(K. Brent Tomer),
Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon. By Larry Tye. Random House; 580 pages; $32.
ROBERT KENNEDY remains an enigma nearly 50 years after he was gunned down in a Los Angeles hotel, in the midst of a promising presidential campaign. He was fearsome yet gentle, an anti-communist stalwart who became the standard-bearer for American liberals, and a moralistic, devout Catholic who covered up his brother’s affairs (and, some suspect, his own) and embraced dirty political fights.
Larry Tye, a former Boston Globe journalist, is the latest to try to untangle these delicate threads. His thesis is that Bobby Kennedy learned as he went along, far more than most politicians. Driven by passion, Kennedy became a “pragmatic idealist” who, midway through his only term as senator from New York, had become “twice the senator and reformer” that his brother John had been.
Mr Tye opens with Robert’s most startling alliance—with Senator Joseph McCarthy, whose anti-communist witch-hunts rocked America during the 1950s. Joe…Continue reading