Saturday, January 2, 2010

Best Non Fiction

Best Non Fiction

The best book I read this year was True Compass by Sen. Edward Moore Kennedy. I know when EMK died a few months ago I addressed my affection for all things Teddy ad nauseum. Is there anything else I can add to those postings? No.

I scooped the book up as soon as I saw it. Normally I would complete a memoir of this size in a few days or less, but I dragged this out, it has taken me months to read. Why? I don't want it to end, I know how it ends and it will make me sad all over again. For example I got up early last week so I could watch the Senate health care vote. As the final vote was announced I tweeted that Sen. Ted was looking down from heaven and would be very proud of his colleagues. I had tears in my eyes. Silly I know, but this is the effect Teddy's death had on me. It did not help that he died on my 50th birthday.

True Compass is truly written by Ted, you can hear his voice telling the story of his life. He is frank and honest. He admits his failings and shares credit for his successes with others. He is very respectful when he addresses the people he has hurt during his life. He takes responsibility and does not exploit those episodes to generate book sales. He does not dwell on the negative and does his best to find the good in the many episodes of pain that was his life.

Imagine the weight he carried on those burly Irish shoulders. He was the youngest child of a great American family and he had to carry that legacy on. He had to be a surrogate father for his brothers children. He had to carry with him all the dreams that people tied to his older brothers. He watched his marriage crumble, he lived with memory that he was responsible for a young woman's death, he guided two of his children through their own battles with cancer and he had to comfort the entire nation as one after another of his siblings died before him. Of the nine Kennedy children only Jean survives.

It has been fascinating to read his memories of all the people he met and events he witnessed

OK, I have to end this because my eyes are welling up again. If want to relive the last 50 years of American politics and culture read True Compass - you will be better and smarter for it.

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