Catching the Wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour, 1932-1975

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“One of many really nice biographies of our time.”—Sean Wilentz, New York Occasions bestselling creator of Bob Dylan in America and The Rise of American Democracy
 
“A landmark research of Washington energy politics within the twentieth century within the Robert Caro custom.”—Douglas Brinkley, New York Occasions bestselling creator of American Moonshot

The epic, definitive biography of Ted Kennedy—an immersive journey via the lifetime of a sophisticated man and a sweeping historical past of the autumn of liberalism and the collapse of political morality.


 

Catching the Wind is the primary quantity of Neal Gabler’s magisterial two-volume biography of Edward Kennedy. It’s directly a human drama, a historical past of American politics within the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and a research of political morality and the function it performed within the tortuous course of liberalism. 

 

Although he’s typically portrayed as a reckless hedonist who rode his father’s fortune and his brothers’ coattails to a Senate seat on the age of thirty, the Ted Kennedy in
Catching the Wind is one the general public seldom noticed—a person each racked by and pushed by insecurity, a person so uncertain of himself that he sinned to be able to be redeemed. The final and by most modern accounts the least of the Kennedys, a light-weight. He lived an agonizing childhood, being shuffled from college to highschool at his mom’s whim, struggling quite a few humiliations—together with self-inflicted ones—and being pressed to rise to his brothers’ stage. He entered the Senate together with his colleagues’ lowest expectations, a present horse, not a workhorse, however he used his “ninth-child’s expertise” of deference to and comity together with his Senate elders to develop into a promising legislator. And with the deaths of his brothers John and Robert, he was compelled to develop into one thing extra: the custodian of their political mission.

 

In 
Catching the Wind, Kennedy, utilizing his late brothers’ ethical authority, turns into a shifting power within the nice “liberal hour,” which sees the passage of the anti-poverty program and the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. Then, with the election of Richard Nixon, he turns into the main voice of liberalism itself at a time when its energy is waning: a “shadow president,” difficult Nixon to maintain the American promise to the marginalized, whereas Nixon lives in terror of a Kennedy restoration.
Catching the Wind additionally exhibits how Kennedy’s ethical authority is eroded by the deadly auto accident on Chappaquiddick Island in 1969, dealing a blow not simply to Kennedy however to liberalism.

 

On this sweeping biography, Gabler tells a narrative that’s Shakespearean in its dimensions: the story of a star-crossed determine who rises above his seeming limitations and the tragedy that envelopes him to vary the face of America.

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