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Robert Kennedy and His Times Summary & Study Guide

This Study Guide consists of approximately 36 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Robert Kennedy and His Times.
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Robert Kennedy and His Times Summary & Study Guide Description

Robert Kennedy and His Times Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Robert Kennedy and His Times by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr..

Any public figure, particularly in government and politics, is the product of a variety of forces, not the least of which is the times in which he has grown and matured. In the detailed and superbly researched biography, Robert Kennedy and His Times, Arthur Schlesinger serves up an extensive and supremely detailed account of the brother of President John Kennedy from his childhood, to his legal careers, to the position of Attorney General in his brother's administration, to the Senate, and to his own run for the Presidency and ultimate assassination. The necessary ingredients in any biography of this type are pictures of domestic and international events, and, given his background as a historian and special assistant to President Kennedy, Schlesinger determined to give pictures as comprehensive as possible, so much so, in fact, that the work, in two volumes, can easily be considered a highly academic historical piece, specifically on the America of the 1960's.

Of all the Kennedy children (and there were nine), Robert was the most introverted—a gracious, shy kid, shorter than his brothers, with an unremarkable academic and athletic record. His initiation into politics was work on his brother John's Congressional campaign, having been given the tough Italian neighborhoods around Boston in which to campaign. He neither considered nor coveted a political career and, in fact, entered law school only after serving as a foreign correspondent for the Boston Post. His rise into politics truly began as he managed his brother's Senate campaign, during which time he truly "came into his own," demonstrating a tough, committed, direct, organized and energetic persona. His ensuing work as Counsel for the Senate Subcommittee on Investigations took him through the "McCarthy Era" and attempts to bring purported crooked labor leaders to justice. Coupled with his extensive travel abroad, Robert Kennedy began to emerge as a national figure in his own right, but clearly took the national stage when he became Attorney General under his brother's presidency.

The Kennedy brothers operated as a team in many ways, to the consternation of Vice-President Lyndon Johnson, who often saw himself as the "outsider." The mutual dislike of Robert Kennedy and Johnson clearly grew as the Kennedy term progressed and certainly reached it climactic peak following the assassination and the landslide election of 1964, placing Johnson at the helm. As Johnson's popularity waned, and as the domestic and international crises continued to mount, Johnson announced that he would not seek re-election in 1968. The time was ripe for another popular Kennedy to become a candidate, and Robert enthusiastically moved into that role. Having won a decisive primary victory in California, the phenomenal rise of another Kennedy was destroyed by assassination.

The triumphs and tragedies of Robert Kennedy's life are almost unfathomable for the average American. Certainly, he was of the privileged. Certainly, he had advantages which would be envied by most. However, he endured family tragedies that leave the reader in awe. In his lifetime, the triumphs and tragedies must be weighed against his true legacy—unfaltering commitment to the poor, the disadvantaged and the forgotten of American society, as well as his unalterable belief that all Americans must be given equity of opportunity by their government and that all nations must respect the rights of others to pursue their own governing structures.

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This section contains 554 words
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