The New York Times obtained a copy of the book and offered us some brilliant insight into what the 532 pages have to offer.
According to the NY Times, Kennedy “called his behavior after the 1969 car accident that killed Mary Jo Kopechne ‘inexcusable’ and said the events might have shortened the life of his ailing father, Joseph P. Kennedy.”
While his reflections/confessions on this episode don’t add much to what we already know, they do shed some light on how his actions weighed heavily on him and his family.
Kennedy wrote of other painful memories including his drinking and womanizing following his 1982 divorce from Joan and how the deaths of his brothers deeply affected him and his family. He wrote that he didn’t run for the presidency again in 1984 (he challenged then president Jimmy Carter for the Democratic nomination in 1980) because his children feared for his life.
In raw and often intimate terms, Mr. Kennedy wrote of the despair he experienced after brother Robert’s assassination in 1968, “I tried to stay ahead of the darkness.” Kennedy wrote that he would flinch at loud, sudden noises like the explosion of firecrackers, or hit the deck whenever a car backfired and that he began to drink to excess during that period driving Joan Kennedy “deeper into her anguish.”
Kennedy, a ‘bigger than life’ personality, wrote of his feelings of inadequacy: “As I think back to my three brothers, and about what they had accomplished before I was even out of my childhood, it sometimes has occurred to me that my entire life has been a constant state of catching up.”
In brutal honesty, Kennedy wrote how his past behavior had a way of catching up with him and his family-hard. Regarding the 1991 episode in Palm Beach when he went drinking with his son Patrick and nephew William K. Smith, who would be charged for rape-and then acquitted, Kennedy wrote of how his actions hurt his political clout a short time later when Clarence Thomaswas nominated for a seat on the Supreme Court.
Kennedy was against the nomination, but, he wrote, “Hard truth: with all the background noise about Palm Beach and my bachelor lifestyle, I would have been the wrong person” to raise questions about Mr. Thomas’s alleged sexual harassment of Anita F. Hill.
Kennedy, long a favorite subject for the tabloids, wrote about the intense scrutinizing of the private lives of public officials. Kennedy wrote he had no quarrel with such inquiries, “But do I think it tells the whole story of character? No I truly do not … some people make mistakes and try to learn from them and do better. Our sins don’t define the whole picture of who we are.”
“True Compass,” goes on sale September 14th.
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