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In Ted Kennedy: A Life, we find that his life was buffeted by heartbreak: the violent deaths of his three older brothers, his own terrible plane crash, his children’s bouts with cancer, and the hideous self-inflicted wounds of Chappaquiddick and stretches of drinking and womanizing that caused irreparable damage to an already fragile first marriage. Those wounds scarred Ted deeply but also tempered his character, and, eventually, he embarked on a run as legislator, party elder, and paterfamilias of the Kennedy family that would change America for the better. John A. Farrell brings us the man as he was, in strength and weakness, his profound but complicated inheritance and his vital legacy, as only a great biographer can do. Without the story this book tells, no understanding of modern America can be complete.
John Farrell is the former national political reporter, White House correspondent and Washington editor for the Boston Globe. He is the author of Richard Nixon: The Life, which won the PEN/Jacqueline Bograd Weld Award for Biography and the New-York Historical Society Barbara and David Zalaznick Book Prize in American History. It was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2018. In 2001, he published Tip O’Neill and the Democratic Century, which won the D. B. Hardeman Prize for the best book on Congress. His book Clarence Darrow: Attorney for the Damned won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for Biography in 2011. He has also earned a George Polk award, the Gerald R. Ford prize, and White House Correspondents’ Association honors for his coverage of the presidency.
Farrell will be in conversation with Molly Ball, Time magazine’s national political correspondent and a frequent television and radio commentator. She is the author of Pelosi, a bestselling biography of the first woman Speaker of the House. Prior to joining Time, Ball covered U.S. politics for The Atlantic, Politico and the Las Vegas Review-Journal. She has received numerous awards for her political coverage, including the Dirksen Award for Distinguished Reporting of Congress, the Gerald R. Ford Prize for Distinguished Reporting on the Presidency and the Toner Prize for Excellence in Political Reporting. A graduate of Yale University, Ball won $100,000 on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire in 2007. She grew up in Idaho and Colorado and lives in the Washington, DC, area with her husband and three children.