The One Caught in the Undertow

David Anthony Kennedy: 1955-1984

The sheer longevity of the Kennedy melodrama is astonishing. Some Americans have grown weary of the spectacle, of course, the high American soap opera verging now and then upon Greek tragedy, and of the cruelly ingenious turns that the story takes. But there is something fascinating and emblematic about the family still. For a long time it dramatized the American possibilities of self-invention—old Joe Kennedy by sheer will contriving to raise up a President, to start a dynasty. But after Joe Jr., and John, and Robert, the darker, the...

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