Bobby Kennedy: A Raging Spirit, Chris Matthews: Book Review

An insightful account of an amazing Kennedy.

Bobby Kennedy Chris Matthews Book ReviewSimon & Schuster / Virginia Sherwoon for MSNBC
Bobby Kennedy Book Cover Bobby Kennedy
Chris Matthews
Adult Nonfiction
Simon & Schuster

A revealing new portrait of Robert F. Kennedy that gets closer to the man than any book before, by bestselling author Chris Matthews, an esteemed Kennedy expert and anchor of MSNBC’s Hardball.

With his bestselling biography Jack Kennedy, Chris Matthews shared a new look of one of America’s most beloved Presidents and the patriotic spirit that defined him. Now, with Bobby, Matthews returns with a gripping, in-depth, behind-the-scenes portrait of one of the great figures of the American twentieth century.

Overlooked by his father, and overshadowed by his war-hero brother, Bobby Kennedy was the perpetual underdog. When he had the chance to become a naval officer like Jack, Bobby turned it down, choosing instead to join the Navy as a common sailor. It was a life changing experience that led him to connect with voters from all walks of life: young or old, black or white, rich or poor. They were the people who turned out for him in his 1968 campaign. RFK would prove himself to be the rarest of politicians—both a pragmatist who knew how to get the job done and an unwavering idealist who could inspire millions.

Drawing on extensive research and interviews, Matthews pulls back the curtain on the public and private worlds of Robert Francis Kennedy. He shines a light on all the important moments of his life, from his early years and his start in politics to his crucial role as attorney general in his brother’s administration and his tragic run for president. This definitive book brings Bobby Kennedy to life like never before and is destined to become a political classic.

This review contains quotes from the book.

*Special thanks to Simon and Schuster for allowing us to read Chris Matthews’ Bobby Kennedy.

Chris Matthews writes an extraordinary novel about the courageous Bobby Kennedy and offers a deeper look into Bobby as both a politician and human being. From the start, Matthews expresses a fascination with for Bobby for his leadership and devotion to the American people. With his latest biography, Matthews makes it his mission to share with the world who Bobby truly was.

“It was, after all, Bobby Kennedy of the two, who’d recognized the historic urgency of making civil rights a national priority, who saw how vital it was to elevate the struggle to a main goal of his brother’s presidency. It was he who’d argued that ending segregation was a matter of American conscience. Over the following years, up until his own death, one can see clearly how — after that signal beginning, when serving as his brother’s vigilant attorney general — he progressed further and further into the role of activist champion of the country’s disinherited.”

-excerpt from Chris Matthews’ Bobby Kennedy

Bobby, the younger brother of departed former President of the United States John F. Kennedy, had shared a special bond with his older sibling. Despite Bobby’s lack of representation in history, through Matthews’ book, we learn he actually assisted getting JFK into the Senate and then eventually become president. Not to mention, Bobby also helped with a lot of decisions made behind the scenes. For instance, we learn he was vital to how JFK handled the Cuban Missile Crisis; and he had the Civil Rights Act pushed to the forefront of JFK’s agenda. This showed American people the kind of prominence Bobby had with not only JFK but with political affairs as well.

“To honor his life in politics, to mark the half century of his loss and the hope that our country can find its way back to the patriotic unity he championed… for all Americans, this is my story of Robert F. Kennedy.”

-excerpt from Chris Matthews’s Bobby Kennedy

Matthews showcases all the valuable parts of Bobby’s life. He shows his childhood, how he got into politics, his fight for civil rights when he was attorney general, and his eventual run for the presidency, which ended in tragedy.

I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history, especially if you are as obsessed with the Kennedy’s as I am. This book was everything I hoped it would be and more, and I especially loved learning more about Bobby. Matthews’s accounts offered so many lesser-known details about Bobby and the relationship and importance he had while working under his brother. Overall, this book is perfect for anyone who loved Bobby as a man and as a leader.

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Jessica Duffield
the authorJessica Duffield
Contributing Writer
I am a junior in college. Books are my passion and I hope to work in book publishing once I graduate from journalism school.