The Remarkable and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

Monday, December 10, 2012

Celebrated historian David Nasaw discusses his new biography of Joseph P. Kennedy, the founder of the 20th century's most famous political dynasty. Nasaw was granted unrestricted access to the Joseph P. Kennedy papers in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library, and in The Patriarch: The Remarkable and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy he tracks Kennedy's rise from East Boston outsider to supreme Washington insider.


David Nasaw

Comments [7]

prudencedogood from LIC

Based on this interview alone, David Nasaw seems remarkably ill-informed about the origins of the myth that Joseph Kennedy was a bootlegger.

In his book Last Call, Daniel Oskent explains the myth. In anticipation of the end of Prohibition, Joe Kennedy made a deal with Haig&Haig, Dewers and Gordons Gin from England that he would import liquor after Prohibition ended and all of which was perfectly legal. He then set up warehouses with the liquor in anticipation of the end of Prohibition, again in a perfectly legal way.

Oskent reports that the Washington bureau chief of the Chicago Tribune, Walter Trohan, wrote a story on the Kennedys in 1954 where he garbled the facts. (See Oskent, 367-70.) The story then entered the world of media mythology. The bootlegger story, then, was a post-war myth based on a misinterpretation of real events.

Oskent's book was published in 2010. Maybe Nasaw ran out of time in the interview and I don't know if Nasaw's book cites Oskent. However the facts seem clear about both the real story and the post-war myth of Joe Kennedy "bootlegger."

Dec. 18 2012 05:56 PM
A Listener from NJ

I used to live in Brookline, MA, around the corner from the John F Kennedy birthplace. Not a very large or extravagent house for a well-off family. When did the family move to Brookline, and how long did they live there?

Dec. 10 2012 01:43 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

The Bolshevik revolution in Russia made the world "Jewish conspiracy" very real in the minds of hundreds of millions, especially in Germany and Europe as a whole, but also in America. Had there been no Bolshevik revolution in 1917, it is doubtful that Fascism and Nazism would have come to power in Europe. We Jews have the hard bitten Left wing to thank for much of what happened to us in the 20th century. But then, in Bible stories, didn't Joseph's brothers sell him to the Ishmaelites who sold him into slavery? Even today, the vanguard of anti-Israel sentiment is again the Jewish hard Left.

Dec. 10 2012 01:43 PM
suzinne b. from Bronx

What is to admire about a man who had own his daughter lobotomized? I find this man abhorrent in all ways imaginable.

Dec. 10 2012 01:40 PM
Jay F.

What about his involvement in setting up Alexander Pantages for the rape of a young girl...

Dec. 10 2012 01:37 PM
oscar from ny

Alls i know is that JFK was assassinated by Bin Rabin leader of the zionist group because of the demona nuclear business

Dec. 10 2012 01:35 PM

Did "David" think up this quote in the context of Joe Kennedy?

“Life is full of misery, loneliness, and suffering - and it's all over much too soon.”

Dec. 10 2012 01:30 PM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.