The First Kennedys: The Humble Roots of an American Dynasty (Hardcover)

The First Kennedys: The Humble Roots of an American Dynasty By Neal Thompson Cover Image
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Description


“Here is that rare thing: an untold chapter in the Kennedy saga. . .Compelling and illuminating.”—Jon Meacham

Based on genealogical breakthroughs and previously unreleased records, this is the first book to explore the inspiring story of the poor Irish refugee couple who escaped famine; created a life together in a city hostile to Irish, immigrants, and Catholics; and launched the Kennedy dynasty in America.

Their Irish ancestry was a hallmark of the Kennedys’ initial political profile, as JFK leveraged his working-class roots to connect with blue-collar voters. Today, we remember this iconic American family as the vanguard of wealth, power, and style rather than as the descendants of poor immigrants. Here at last, we meet the first American Kennedys, Patrick and Bridget, who arrived as many thousands of others did following the Great Famine—penniless and hungry. Less than a decade after their marriage in Boston, Patrick’s sudden death left Bridget to raise their children single-handedly. Her rise from housemaid to shop owner in the face of rampant poverty and discrimination kept her family intact, allowing her only son P.J. to become a successful saloon owner and businessman. P.J. went on to become the first American Kennedy elected to public office—the first of many.

Written by the grandson of an Irish immigrant couple and based on first-ever access to P.J. Kennedy’s private papers, The First Kennedys is a story of sacrifice and survival, resistance and reinvention: an American story.

About the Author


NEAL THOMPSON is a journalist and the author of five highly acclaimed books, including A Curious Man, Driving with the Devil, and the fatherhood-and-skateboarding memoir Kickflip Boys. He has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Esquire, Outside, Oprah.com, and more and has taught creative nonfiction at Hugo House and the Great Smokies Writing Program. He lives in Seattle with his family.

Praise For…


“Here is that rare thing: an untold chapter in the Kennedy saga. Neal Thompson has given us a compelling and illuminating book about one of the most important families in our history—a family that represents so much about America then. And now.”   — Jon Meacham, Pulitzer Prize winner and #1 New York Times best-selling author of Thomas Jefferson: The Art of Power

“Here is the chaos, claustrophobia, tragedy, and triumph of immigrant America told through one city and one iconic family. Just when you thought you knew everything there was to know about the Kennedys, along comes Neal Thompson with this brilliant re-creation of the Irish diaspora succeeding in a city that for many years would not allow them to be part of the American story. It’s great storytelling.”  — Timothy Egan, Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times best-selling author of The Immortal Irishman

“Compelling … ranks with the richly evocative work of Doris Kearns Goodwin and Thomas H. O’Connor.” — Boston Globe

“Thompson’s impressive research and engaging exposition create a unique addition to the Kennedy canon. This is not just the story of the Kennedys; Thompson paints a picture of life for many Irish immigrants. History buffs should pick up this book immediately.” — Booklist

“Drawing on archival material, contemporary publications, and family papers where sources about the Kennedys’ early years are scant, Thompson provides solid historical context about the plight of Irish immigrants, roiling national politics, and changing demographics … A lively biography of an iconic family before it became famous.” — Kirkus Reviews

“To understand the unforgettable stories of Jack and Bobby, Eunice, Ted, and the rest of their celebrated generation of Kennedys, we have to understand the stories of their extraordinary great-grandparents and grandparents. Now, thanks to Neal Thompson, we can. Read all about it in The First Kennedys.”  — Larry Tye, author of Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon

“A fresh, engrossing, and profoundly relatable look at a family that everyone thinks they know. Crafting a saga elevated by dogged research and transporting prose, Neal Thompson casts the humble beginnings of an American dynasty into surprising and penetrating light. Unforgettable.”    — Denise Kiernan, New York Times best-selling author of The Last Castle and The Girls of Atomic City

“Bridget Kennedy, JFK’s grandmother, achieved the American dream, but her story has been buried in patriarchal lore. No more. In this fascinating book, Neal Thompson gives Bridget her due—and in the process, makes us reconsider JFK’s origin story.”  — Alexis Coe, historian and New York Times best-selling author of You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington

“Neal Thompson’s The First Kennedys is both a profound portrait of the immigrant experience and an intimate look at the origins of an American dynasty. Deeply researched, intricately layered, and written in sparkling prose, this is narrative history at its finest." — Karen Abbott, New York Times best-selling author of The Ghosts of Eden Park and Sin in the Second City

“I thought everything had been written about the Kennedy family, but Neal Thompson has proven me wrong. He has entered into the early years of the Kennedys and brought forth a stunning, intimate tale of the American family that fascinates us beyond all others.” — Laurence Leamer, New York Times best-selling author of The Kennedy Women and The Kennedy Men

"An engrossing, real-life rags-to-riches tale." — Publishers Weekly

“Splendidly heterodox … Thompson brilliantly illuminates the strain of Mariolatry in the Kennedys that Bridget embodied.” — Airmail

“Winsomely written … both an absorbing family story and a saga of the Irish diaspora in Boston.” — Library Journal

Product Details
ISBN: 9780358437697
ISBN-10: 0358437695
Publisher: Mariner Books
Publication Date: February 22nd, 2022
Pages: 352
Language: English

How to read more

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How To Read More

If you love reading, but for some reason you read less and less, know that everything is fine. It happens.
Our lives today have so many things that distract us - how can we not put books away when all these movies, TV shows, YouTube videos, social networks and endless surfing in online stores are around ...
Yes, it's really hard to resist, but you certainly can!

In this article, we want to share with you some tips to read more often and more successfully.
These are some notes and some practices that we have collected for our SUNDOG BOOKS readers club.
And maybe it will bring more books into your life!

Why do we want/need to read more?

To start reading more, you have to understand why you need it.
And you will be surprised, but your goals can be quite varied:

- for work
If you read a lot on duty, then you definitely need to speed up the process. The logic here is simple: read faster → work faster → more time for books for yourself.

- for education
you need this for your educational career or sometimes you just want to read to learn. And, with all the new alternative ways to gain knowledge (podcasts, online courses and videos), the book still does an excellent job of this task too.

- for self-development
all exercises for increasing speed, one way or another, improve cognition and memory.

- for fun
because good books always = fun!

Book lovers have an additional special goal for reading more often. If you love literature, you will understand what we mean: you want to catch everything - to follow modern literature, and not forget about the classics, look into non-fiction and children's publications. And there’s so much you want to reread! The goals are ambitious, but attainable if you read a lot.

 

And so - How to read more:
We will tell you about the methods that we use ourselves. Perhaps some will suit you as well.

 

15 minutes a day

You've probably already heard this rule: if you want to start a healthy habit, devote 15 minutes a day to it. Once upon a time, we all read irregularly, in jumps and starts. Sometimes we cannot open a book we have begun weeks ago. Therefore, you should decide to create a rule: devote at least 15 minutes a day to reading. Try reading before bed, or maybe during lunchtime, or even when you are having your morning coffee.

You will see progress immediately. You will notice that almost always your 15 minutes will grow into half an hour or more. But the most remarkable thing is that in three weeks your hands themselves will be looking for a book.

 

50 First Pages
This method advises - If the book hasn't hooked you from the first 50 pages, put it aside! Life is too short to read uninteresting books.

It is necessary to change the approach to books. At first it will be hard for you to stop and put the book down. Even if we put the book away, it will seem to reproach us from the shelf, mocking us as quitters. But in the end we should come to one simple thought: if it doesn’t hook your attention, you should not force yourself to read it.

***Fifty pages is not a bad test. Not the most objective, but definitely effective. It helps to determine whether it interests you or not, and whether to spend time on things that do not excite.

 

Reader's Diary

This should be used to improve the quality of reading - to make it more conscious. For starters, it can be a simple notebook with headings:

  • Author
  • Year of publication
  • Main characters
  • Scene
  • Plot
  • Theme
  • Quotes

And, yes, a reader's diary is not a thing about quantity, but about quality. But, it can also motivate. When you open your diary and start looking at quotes (especially quotes), you immediately really want to read.

 

Maybe a Book Bet?
Several people can participate. Members of the betting group can come from friends, family, and also your colleagues. And of course you can set your own rules for participation, but we'll give you a simple example:

Everyone in the group should read and review a book over the course of a month with weekly updates. Anyone who does not finish a review buys the book for all other participants for the next month.

 

Speed Reading

Another effective way to increase the amount you read is speed reading. The logic here is simple - the faster you read, the more books you can enjoy.

*There are many online courses on speed reading, and you can also study on your own using instructional books. But, it is worth noting that this is a serious learning process that will require some effort on your part.

 

Outcome

Reading every day is quite attainable, the main thing is to try to make it a habit.
Sometimes, instead of heading for Facebook, try opening a book and soon you won’t even remember why you needed to wander around social media.
And also - don't forget about audiobooks. They are a cool way to take the load off your eyes sometimes and just immerse yourself in the story. Some books are really strong in voice acting.

 
 
 

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