Cover image for Joseph P. Kennedy : the mogul, the mob, the statesman, and the making of an American myth
Joseph P. Kennedy : the mogul, the mob, the statesman, and the making of an American myth
Schwarz, Ted, 1945-
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
Hoboken, N.J. : John Wiley & Sons, [2003]

Physical Description:
vii, 472 pages : illustrations ; 25 cm
Electronic Access:
Table of contents
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
E748.K376 S39 2003 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



Advance Praise for Joseph P. Kennedy

"Ted Schwarz gives us a darker, and truer, picture of the founding father (and only Kennedy to ever make any money) than the habitual family spinmeisters and hagiographers."
-Axel Madsen, author of Gloria and Joe: The Star-Crossed Love Affair of Gloria Swanson and Joe Kennedy

What price glory?

He is best known as the patriarch of America's most loved, hated, and talked-about family. Long before the Kennedy name became synonymous with wealth, political idealism, and agonizing tragedy, however, Joe Kennedy was on the move. This unflinching portrait of the man who sired three major twentieth-century political figures introduces copious new information about Joseph Kennedy's questionable financial practices, his Hollywood exploits, his tenure as ambassador to Great Britain, and his relationship with organized crime. Drawing on previously untapped sources, author Ted Schwarz provides a rare peek into Joseph Kennedy's secret activities and public accomplishments, including:

Baseball scams that Kennedy concocted as an adolescent Kennedy's cynical manipulation of Franklin Roosevelt's son His business dealings with Al Capone Kennedy's very public affair with actress Gloria Swanson How he transformed Hollywood studios into product manufacturers His dismal performance as ambassador to Great Britain And much, much more

Author Notes

Ted Schwarz has written and coauthored more than 100 books

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

As the patriarch of the country's most-scrutinized family, Joe Kennedy received more than a little media attention--much of it salacious--during his life. But with this balanced and scrupulously researched biography, longtime Kennedy watcher Schwarz delivers a man whose complex personality and wide-ranging ambitions never fit within the journalists' simplifying assumptions. In Kennedy's much-publicized, Prohibition-era bootlegging, for instance, Schwarz finds more than a notorious collaborator with gangster Al Capone: he finds as well a shrewd business manager quick to recognize marketing opportunities and adept at finding capable subordinates. Such skills served Kennedy well in his ventures in filmmaking and politics. But appreciation for Kennedy's versatile talents does not blind Schwarz to the dark underside of the Kennedy mystique: the compulsive womanizing, the underhanded stock deals, and the cruel deception of wife and family. Schwarz particularly details the way Kennedy drove and manipulated his son John, whose grave medical problems he helped hide from the public during JFK's drive to the presidency. Yet behind all of Kennedy's exploitative behavior, Schwarz finds a surprising personal insecurity: repeatedly humiliated by WASP prejudice against Irish Catholics, Kennedy never stopped waging a personal war of vindication. A convincing portrait of a giant whose influence still shapes American life. --Bryce Christensen Copyright 2003 Booklist

Publisher's Weekly Review

Publicity for this bio says that Schwarz (The Peter Lawford Story; Rose Kennedy and Her Family) "reveals for the first time the true story of this larger-than-life patriarch." One wonders how this can be the case, as Schwarz appears to base his book heavily on very loosely referenced secondary sources (he mentions interviews with "invisible" Kennedy staff members, but this is vague). The star witness Schwarz breathlessly announces in his intro-Barbara Gibson, onetime personal secretary to Rose Kennedy-is hardly referenced at all, but then neither is anyone else. Schwarz's 22 chapters have a total of only 92 endnotes. Even more problematic is the fact that Schwarz repeats a number of myths about Kennedy-the majority of them long ago debunked by other researchers and writers. Example: As more than one recent scholar has deduced, Joseph Kennedy did not buy 40,000 copies of John Kennedy's Why England Slept in order to make the book a bestseller. Other small errors compound to make Schwarz's tome annoying for any reader familiar with the Kennedy saga-and there are many. For instance: Joe did not cooperate, as Schwarz implies he did, in arranging for Jack to get posted to the South Pacific theater during WWII. Quite the contrary. Jack (as has been documented in several recent books) had to go around his father's back and over his head to get the assignment he craved. In sum, readers interested in JPK would do better to consult Ronald Kessler's The Sins of the Father, granddaughter Amanda Smith's Hostage to Fortune or Michael Beschloss's excellent Kennedy and Roosevelt. Photos. (Sept. 12) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. v
1 Mr. Ambassadorp. 1
2 Coming to Americap. 7
3 The Barkeepp. 24
4 The Barkeep's Boy and the Politician's Daughterp. 37
5 Scandal and Marriagep. 65
6 The Adventure Beginsp. 76
7 Adjusting to Peacetimep. 88
8 Hollywood Beckonsp. 103
9 Going Hollywoodp. 113
10 Seduced and Betrayedp. 134
11 After Hollywoodp. 172
12 The Outsider Comes Inp. 190
13 The Consultantp. 208
14 Of Family and Ambitionp. 213
15 "The Ambassador"p. 233
16 The War Yearsp. 264
17 Adriftp. 322
18 The Race for the Senatep. 343
19 Joe and Jacquelinep. 362
20 The Run for Presidentp. 384
21 The View from the Top Is Always Downp. 420
22 And Then There Was ...p. 426
Notesp. 438
Bibliographyp. 458
Indexp. 463