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JOHN & FRANCIE PEPPER FREEDOM LECTURE SERIES: LARRY TYE

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National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

50 East Freedom Way

Cincinnati, OH 45202

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New York Times bestselling author and award-winning journalist Larry Tye, given unprecedented access by those close to Robert F. Kennedy, has written a new biography of the most complex and controversial member of the Kennedy family. Please join us for a lecture and book signing with Larry Tye on his latest book Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon.

Larry Tye is a New York Times bestselling author whose most recent book is a biography of Robert F. Kennedy, the former attorney general, U.S. senator, and presidential candidate. Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon explores RFK’s extraordinary transformation from cold warrior to fiery leftist.

Tye’s first book, The Father of Spin, is a biography of public relations pioneer Edward L.Bernays. Home Lands looks at the Jewish renewal underway from Boston to Buenos Aires. Rising from the Rails explores how the black men who worked on George Pullman’s railroad sleeping cars helped kick-start the Civil Rights movement and gave birth to today’s African-American middle class. Shock, a collaboration with Kitty Dukakis, is a journalist’s first-person account of electro-convulsive therapy (ECT), psychiatry’s most controversial treatment, and a portrait of how that therapy helped one woman overcome debilitating depression. In Satchel: The Life and Times of an American Legend, Larry Tye untangles myth from truth about this flawed yet majestic man. Tye shows us Satchel as a self-promoter who selflessly fought to guarantee his teammates richer paydays.

About the Book: Bobby Kennedy: The Making of A Liberal Icon

From the New York Times bestselling author of Satchel comes an in-depth, vibrant, and measured biography about the most complex and controversial member of the Kennedy family.

History remembers Robert F. Kennedy as a racial healer, a tribune for the poor, and the last progressive knight of a bygone era of American politics. But Kennedy’s enshrinement in the liberal pantheon was actually the final stage of a journey that had its beginnings in the conservative 1950s. In Bobby Kennedy, Larry Tye peels away layers of myth and misconception to paint a complete portrait of this singularly fascinating figure.

To capture the full arc of his subject’s life, Tye draws on rare access granted to him by the Kennedy family, including unpublished memoirs, unreleased government files, and fifty-eight boxes of papers that had been under lock and key for the past forty years. He conducted hours of interviews with RFK intimates, including Bobby’s widow, Ethel, his sister Jean, and his aide John Siegenthaler. Tye’s determination to sift through the tangle of often contradictory opinions means that Bobby Kennedy will stand as the definitive one-volume biography of a man much beloved, but just as often misunderstood.

Bobby Kennedy’s transformation from cold warrior to fiery liberal is a profoundly moving personal story that also offers a lens onto two of the most chaotic and confounding decades of twentieth-century American history. The first half of RFK’s career underlines what the country was like in the era of Eisenhower, while his last years as a champion of the underclass reflect the seismic shifts wrought by the 1960s. Nurtured on the rightist orthodoxies of his dynasty-building father, Bobby Kennedy began his public life as counsel to the red-baiting senator Joseph McCarthy. He ended it with a noble campaign to unite working-class whites and poor blacks in an electoral coalition that seemed poised to redraw the face of presidential politics. Along the way, he turned up at the center of every event that mattered, from the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis to race riots and Vietnam.

Bare-knuckle operative, cynical White House insider, romantic visionary; Bobby Kennedy was all of these things at one time or another, and each of these aspects of his personality emerges in the pages of this powerful and perceptive new biography.

Thank you to John and Francie Pepper for sponsoring the Freedom Lecture Series and to our print media sponsor, Cincy Magazine.


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National Underground Railroad Freedom Center

50 East Freedom Way

Cincinnati, OH 45202

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