Books: Teddy and Robert

Two books rebalance the myths and realities of the younger Kennedy brothers

Edward M. Kennedy, despite his long career in the U.S. Senate, is still often known as Teddy, the diminutive attached to him as the youngest brother in his powerful family. The nickname persists because he was blessed and cursed by the gift of years that let him lead a full and well-publicized life that could only diminish him against the gargantuan mythology grown up around his murdered brothers John and Robert.

Two new books, taken together, right that imbalance somewhat. Edward M. Kennedy, A Biography by New York Times reporter Adam Clymer (William Morrow; 692 pages; $27.50) is a painstaking reconstruction...

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