The Kennedys by Peter Collier and David Horowitz - review by Christopher Hitchens

Christopher Hitchens

The First Family

The Kennedys


Secker and Warburg 576pp £12.50

Napoleon Bonaparte is supposed to have said that, had he been killed as he entered Moscow, he would have gone down in history as the greatest general who ever lived. Similarly, it is essential for the Kennedy myth that its exemplars should die young. If JFK had lived, his Presidency would have been besmirched by Vietnam and the domestic political corruption necessary to sustain the war. As it is, his worshippers can still convince themselves that ‘Jack’ would have made everything different. The rising generation of Americans is brought up to think of Kennedy as the man who had everything. Handsome, charming, witty, graceful, brave – a liberal but a tough guy.

Evidence makes no impression on the faithful. Every Kennedy who has survived beyond middle age has been an embarrassment, sometimes a distinct embarrassment. The young ones tend to die these days of overdoses in crappy motels. Rosemary, one of the daughters of the clan, had a ‘personality problem’. So the

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