Robert F. Kennedy Jr. and the Dark Side of the Dream
From New York Times bestselling author Jerry Oppenheimer comes a sensational biography of the son of the legendary Senator and troubled standard bearer of America's most fabled political dynasty.
Robert F. Kenned Jr. inherited his assassinated father's piercing blue eyes and Brahmin style, earning a reputation as the nation's foremost environmental activist and lawyer - the "toxic avenger" - battling corporate polluters. But in this, the most revelatory portrait ever of a Kennedy, Oppenheimer places Bobby Jr., leader of the third generation of America's royal family, under a journalistic microscope.Based on scores of exclusive, candid on-the-record interviews, public and private records, and correspondence, Jerry Oppenheimer paints a balanced, objective portrait of this virtually unaccounted-for scion of the Kennedy dynasty. Like his slain father, the iconic senator and presidential hopeful, RFK Jr. was destined for political greatness. Why it never happened is revealed in this first-ever biography of him.
In this latest unauthorized biography from Oppenheimer (The Other Mrs. Kennedy), empathy for his subject is in short supply. The indisputably tragic aspects of Robert F. Kennedy Jr.'s life losing his father and uncle to assassins' bullets (he was 14 when his father was murdered), the deaths of two siblings in adulthood, and his ex-wife Mary's suicide are likely to engender some sympathy from readers, especially when coupled with evidence that his mother was absent from his life when he was growing up. But Oppenheimer spends the bulk of his time on the first half of Kennedy's life and chooses to focus on his long track record of bad behavior, including infidelity and substance abuse, without really attempting to put it in context. Toward the very end, Oppenheimer cites an unnamed confidant of Kennedy who describes him as "a very complex guy who has had very difficult things thrown at him through his life." But nuance and complexity are not the book's strengths; the writing is sloppy and Oppenheimer relies heavily on unnamed and un-enumerated sources. Oppenheimer's story of a flawed son of a flawed family is more salacious than thought-provoking.