The Founding Father

  • by Richard Whalen
  • Narrated by Richard Whalen
  • 26 hrs and 36 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Boldly original and fully documented, this unauthorized yet definitive biography tells the almost incredible story of Joseph P. Kennedy, grandson of a poor Irish immigrant, controversial founder of a great American fortune, and father of the 35th President of the United States, John F. Kennedy. Joe Kennedy, a single-minded capitalist, made big money in booming Wall Street, Hollywood movies, corporate reorganizations, liquor distribution, and New York and Chicago real estate speculation. An early New Dealer who helped elect Franklin D. Roosevelt and dreamed of becoming the first Catholic President, he supported appeasement of Hitler and failed as FDR's pre-World War II Ambassador to London. That seemed to end his dream.
But the ruthless, iron-willed Kennedy rebounded. He shifted his ambitions to his sons and used his showman's savvy to found an image-centered political dynasty, translating wealth into unprecedented power...until tragedy intervened. Jack and Bobby were both assassinated.
Whalen's enduring classic of investigative scholarship was the first book to portray the Kennedys as real people, "warts and all". Nominated for the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, the fair, balanced, and fearless Founding Father is the starting point of the fascinating Kennedy family saga.


What the Critics Say

"An exemplary biography....Mr. Whalen paces the story well, conveying the strengths and weaknesses of this remarkable person with judiciousness." ( The New Yorker)
"In The Founding Father, Richard J. Whalen, a first-rate journalist, presents the product of two years' research, a detailed, lively account illuminating many of the obscure aspects of Kennedy's career, especially his wide-ranging business operations. Yet this fine biography forces the reader to decide for himself what manner of man Kennedy really has been." ( The New York Times Book Review)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Needs an Update

For students of the time it is pertinent, useful and interesting. However, much more than this is known about Mr. Kennedy and his connections which throws a darker shadow on the man than is revealed here. This work feels decidedly imcomplete.

As an audio work it is dreadful! The author has chosen to read his own work and whilst he may be a talented writer he certainly is not a talented reader. It took an effort to stay with it because his delivery is annoyingly amateurish and his need to verbally open and close every set of quotation marks with 'quote........end quote' rather than simply by inflection must have been designed to get on a listeners nerves and it does.

Some marks for what's there: none for the yawning gaps: lose a few for the performance!
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- John

Good book but terrible narrator.

I think the book itself was good in that the story was well written and easy to follow. However the narration was so bad and in my opinion completely unprofessional that it almost spoiled it.
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- Paul McAviney

Book Details

  • Release Date: 14-03-2005
  • Publisher: Whalen Consulting Group