The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America

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Macmillan, May 27, 2008 - Biography & Autobiography - 321 pages
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The definitive account of Robert Kennedy’s exhilarating and tragic 1968 campaign for president—a revelatory history that is especially resonant now

After John F. Kennedy’s assassination, Robert Kennedy—formerly Jack’s no-holds-barred political warrior—almost lost hope. He was haunted by his brother’s murder, and by the nation’s seeming inabilities to solve its problems of race, poverty, and the war in Vietnam. Bobby sensed the country’s pain, and when he announced that he was running for president, the country united behind his hopes. Over the action-packed eighty-two days of his campaign, Americans were inspired by Kennedy’s promise to lead them toward a better time. And after an assassin’s bullet stopped this last great stirring public figure of the 1960s, crowds lined up along the country’s railroad tracks to say goodbye to Bobby.

With new research, interviews, and an intimate sense of Kennedy, Thurston Clarke provides an absorbing historical narrative that goes right to the heart of America’s deepest despairs—and most fiercely held dreams—and tells us more than we had understood before about this complicated man and the heightened personal, racial, political, and national dramas of his times.


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This book excerpt is detailed and well-written and moving in places, but is a little disturbing too at the almost messiah-like worship of Bobby Kennedy. One should not put all their faith and hopes and dreams in a politician, no matter what party, and no matter how sincere he(or she) seems. If Kennedy had been the 1968 Democratic nominee(as he surely would have), and he had won the presidency, there's a great chance he would have let many of those who worshipped him down in some way(would these people have been in denial though about that? We'll never know). In a bizarre way, maybe it was meant to be that RFK die young like this, almost in a blaze of glory in a way, so that his image and the memories of him remain forever untarnished. He wasn't a perfect man, of course; he was seen by many as ruthless, but he seemed to be a decent enough man, and he probably would have made a good president. However, in dying when and how he did, it keeps his name and memory pristine, free of any scandal. He is probably also missed more to this day than his brother, President Kennedy, who seems to be remembered more now, as the years have gone by(especially by younger generations) for his extracurricular activities than his achievements.  


June 8 1968

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About the author (2008)

Thurston Clarke has written eleven widely acclaimed works of fiction and nonfiction, including three New York Times Notable Books. His Pearl Harbor Ghosts was the basis of a CBS documentary, and his bestselling Lost Hero, a biography of Raoul Wallenberg, was made into an award-winning NBC miniseries. His articles have appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times, The Washington Post and many other publications. He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship and other awards and lives with his wife and three daughters in upstate New York.

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