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The Last Campaign
Cover of The Last Campaign
The Last Campaign
Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America
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With new research and previously unavailable interviews, The Last Campaign provides an intimate and absorbing historical narrative that goes right to the heart of America's deepest despairs-and most fiercely held dreams-and tells us more than we had understood before about this complicated man and the heightened dramas of his times. After John F. Kennedy's assassination, Robert Kennedy looked past his own pain to that of this country, and he sought to offer it hope. And when he announced that he was running for president, the country united in hope behind him. Over the action-packed eighty-two days of his campaign, Americans were inspired by Kennedy's promise to lead them toward a better time-until an assassin's bullet stopped this last great stirring public figure of the 1960s. Clarke's The Last Campaign is the definitive account of Robert Kennedy's exhilarating and tragic 1968 campaign for president-and a revelatory history that is especially resonant now.
With new research and previously unavailable interviews, The Last Campaign provides an intimate and absorbing historical narrative that goes right to the heart of America's deepest despairs-and most fiercely held dreams-and tells us more than we had understood before about this complicated man and the heightened dramas of his times. After John F. Kennedy's assassination, Robert Kennedy looked past his own pain to that of this country, and he sought to offer it hope. And when he announced that he was running for president, the country united in hope behind him. Over the action-packed eighty-two days of his campaign, Americans were inspired by Kennedy's promise to lead them toward a better time-until an assassin's bullet stopped this last great stirring public figure of the 1960s. Clarke's The Last Campaign is the definitive account of Robert Kennedy's exhilarating and tragic 1968 campaign for president-and a revelatory history that is especially resonant now.
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About the Author-
  • Pete Larkin is an AudioFile Earphones Award winner and a 2014 Audie Award finalist. He was the public address announcer for the New York Mets from 1988 to 1993. An award-winning on-camera host, Pete has worked on many industrial films and has done hundreds of commercials, promos, and narrations.
Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Clarke examines the enormous effect on Americans of RFK's eighty-two-day campaign for the presidency. RFK became a candidate because he hoped to help heal a morally wounded nation. It was 1968. An unpopular president (Johnson) was waging a controversial war (Vietnam). By deciding to run, RFK infuriated Johnson and angered everyone from white Southerners to the business community, from organized crime to machine pols like Chicago's Mayor Daly. The year also saw the Tet Offensive, the My Lai massacre, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s, assassination, and the worst racial disturbances since the Civil War. Pete Larkin narrates in the best storytelling tradition, avoiding any trace of theatricality or "broadcast voice." He makes Clarke's well-researched page out of recent American history hard to put down. S.J.H. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award (c) AudioFile 2008, Portland, Maine
  • Publisher's Weekly

    March 31, 2008
    In this hagiographic narrative of Robert F. Kennedy’s 1968 Democratic presidential primary campaign, RFK seems less a politician than a moral teacher. Hammering away at the immorality of poverty and racism, he confronted crowds with their own ethical culpability and, regarding the Vietnam War, reminding campus audiences of the unfairness of student draft deferments. Rapturous throngs of voters ate it up and propelled RFK to a string of victories. Clarke (Ask Not
    ) positions Kennedy as a prototypical New Democrat who appealed to minorities and working-class whites alike by mixing liberalism with themes of law and order, free enterprise, jobs and local control. But in Clarke’s telling, Kennedy’s essence is spiritual rather than political; he is a Christ figure— comforting sick children, utterly sincere in his beliefs and incapable of political pandering, haunted by forebodings of his assassination, his charisma “tactile and mystical... he had to let people see, touch, and commune with him.” Clarke emphasizes the Kennedy campaign’s contemporary resonance, but his book is more revealing as an iconic portrait of the passionate, turbulent zeitgeist of the 1960s. 8 pages of b&w photos.

  • Publisher's Weekly

    July 28, 2008
    Forty years before Obamamania, there was another White House run that was so frenzied, reporters feared they'd be crushed to death by the electrified crowds he generated. Clarke's encyclopedic study of that short-lived, 11th-hour bid in the spring of 1968 reminds listeners that Robert F. Kennedy understood that the fanaticism toward his campaign was a transmutation of the grief the nation felt over the assassination of his brother. In less than three months, RFK became presidential in his own right, inspiring Americans with both his message of hope and unparalleled oratory gifts. It's precisely this finesse with speech that proves the greatest challenge for this audio: Pete Larkin's reading of Kennedy's addresses simply can't compete with the late politician's familiar delivery. Larkin has the daunting task of calibrating his tone so as to match the optimism of the campaign's first 81 days, while acknowledging the horror of day 82. Without doing impersonations, Larkin uses slight pitch changes to differentiate between Kennedy and others. A Henry Holt hardcover (Reviews, Mar. 31).

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The Last Campaign
The Last Campaign
Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America
Thurston Clarke
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