Ted Kennedy: Bringing the Myth Down to Earth

He got the chance to be the one thing his revered brothers never could be: merely human

Corbis

Presidential contender Jack gives his brother some advice during a 1960 campaign stop.

The patriarch, Joseph P. Kennedy, spent a big part of his life in the movie business, so it's fitting, perhaps, to quote from a film as we reflect on the family he built. The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance opened in 1962, when John F. and Robert F. Kennedy ruled Washington and young Edward M. Kennedy was winning his first of nine U.S. Senate elections. It is the story of a decent, but entirely human, fellow whose fame doesn't quite match the ambiguous facts of history. And there comes a point when the myth assumes a reality all its...

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