
Blended into her tender reminiscences are excerpts from the enduring correspondence between Dr. Gurewitsch and the First Lady, and a collection of personal photographs of the Gurewitsch and Roosevelt families. The result is a revealing portrait of one of the twentieth century’s most beloved icons in the last years of her life—a woman whom the author warmly praises as “one of the few people in this world in which greatness and modesty could coexist.” 
The authorized biography of John F. Kennedy offers a fresh and candid look at what shaped the man America came to love and admire, just as he was on the cusp of the presidency

Historian, political scientist, and Pulitzer Prize–winning author James MacGregor Burns wrote Roosevelt: The Lion and the Fox, the first volume of his highly acclaimed biography of FDR, in 1956. Two years later, Burns ran for a seat in Congress and became close friends with John F. Kennedy, who was also campaigning throughout the state for reelection to the Senate. After Burns lost his election, he decided to write a biography of JFK. Without any restrictions, Kennedy granted his friend complete access to files, family records, and personal correspondence. The two men spoke at great length in Washington, DC, and at the Kennedy family compound on Cape Cod, and afterwards, Kennedy asked his relatives, friends, and political colleagues to talk openly with Burns as well. The result is a frank, incisive, and compelling portrait of Kennedy from his youth to his service in World War II and his time in Congress.

While many political biographies—especially those of presidential candidates—intend to depict a certain persona, Burns would not allow anything other than his own perception to influence him. And so, John Kennedy concludes questioning whether JFK would make “a commitment not only of mind, but of heart” to the great challenges that lay ahead. (Burns would later admit that his subject did bring both bravery and wisdom to his presidency.) First published just as Kennedy was coming into the national spotlight, this biography gives a straightforward and exciting portrayal of one of the twentieth century’s most important figures.
Published to commemorate the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy’s election as president of the United States, this book is a revealing and intimate portrait of a leader, husband, and father as seen through the lens of Cecil Stoughton, the first official White House photographer. Stoughton’s close rapport with the president and first lady gave him extraordinary access to the Oval Office, the Kennedys’ private quarters and homes, to state dinners, cabinet meetings, diplomatic trips, and family holidays.


 


Drawing on Stoughton’s unparalleled body of photographs, most rarely or never before reproduced, and supported by a deeply thoughtful narrative by political historian Richard Reeves, Portrait of Camelot is an unprecedented portrayal of the power, politics, and warmly personal aspects of Camelot’s 1,036 days. 

DVD INCLUDED: packaged with a DVD created exclusively for this book, containing color and black-and-white film footage Stoughton created of the Kennedy family in the White House, in Hyannis Port, and on holidays.

Praise for Portrait of Camelot:

"Like the TV series Mad Men, this book is also a remarkable period piece . . . informative and beautiful." --Publishers Weekly 

"This informative and beautiful book, which shouldn't stay on the coffee table, includes a DVD with film footage of the Kennedy family on vacation." 
--Publishers Weekly 

"If you care about Camelot, this is a book you won't want to miss, a perfect commemoration of a presidency that happened what seems like a very long time ago." 
--Courier-Journal

The #1 New York Times bestselling memoir by Clint Hill that Kirkus Reviews called “clear and honest prose free from salaciousness and gossip,” Jackie Kennedy’s personal Secret Service agent details his very close relationship with the First Lady during the four years leading up to and following President John F. Kennedy’s tragic assassination.

In those four years, Hill was by Mrs. Kennedy’s side for some of the happiest moments as well as the darkest. He was there for the birth of John, Jr. on November 25, 1960, as well as for the birth and sudden death of Patrick Bouvier Kennedy on August 8, 1963. Three and a half months later, the unthinkable happened.

Forty-seven years after the assassination of President John F. Kennedy, the one vivid image that never leaves Clint Hill’s mind is that of President Kennedy’s head lying on Mrs. Kennedy’s lap in the back seat of the limousine, his eyes fixed, blood splattered all over the back of the car, Mrs. Kennedy, and Hill as well. Sprawled on the trunk of the car as it sped away from Dealey Plaza, Hill clung to the sides of the car, his feet wedged in so his body was as high as possible.

Clint Hill jumped on the car too late to save the president, but all he knew after that first shot was that if more shots were coming, the bullets had to hit him instead of the First Lady.

Mrs. Kennedy’s strength, class, and dignity over those tragic four days in November 1963 held the country together.

This is the story, told for the first time, of the man who perhaps held her together.
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