Monday, March 9, 2009

The Kennedy Legacy: Jack, Bobby and Ted and a Family Dream Fulfilled

by Vincent Bzdek
Just uttering that name is sure to elicit some response. I think that when it comes to the Kennedy family, it is either love or hate and little in between.

For me, it has always been love. I was ten years old when JFK was killed in Dallas. Fair or unfair, I think that single act has affected my opinion of Texas ever since. The announcement was made in our school, and we were let out to go home soon after. I remember crying so hard, I could barely see my way. My father had recently walked out on us, and I felt that we lived in a very precarious world. When JFK died the feeling that nothing would ever be the same, and we would never be safe again washed over me.
I have not altered that opinion much since that time.

Bobby died on my sister's birthday...Leaving us with Ted to carry on for the family.

This is a compelling story of the Kennedy family and the manner in which these men were raised. We have all heard the stories of the Kennedys being a close, competitive, intelligent and loving family. The Kennedy Legacy presents them no differently, but does perhaps make us more aware of just how much the brothers all had each others backs.

This is a fairly comprehensive and very readable account of the gifts of this family, listing the most important changes that they have brought to our lives while working within the political system.

Many people are well aware of jFK and RFK's legacies. Somehow it seems that despite the many years of service he has given, Ted's is often glossed over or overlooked.

The last section of this book is devoted to Ted. I have to admit that having always been a fan of the Kennedys, my favorite of the brothers has always been Ted. Back in the eighties I worked in small town outside of Boston, and was fortunate to see Ted every three months or so when he came into our business. I found him to be jovial, friendly, respectful and just plain nice. I always looked forward to seeing him and his aide enter the room. There were times his briefcase was carried in like a try, with papers hanging out the sides, as if he was working as he walked. He made me smile, he made me laugh, and his staff was just as nice. We would take calls asking us to remind him of his next stop.. and he would accept the reminders boyishly and in a friendly manner.

Ted, like the rest of us has made a few bad decisions, but overall..I can only describe him as down to earth, friendly and a man of service and love. This book makes it very clear that Ted has worked hard all of these years. He has worked Hard for his country, and his fellow countrymen. He has worked for equality, healthcare and so much more.

This is a fantastic read. It is a book that not only those of us who lived during the Camelot years will enjoy, it will be appreciated by readers of all ages, young and older.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Paths of Glory

by Jeffrey Archer

The story of George Leigh Mallory, a novel based on history. I had never been drawn to read about Mr Mallory prior to this. I had never read anything by Jeffrey Archer either. For some reason, when given the opportunity to read this book, I enthusiastically took it.

The story begins when George Mallory was a child living in his fathers house. His father was a conservative clergyman of limited means who wanted to provide the best possible life for his three children. For George, this included the best education he could manage.

From a young age, Gorge showed a lack of fear, and a love of climbing. His father encouraged his sons sense of adventure, even to the point of accompanying him on ever more rigorous climbs, at least accompanying his as best he could. This trust and encouragement surely contributed to the self confident young man George became.

During his years at school, he knew that his mountain climbing had to take a backseat to his education, and so it did. TO his satisfaction, there were others who shared his interests, thus enabling him to continue with what brought joy to his life, scaling mountains.

I became so invested in the people portrayed in this book, I had a hard time putting it down. I had a vague and passing knowledge of Mallory and his Everest climbs, but nothing more than that. After reading about his life and family, as well as his dreams. I am searching for more information on this clearly incredible man.

I strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good read, or is interested in mountaineering. I will be reading more books by this author very soon, as well as more books about George Mallory and Everest. A book that inspires a new interest is the very best kind of book.