Wednesday, Dec 09, 2020 6:00p -
ONLINE via Boston Public Library
700 Boylston St
Boston, MA 02116
History, Lectures & Conferences, Virtual & Streaming
Join the Boston Public Library and the GBH Forum Network for an online talk with Neal Gabler, author of Catching the Wind: Edward Kennedy and the Liberal Hour, 1932-1975. BPL President David Leonard (https://www.bpl.org/content/leonard-david/
) will moderate this program, which is part of the Arc of History: Contested Perspectives series (https://forum-network.org/series/history-talks-boston-public-library/
). People who who are interested in attending are kindly asked to register at the following link: https://wgbh.zoom.us/webinar/register/7316057286118/WN_RnCkwz9KT925N99KXC413Q
The epic, definitive biography of Ted Kennedy—an immersive journey through the life of a complicated man and a sweeping history of the fall of liberalism and the collapse of political morality.
In the tradition of the works of Robert Caro and Taylor Branch, Catching the Wind is the first volume of Neal Gabler’s magisterial two-volume biography of Edward Kennedy. It is at once a human drama, a history of American politics in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries, and a study of political morality and the role it played in the tortuous course of liberalism.
Though he is often portrayed as a reckless hedonist who rode his father’s fortune and his brothers’ coattails to a Senate seat at the age of thirty, the Ted Kennedy in Catching the Wind is one the public seldom saw—a man both racked by and driven by insecurity, a man so doubtful of himself that he sinned in order to be redeemed. The last and by most contemporary accounts the least of the Kennedys, a lightweight. He lived an agonizing childhood, being shuffled from school to school at his mother’s whim, suffering numerous humiliations—including self-inflicted ones—and being pressed to rise to his brothers’ level. He entered the Senate with his colleagues’ lowest expectations, a show horse, not a workhorse, but he used his “ninth-child’s talent” of deference to and comity with his Senate elders to become a promising legislator. And with the deaths of his brothers John and Robert, he was compelled to become something more: the custodian of their political mission.
In Catching the Wind, Kennedy, using his late brothers’ moral authority, becomes a moving force in the great “liberal hour,” which sees the passage of the anti-poverty program and the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. Then, with the election of Richard Nixon, he becomes the leading voice of liberalism itself at a time when its power is waning: a “shadow president,” challenging Nixon to keep the American promise to the marginalized, while Nixon lives in terror of a Kennedy restoration. Catching the Wind also shows how Kennedy’s moral authority is eroded by the fatal auto accident on Chappaquiddick Island in 1969, dealing a blow not just to Kennedy but to liberalism.
In this sweeping biography, Gabler tells a story that is Shakespearean in its dimensions: the story of a star-crossed figure who rises above his seeming limitations and the tragedy that envelopes him to change the face of America
Advance Praise for CATCHING THE WIND
“A vigorous, highly readable life of Edward Kennedy (1932-2009), taking him from birth through the Watergate era. As Gabler tabulates, Ted Kennedy “sponsored 2,552 pieces of legislation, just under seven hundred of which became law”…Kennedy achieved remarkable things… A book full of triumph and tragedy and an exemplary study in electoral politics.” —Kirkus Reviews
“The result of staggering research and expert analysis, Gabler’s discerning evaluation of the totality of influences upon one of the twentieth century’s most persuasive and popular statesmen is a triumphant achievement and essential reading for everyone fascinated by the Kennedys, politics, and governance.” —Booklist
“There’s plenty of drama and pathos, including a riveting recreation of physical attacks on Kennedy by mobs of Boston anti-busing protesters, but Gabler pierces the haze of glamour surrounding the Kennedy clan to get at the substance of the politics they personified. This elegantly written and shrewdly insightful account is a must-read for political history buffs.” —Publishers Weekly
To purchase Catching the Wind, please visit Trident Booksellers & Cafe by using this link to their website (https://www.tridentbookscafe.com/event/bpl-event-author-neal-gabler-catching-wind
) and the and the free shipping (media mail only) coupon code BPLSHIP, which can be applied under the "Coupon discount" field on the order form used during checkout.
Neal Gabler is the author of five books, including three biographies: An Empire of Their Own, which won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize; Winchell, which was named Time Magazine’s nonfiction book of the year and was nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award; and Walt Disney, which won him his second Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was named biography of the year by USA Today. He has been the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Shorenstein Fellowship from Harvard, and a Woodrow Wilson Public Policy scholarship, and was the chief nonfiction judge of the National Book Awards.
Part of the Boston Public Library’s mission is to support lifelong learning, education and civic engagement that is “Free to All” including programs that bring figures and experts of note into conversation and dialogue. Arc of History: Contested Perspectives is a mini-series informed by historical moments and movements, recent and long past.