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Last Lion

The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy

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No figure in American public life has had such great expectations thrust upon him and fallen short of them so quickly. But Ted Kennedy, the gregarious, pudgy, and least academically successful of the Kennedy boys, became the most powerful senator of the last half century and the nation’s keeper of traditional liberalism.

As Peter S. Canellos and his team of Boston Globe reporters show in this intimate biography, Ted witnessed greater tragedy and suffered greater pressure than his siblings. He inherited a generation’s dreams and ambitions, and was expected to help confront his nation’s problems and to build a fairer society. But political rivals turned his all-too-human failings into a condemnation of his liberal politics. As the presidency eluded his grasp, Kennedy was finally free to become his own man. He transformed himself into a symbol of wisdom and perseverance.

Now, in two new chapters, Last Lion reveals how Kennedy battled cancer while helping Barack Obama bring about the biggest reform of health care in the nation’s history, and how he said good-bye to his family, friends, and enemies.

Perceptive and carefully reported, drawing from candid interviews with the Kennedy family, Last Lion captures magnificently the life, historic achievements, and personal redemption of Ted Kennedy, and offers a fresh assessment of his enduring legacy.

Peter Canellos is the Washington bureau chief for The Boston Globe and oversees all national coverage for the paper, where he has worked since 1988 covering local, state, and national politics.

"In 400 brisk but detail-rich pages, the book...sketches a poignant portrait." -- The New York Times Book Review

"If you want a peek inside America's royal family, this is a must-read, with details that only Boston Globe reporters could know." -- Tim O'Brien, The Minneapolis Star Tribune

"A balanced, nuanced, warts-and-all portrait." -- Kirkus Reviews

"A timely if not revelatory portrait of a flawed figure who 'never expected to become the custodian of his family's sorrows' but found a way to transcend the role." -- Alex Altman, Time

"A readable, relatively objective study of the once most-vilified man in contemporary American politics." -- The Washington Times

"With the publication of Last Lion: The Fall and Rise of Ted Kennedy, we get a fresh look at how this man's gothic imperatives -- blood loyalty and inherited duty -- would make him the greatest U.S. senator of modern times." -- Chris Matthews, host of MSNBC's Hardball and author of Kennedy & Nixon: The Rivalry That Shaped Postwar America

"Last Lion is a fine biography, a graceful summing up an extraordinary life that is not yet over. It shows little sign of having been written by a team of seven, and it does not carry the tone of an obituary. With its anecdotes and political tales, it captures the wit, humor, and grace of Ted Kennedy and establishes his place, 'as much a part of the Capitol as the dome or the Rotunda beneath it.'" -- Ken Bode, The Boston Globe

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