They were the most prominent American family of the 20th 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 20s. Finally, Larson illuminates Joe's decision to have Rosemary lobotomized at age 23 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 20 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.
©2015 Blackstone Audio, Inc. (P)2015 Blackstone Audiobooks
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I listen to audible books all the time and usually when the book finishes I think, "I'll have to listen again for I'm sure I missed something". Not this time! Wonderful narration and great story. I was sad, happy, angry and heartbroken all in one story. Now I sit back and reflect how the world has changed and how it has not.
"Illuminating and moving."
Fascinating true story, good writing, excellent narration. Yes!
Too numerous to describe here. Perhaps the most notable was Rosemary's birth. Clearly neglect if not outright malpractice caused brain damage in the poor baby and thus altered many lives in the process. The second most memorable moment was when Rosemary's father opted to have his daughter lobotomized years later, in an effort to make her placid and controllable, without consulting his wife--tragic.
The prom where Rosemary was accompanied by her soon to be famous brother--a magical and loving moment.
Yes. I wanted to keep listening, not for the sake of suspense but because I had become a witness to a deliberately obscured yet very significant side of Kennedy family history, and I wanted to stay on that ride until its completion.
First, I appreciated hearing Rosemary's story, about which I had known very little. Second, I realized this is just as much Rose Kennedy's story. I discovered that Rose suffered all her life from the controlling men in her life and the decisions they made without considering her needs and desires. Decades ago, I thought Rose was a stiff, old-school Catholic matron, but now I know why she seemed to be so overly devout and full of denial. As for Joe Kennedy, he came across as a self-centered dictator, as he did in every telling of Kennedy family history. Nevertheless, between Rosemary's condition and the loss of their three sons, Rose and Joe suffered more than most, and deserve sympathy for that. The main blessing from Rosemary's life is that her condition, and lack of proper treatment and protection of her rights, led her siblings to champion the cause of the developmentally delayed. The result is our current system of care, which, while still a work in progress, is hugely better than the nothing that existed for Rosemary herself.
"HOW VERY SAD....!!!"
This was absolutely heartbreaking. Joseph Kennedy, Sr. should be ashamed of himself what he did to a beautiful daughter out of greed, politics, and VANITY. Jean Kennedy is the last surviving child of Joe and Rose Kennedy. This is a family full of secrets. What a waste, what a miserable existence this family has most often times brought upon themselves. This book only strengthened my beliefs about how horrible a person Joseph Kennedy, Sr. was. This legacy follows them all to this day. How very sad -- How very shameful.
Good book well worth a listen. A little bit of history explains a lot.
A very insightful look into the lives of the Kennedys. I highly recommend this audio book.
"Like Watching A Train Crash"
The woman who stated this work was too chronological couldn't have read this book. The sad part about her telling such a fable - it kept this in my 'to be read' stack much longer than it should have been.
Fascinating book - hands down.
This book will have you thinking for weeks and years to come about the depths that one will go to live up to the expectations of others. If you are not thinking of that you will be wondering that had these two parents taken a different approach to their family secret - they might have given the world something even greater than a President. I am currently contemplating if Joseph Kennedy Sr pushed karma into biting his entire family by his actions. You will be too.
"Turning In Their Graves?"
With this release of this book and the last of the Kennedy secrets exposed - Joe & Rose have probably turned over in their graves enough to bore holes into other countries... or at least they should be. This family perpetuated more lies than some of the most diabolical people in history. Everything they represented was a sham, perpetuated to foster the image of perfection they coveted much more than the well-being of their family. God forbid one of their nine children did not do or say what was expected of them... well, Rosemary paid the highest price, but they all paid in some way.
I don't want to spoil this book, so I won't go into details about the absurd decisions Joe made on behalf of the family, as it concerned Rosemary. Rose was no better, as she turned a blind eye and checked out. The kids were raised by assigned personnel. There seemed to be little love in this family, only ambition.
Within their lifetimes, Joe & Rose buried almost half of their children. There were a lot of sacrifices made to create the pretty picture they held on to so tightly.
"Truly wowed by the story and performance."
I was impressed by the amount of research the author put into discovering every available detail about Rosemary and the Kennedy clan.
Excellence! Highly recommend. Well narrated explanation of an obviously well documented and honest look back in time at a tragic situation.
"another tragic Kennedy story"
Rosemary is a fairly short listen, and kept my attention for the entire length of the book. Larson pieces together Rosemary's life from letters, journals, and other historical documents to show us a well rounded portrait of the eldest Kennedy daughter.
What a tragic story it is. As she grew up, the Kennedys were increasingly in the public eye and their patriarch fought to control this daughter in particular for fear of scandal. The motivations behind her catastrophic lobotomy can really only be speculated upon, but the aftermath is simply awful. While Rosemary's life could have played a part in some of the 20th century reformation in laws for disabled Americans, it is still a shockingly sad story.
"More of a Chronology than a Biography"
80% of the book seemed to just list the doctor or school or other institution Rosemary went to by each year. Or where the family lived, went to school, etc.
It seemed as though the author had no significant research or knowledge on the subject, but rather was reading from an Encyclopedia.
The story wasn't uninteresting, but I wasn't left of a real sense of who Rosemary or any other Kennedy was. The book seemed distant and no real connection was made
"A great insight on the Kennedy family."
Loved it and so very interesting on how her father and family truly adored Rosemary.
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