Joseph P. Kennedy remains one of the most enigmatic and controversial figures in American history. From his humble beginnings as the son of Irish immigrants to his meteoric rise to statesman, diplomat, and finally to First Father, he has been both beloved and vilified. In Hostage to Fortune: The Letters of Joseph P. Kennedy, Amanda Smith has unearthed an extraordinary treasure of her grandfather's correspondence and several previously unseen photographs in a collection that reveals his metamorphoses. It is not only a living history of Kennedy's life, but also a revelation of his vision of his own family as the embodiment of the American dream.
In the only firsthand record of his life, Hostage to Fortune begins in I914, with the honeymoon of Joe and Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy in Atlantic City and ends in I96I with Joe's disabling stroke. In between, we see the public and private Kennedy -- father, husband, film producer, and New Deal government official. The correspondence between his wife and nine children is a completely loving one that too often ends in loss and grief. His relationships with the great figures of the age -- Roosevelt, Winston Churchill, Neville Chamberlain, Pope Pius XII, and Charles Lindbergh -- show him courting friendships but also fighting for his beliefs, a trait that would ultimately end his public career. At once a fitting tribute to her grandfather, a great historical work, and a chronicle of America's greatest family, Hostage to Fortune will engage American history lovers as well as a public who continues to be fascinated by the Kennedy family.