Listen free for 30 days

Listen with offer

  • Bobby Kennedy

  • The Making of a Liberal Icon
  • By: Larry Tye
  • Narrated by: Marc Cashman
  • Length: 19 hrs and 47 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (70 ratings)

$0.00 for first 30 days

Pick 1 audiobook a month from our unmatched collection - including bestsellers and new releases.
Listen all you want to thousands of included audiobooks, Originals, celeb exclusives, and podcasts.
Access exclusive sales and deals.
£7.99/month after 30 days. Renews automatically. See here for eligibility.
Bobby Kennedy cover art

Bobby Kennedy

By: Larry Tye
Narrated by: Marc Cashman
Try for £0.00

£7.99/month after 30 days. Renews automatically. See here for eligibility.

Buy Now for £16.99

Buy Now for £16.99

Pay using card ending in
By completing your purchase, you agree to Audible's Conditions of Use and authorise Audible to charge your designated card or any other card on file. Please see our Privacy Notice, Cookies Notice and Interest-based Ads Notice.

Listeners also enjoyed...

Truman cover art
The Patriarch cover art
The Revolution of Robert Kennedy cover art
Nemesis cover art
Jackie cover art
All Too Human cover art
JFK and the Unspeakable cover art
Richard Nixon cover art
The Greatest Comeback cover art
The Path to Power cover art
1920 cover art
Five Days in November cover art
The Generals cover art
After Camelot cover art
First in Line cover art
Nixon's White House Wars cover art

Summary

From the New York Times best-selling author of Satchel comes an in-depth, vibrant, and measured biography of the most complex and controversial member of the Kennedy family. 

History remembers Robert F. Kennedy as a racial healer, a tribune for the poor, and the last progressive knight of a bygone era of American politics. But Kennedy's enshrinement in the liberal pantheon was actually the final stage of a journey that had its beginnings in the conservative 1950s. In Bobby Kennedy, Larry Tye peels away layers of myth and misconception to paint a complete portrait of this singularly fascinating figure. 

To capture the full arc of his subject's life, Tye drew on unpublished memoirs, unreleased government files, and 58 boxes of papers that had been under lock and key for the past 40 years. He conducted hundreds of interviews with RFK intimates - including Bobby's widow, Ethel; his sister, Jean; and his aide, John Siegenthaler - many of whom have never spoken to another biographer. Tye's determination to sift through the tangle of often contradictory opinions means that Bobby Kennedy will stand as the definitive one-volume biography of a man much beloved - but just as often misunderstood. 

Bobby Kennedy's transformation from cold warrior to fiery liberal is a profoundly moving personal story that also offers a lens onto two of the most chaotic and confounding decades of 20th-century American history. The first half of RFK's career underlines what the country was like in the era of Eisenhower while his last years as a champion of the underclass reflect the seismic shifts wrought by the 1960s. Nurtured on the rightist orthodoxies of his dynasty-building father, Bobby Kennedy began his public life as counsel to the red-baiting senator Joseph McCarthy. He ended it with a noble campaign to unite working-class Whites with poor Blacks and Latinos in an electoral coalition that seemed poised to redraw the face of presidential politics. Along the way he turned up at the center of every event that mattered, from the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis to race riots and Vietnam. 

Bare-knuckle operative, cynical White House insider, romantic visionary - Bobby Kennedy was all of these things at one time or another, and each of these aspects of his personality emerges in this powerful and perceptive new biography. 

©2016 Larry Tye (P)2016 Random House Audio

Critic reviews

"This is not just another Bobby Kennedy book. It is the definitive biography of one of America's most compelling political figures. Larry Tye has given us the complete Bobby, from the Bad (Early) Kennedy, from Joe McCarthy's committee counsel to 'ruthless' political manager to gentle, softhearted presidential candidate. Tye's book rests on prodigious and original research including rare, on-the-record interviews with Bobby's widow, Ethel, who confesses that seeing Bobby for the first time was like meeting George Clooney." (Roger Mudd, winner of the Peabody Award and former coanchor of NBC Nightly News)

"Robert Kennedy led one of the great unfinished lives in American history. With skill and verve, Larry Tye has written a fascinating account of a transformative figure who continues to summon us to heed our better angels even all these years distant." (Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power)

"Drawing on the personal papers and insights of the Kennedy family, this biography will appeal not only to those wanting a portrait of a dynamic idealist, but also to those seeking to understand the emotions of the times in which he lived." (Henry A. Kissinger)

What listeners say about Bobby Kennedy

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    51
  • 4 Stars
    16
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    44
  • 4 Stars
    13
  • 3 Stars
    1
  • 2 Stars
    1
  • 1 Stars
    0
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    47
  • 4 Stars
    8
  • 3 Stars
    2
  • 2 Stars
    0
  • 1 Stars
    1

Reviews - Please select the tabs below to change the source of reviews.

Sort by:
Filter by:
  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A wonderful story of an important life

Highly engaging and very well researched biography. Deconstructs the complex background and political evolution of RFK whole including enough humour and first person detail to make you feel you know him. Great narration - I can not recommend this book too much to anyone interested in the 1960s world stage or looking for the definitive RFK biography.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • AC
  • 07-08-21

Modern Tragedy

This is a long listen, but it never gets bogged down or boring, such is the subject matter and the 100% perfect narration.

I'll declare an interest as a big fan of Bobby, however for anyone interested in modern history, this book is essential listening.

This is not a book that fawns over Bobby and his family, but it still manages to project the Kennedy Magic and the inevitable emotion attached.

How could a man such as Bobby, with all his faults and privilege, become such an enduring icon for people all over the world and from across the political spectrum, perhaps even surpassing his brother....get this book and find out. Unmissable.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Wel researched

Well researched and written. Delivery of speaker is excellent.
A good balance of all areas of RFKs life covered .

Just wished they focused a little more on who the shooter was and his trial and subsequent outcome.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Superb

A thoroughly honest factual account written comprehensively and without bias. A must read for those of you who like me only knew Bobby in smatterings

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

inspired

Beautiful book. I would highly recommend this to anyone for a comprehensive biography of RFK.

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Make gentle the life of this world

After reading this book, some three years ago, I was drawn back, the Kennedy magic is still strong, and stronger still as the reader moves along with this narrative. RFK was a remarkable character and man, who I admire for facing up to his own faults, which might be summed up as the forming of Kennedy.

For the reader not familiar with RFK, give this narration and book a chance. Your life might actually be better for it, knowing that there are people like RFK who came before us, fought for their beliefs rather than their wallet.

His speech after the death of another icon shows how far he came in his development of person; "tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world"

Something went wrong. Please try again in a few minutes.

You voted on this review!

You reported this review!