Download The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy Audiobook

The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy Audiobook, by David Nasaw Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: David Nasaw Narrator: Malcolm Hillgartner Publisher: Penguin Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: November 2012 ISBN: 9781101590089
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (413 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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In this pioneering new work, celebrated historian David Nasaw examines the life of Joseph P. Kennedy, the founder of the twentieth century's most famous political dynasty. Drawing on never-before-published materials from archives on three continents and interviews with Kennedy family members and friends, Nasaw tells the story of a man who participated in the major events of his times: the booms and busts, the Depression and the New Deal, two world wars and the Cold War, and the birth of the New Frontier. In studying Kennedy's life, we relive the history of the American century. "Riveting . . . The Patriarch is a book hard to put down . . . As his son indelibly put it some months before his father was struck down: 'Ask not what your country can do for you - ask what you can do for your county.' One wonders what was going through the mind of the patriarch, sitting a few feet away listening to that soaring sentiment as a fourth-generation Kennedy became president of the United States. After coming to know him over the course of this brilliant, compelling book, the reader might suspect that he was thinking he had done more than enough for his country. But the gods would demand even more." - New York Times Book Review Download and start listening now!


Quotes & Awards

  • “Riveting…The Patriarch is a book hard to put down…Brilliant.”

    Christopher Buckley, New York Times Book Review

  • “David Nasaw’s The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy is the sort of biography that begs to be called ‘magisterial.’”

    Boston Globe

  • “Mr. Nasaw has the rare ability to see the big picture and frame the detail with careful scholarship—all the while making room for elements that do not fit—which in Joe Kennedy’s case is quite a lot…Mr. Nasaw’s is a literate and searching exposition of the patriarch’s life that offers the reader compelling answers to questions about JPK…If The Patriarch doesn’t scoop up some serious accolades for the writing of American history, the fix is in.”

    Pittsburgh Post Gazette

  • “A major contribution to Kennedy history.”

    Booklist (starred review)

  • “[A] sprawling, highly readable biography of the dynast and larger-than-life figure whose presence still haunts American political life…Working from his subject’s extensive archives, Nasaw pieces together a sometimes-sympathetic, sometimes-critical view of Joseph P. Kennedy, father of John F. Kennedy and most definitely a man of parts…Exhaustive yet accessible, Nasaw’s book illuminates.”

    Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

  • “Nasaw captures the full humanity of his subject…This is truly a ‘definitive’ biography.”

    History Book Club

  • A New York Times bestseller
  • Kirkus Reviews’ Best Books, Best Biography 2012
  • A Kirkus Reviews “New and Notable Title”, November 2012
  • A 2012 New York Times Book Review Top 10 Book of the Year
  • A 2012 USA Today Best Book
  • A 2013 Pulitzer Prize Finalist for Biography/Autobiography
  • New York Times Book Review 100 Notable Books for Nonfiction, 2012
  • A 2012 Los Angeles Times Book Prize Nominee for Biography

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Jason | 2/17/2014

    " What to say about this book? What to say about this man who sired perhaps (in my opinion) one of the greatest presidents in U. S. history? There is no doubt in my mind that Joseph P. Kennedy was nothing less than an unscrupulous human being...and to me, that's putting it lightly. The average reader upon going into reading this biography would be hard pressed upon completing it to find their head swimming. Not so for myself, a true Kennedy maven. I have read almost everything on the 35th president and his family over the years so for me there wasn't really that much new for me to learn here. I did however, enjoy learning more about JPK's Hollywood sojourn (especially his dalliances/affair with Gloria Swanson) and I found the portion of the book regarding his time as Ambassador to the Court of St. James utterly fascinating. So, why then would I only give the book 4 out of 5 stars? Simply put, there were parts that I skimmed (or totally skipped) over. I thought that the background of the forebears of the Kennedy family and their early forays into the political world of Boston and its surrounding environment was great, seeing how we know that one of its descendants received the ultimate prize in American Politics generations later. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Natalie | 2/13/2014

    " Apart from the mind-numbingly dull and excessively long section on Joseph Kennedy's rise from banker to Wall Street speculator and real estate baron, I found this book to be a fascinating chronicle. It's aptly named and well worth the time it takes to get through its 750+ pages. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Peter | 2/12/2014

    " Interesting enough for the subject matter, but also gives great insight into some of the seminal events of US and world history in the 20th century. Some of them find their echoes in today's political and economic climate. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Shawn | 2/6/2014

    " Painstakingly detailed almost to the point of dull. The first half is a "business biography" more than anything else, and David Nasaw makes meticulously sure that we all know how legally Kennedy made his millions. The second half is the political biography, showing Kennedy as a stubborn man who saw things in black and white, no shades of gray, and became increasingly pessimistic about the world and the state of capitalism. Joe and his indomitable clan don't come out smelling like a Rose, but their devotion to public service (second only to their self absorbed devotion to all things Kennedy) is still an admirable thing. By the end, you aren't sure whether you like the Kennedys or find them repulsive - can you do both? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Don | 2/1/2014

    " This is an outstanding book. An incredible portrait of an incredible man. The hard part here is not to review Joe Kennedy, but to review the book. I learned a huge amount about U.S. and World politics and economics from about 1900 on. Kennedy and his family were so much more influential than I had ever known. This book is detailed and researched (or so it appears) to death. The players are not always painted in flattering terms, but that makes it even that much more believable. The fact that it was 800 pages long and a little tedious at times is probably all that kept me from giving it 5 stars. There was a little self indulgence by the author at times but I really enjoyed it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Martha | 1/31/2014

    " about 2/3 through: "The rich are different". Brought up hearing all the JFK Camelot lore, I am finding all of this fascinating: the pater familias comes across as having an overblown sense of self and the infallibilty if his opinions. Also, interestingly, perhaps as the father if current-day political PACs. Rose is distant and surprisingly uninvolved with her kids. Rosemary was given a lobotomy with negative effects and Rose did not even mention it in her letters etc. for over 20 years? All Joe seems to have been interested in was growing the family fortune. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Craig | 1/21/2014

    " Before reading this book all I heard about Joseph P. Kennedy was that he was a bootlegger and Nazi apologist. As with all things in life there multiple sides to any story. The author combs through the Kennedy archives for letters and other information and constructs solid narrative that entertains and educates. I gained an interesting perspective of Roaring 20's, Great Depression, World War II, and the first half of the Cold War from a devoted father and shrewd businessman. The author writes an interesting analysis of the context surrounding the letters and sheds objective light on the more controversial events of his life. I definitely recommend if you are into 20th century history. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Monica | 1/17/2014

    " Decent biography "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Carol | 1/5/2014

    " I found this book interesting but very ponderous at times. I learned a lot about the Kennedy's that I didn't know but I still don't know if I understand Joe "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Denise | 1/2/2014

    " Fascinating biography that puts to rest all the myths about Joseph P. Kennedy. My only problem with the book is that it ends rather abruptly and gracelessly. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Judith | 12/29/2013

    " Well written biography of a fellow it woud be tough to like. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Stephen | 12/22/2013

    " I knew this would be enlightening after finishing the introduction. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Thomas | 11/30/2013

    " Very interesting biography of the founder of the Kennedy dynasty. A genius at making money, but a disaster diplomatically, fostered his son's political careers, and endured multiple family tragedies. A fascinating read. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Ronnyjane | 11/28/2013

    " A great primer on business and politics. As relevant today as when the events in the book occured. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Julie | 11/25/2013

    " Fascinating look at JPK, whom I really knew nothing about. The hard parts for me were the financial parts but it's so long there's something for everyone in it ;) "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Maureen | 9/19/2013

    " A riveting and one of the most detailed accounts of early Kennedy family history. This is a really good read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Vzs19 | 7/1/2013

    " Good book , good research "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Shauna | 5/27/2013

    " Amazing book. Kennedy's life touched so many eras of history. Couldn't put it down. I shed a lot of tears at the end, which I never do. I still think he's more interesting than his son. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Lynn | 1/15/2013

    " Fascinating view of 20th century history. Well-written and fast read even though it's long. Received it as a gift and might not have picked it for myself seeing it as more of a "guys" book maybe but loved it. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Christy | 12/6/2012

    " I'd really like to give this book 4.5 stars. The only thing I can knock it for is that at times it got bogged down in details that I didn't consider significant or interesting. Overall, I loved it and highly recommend it. "

About the Author

David Nasaw is the author of Andrew Carnegie, which was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, awarded the New York Historical Society Prize in American History, and named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and The Chief: The Life of William Randolph Hearst, winner of the Bancroft Prize for history and the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for biography. He is the Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., Professor of History at the Graduate Center of the City University of New York.

About the Narrator

Malcolm Hillgartner is an accomplished actor, writer, and musician. Named an AudioFile Best Voice of 2013 and the recipient of several Earphones Awards, he has narrated over 175 audiobooks.