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Publisher Description

One of People’s Top Ten Books of 2015

"[Larson] succeeds in providing a well-rounded portrait of a woman who, until now, has never been viewed in full."—Boston Globe

​“A biography that chronicles her life with fresh details . . . By making Rosemary the central character, [Larson] has produced a valuable account of a mental health tragedy and an influential family’s belated efforts to make amends.” — New York Times Book Review

Joe and Rose Kennedy’s strikingly beautiful daughter Rosemary attended exclusive schools, was presented as a debutante to the queen of England, and traveled the world with her high-spirited sisters. Yet Rosemary was intellectually disabled, a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family.

In Rosemary, Kate Clifford Larson uses newly uncovered sources to bring Rosemary Kennedy’s story to light. Young Rosemary comes alive as a sweet, lively girl adored by her siblings. But Larson also reveals the often desperate and duplicitous arrangements the Kennedys made to keep her away from home as she became increasingly difficult in her early twenties, culminating in Joe’s decision to have Rosemary lobotomized at age twenty-three and the family’s complicity in keeping the secret. Only years later did the Kennedy siblings begin to understand what had happened to Rosemary, which inspired them to direct government attention and resources to the plight of the developmentally and mentally disabled, transforming the lives of millions.
“The forgotten Kennedy is forgotten no longer. Rosemary is a rare thing, a book about the Kennedys that has something new to say.” — Laurence Leamer, author of The Kennedy Women
“Heartbreaking.” — Wall Street Journal

Biographies & Memoirs
October 6
HMH Books
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company

Customer Reviews

2hosters ,

Amazing new insight

Fascinating, informative, detailed....I was disappointed only in the lack of attention given to the reactions of Rose Kennedy and her children to the fact of the surgery. Some discussion of its impact on Mrs. Kennedy scattered throughout the rest of the book, almost nothing about how the decision affected her relationship with Joe, Sr., and zero on how or what the siblings thought about her sudden disappearance from their lives and from their regular correspondence from their mother. Unfathomable situation and yet we have no explanation, really, of how it was explained away and what they made of it or how they processed it.

Haircat ,

The Kennedy’s were not so bad

Excellent book by a wonderful Author and Historian. Threw this book I have come to realize that this family was a very loving family and that Joe sr was actually very attentive to Rosemary and truly loved her. Excellent book!

H dog 22 ,

Just an awful book

I love to read and usually finish novels within a day, but this book was so difficult to get through it took me over a month. Interesting subject, but very poorly written. The author jumped all over the place ..... I think because she didn't know enough about Rosemary to actually fill a book. Very disappointed. Would NOT recommend to others

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