John F. Kerry: The Boston Globe Biography tells the ambitious story of the former Presidential candidate and Senator, and current Secretary of State. Based on a highly regarded series published in The Boston Globe and augmented by years of additional reporting, it explores John Kerry's background, his service in the military, his early legal and political career, and his legislative record. Offering an incisive, frank look at the man who has spent decades in the highest levels of government, this biography is important reading for anyone interested in the life of the man now poised to be the face of his country overseas.
Last year, Boston Globe reporters working on a multipart series uncovered the stunning news that John Kerry's paternal grandfather was Jewish. This book, an expansion of that series, doesn't find any smoking guns about the presumptive Democratic candidate for president. But it does offer a detailed and at times critical biography of the Massachusetts senator. Relying on years of reporting, the authors trace Kerry's itinerant boyhood as the son of a Foreign Service officer and his later years at prestigious St. Paul's, where early on he demonstrated intellectual seriousness and ambition. This ambition is one of the themes of Kerry's life as presented here. The biography shows Kerry's somewhat bumpy ride as a politician and his strength more as an investigator on Iran-Contra than as a legislator. The book, written in the lucid, straightforward prose one expects from a newspaper writing team, is especially strong on Kerry's college and Vietnam years, detailing the sense of service felt by Kerry and his fellow Skull-and-Bonesmen at Yale, and Kerry's doubts about the Vietnam War even before he went over to serve. The authors take critical issues head-on: they explore questions over Kerry's first Purple Heart and his leaving Vietnam before his service was over, as well as the Nixon administration's targeting him as an enemy. Kerry supporters may find the tone a bit harsh, but all who are interested in the 2004 election will benefit from this major serious examination of a man who would be president. 27 photos. Correction: The ISBN for Defending Diversity (Univ. of Michigan), noted in the March 22 issue, was given incorrectly. It is 0-472-11307-0.