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Showing posts from 2008

Caroline Kennedy: Cartoon Asks if "The Kennedys" Dynasty Is Enough for NY Senate Bid; Video Coverage

Why thank you very much, Walt, for mentioning the book!. For last minute Christmas shoppers, the full title is "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings." And the ending in this history of the Kennedys -- now updated an accompanying Warner Home Video documentary -- underlines Caroline Kennedy's potential to follow the family's political legacy! Isn't it wonderful to be on top of the news!

Caroline Kennedy faces scrutiny

REVIEW: JFK Assassination: The 'JFK And The Unspeakable' Is Inexplicable and Ultimately a Disservice to History

I have no easy answers for the assassination of John F. Kennedy, but as an investigative reporter I value the truth too much to have offered a conspiracy theory in my own 2003 book ("The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings", now out in paper along with a Warner Home Video documentary of the same name) without sufficient evidence. Let's be clear: my book did uncover a lot of new evidence about the impact of the assassination on Jackie Kennedy and how she expressed her thoughts of suicide and grief to a Jesuit priest who counseled her. It's probably the most definitive, fact-based account of Jackie's reaction to this tragedy ever published. But that finding was based on my taped interviews with the priest and Jackie's own letters at Georgetown's library archives, not on some conjecture pulled from the air. Or even worse, of how I envisioned things to be.
Unfortunately, James W. Douglass does just that in "JFK and the Unspeakable: Why He Died and Wh…

Caroline Kennedy Sweepstakes: VIDEO: The Dynasty Issue - Of Kennedy Kings and Queens and What an Irish Chieftain Means Today

Dynasty! Monarchy! Shades of Camelot! The casting of the Kennedys as some kind of American royalty has always struck me as a bit ironic. JFK's great-grandfather as Irish Catholic immigrant worker who died of cholera. His grandfather was a local pol whose mother ran a tavern. If not for his wily old man, who made a fortune in booze, stocks and real estate tips from the NY archdiocese, John F. Kennedy probably never would have been president. (Hence, the title of my book, "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings," refers both to that miscast Camelot label perpetuated by the late Theodore H. White in recalling JFK soon after his assassination, and even more so to the idea of a Irish chieftain and that kind of clannish character that the Kennedys brought to American politics.
(If you're looking for a Christmas 'best book' buy at the last minute, why not read all about it? Sorry for the commercial!)
So, my friends, the Senate bid of Caroline Kennedy is bringing up…

VIDEO - Caroline Kennedy: Will She or Won't She? Only Her Governor Knows For Sure; She Breaks Bread with Rev. Al

How many more cheap puns can headline writers make out of the political roundabout involving Caroline Kennedy's Senate bid? (Actually, the press hope this goes on forever!) But will Gov. Patterson, at this late stage, risk the wrath of the Kennedys and many of their NY followers (not to speak of the new incoming President Obama) by rejecting JFK's daughter? Seems unlikely to this blogoskeptic and Kennedy historian. Just look at the glee in this report:

Sweet and Sour Caroline: Is NY the new battle scene between Obama and Hillary loyalists? See Video and Analysis

So are we going to see a little skirmish between the Obama crowd and the Hillary loyalists over her soon-to-be departed Senate seat? Can Caroline Kennedy be denied?
Mmmm, it seems unlikely, no matter how unfair or inappropriate, that JFK's only daughter will be stopped in her desire to become the next U.S. Senator from New York. There's a scene in the new documentary "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings," where Caroline's uncle, Robert F. Kennedy, addressed some of the same kind of carpetbagger charges in his 1964 race against Republican incumbent Kenneth Keating.

What's deeply ironic here is that Caroline Kennedy was an early and prominent support for Sen. Barack Obama -- which helped to convince her uncle, Sen. Edward Kennedy, to do the same. It was a big blow to Hillary Clinton's bid for the presidential nomination. I wonder if Hillary had won the presidency, would Caroline Kennedy still be in line for this job?

Caroline Kennedy as NY Senator? Her Entry in Politics Was Predicted in "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings"

Caroline Kennedy's reported interest in the Senate seat of Hillary Clinton's is a remarkable turn of events. As you can see in the newly-updated version of my 2008 book "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings," -- now out with its own Warner Bros. documentary -- I underlined the potential that Caroline Kennedy someday follow the political legacy of her father, President John F. Kennedy. My sources during the research of this book told me that they felt Caroline might step forward, out of the reclusiveness favored by her mother, former First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy, and enter the political arena where she'd be embraced as JFK's heir. Apparently, her cousin, Robert F. Kennedy Jr., has indicated to the Times he's not interested at this moment in the Senate seat.
Here's what I said in my book about Caroline Kennedy, her interest in politics and public service, and the role of the Kennedy women in this generation of the family:

Dennis Miller Embraces 'The Kennedys' and Wonders Where the "America's Emerald Kings" Came From.

Earlier this month on the Dennis Miller radio show, producer/director Robert Kline talked about "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings" based on my book of the same name. In the beginning, Dennis Miller asked about the origin of the phrase "America's Emerald Kings" and yes indeed there is some irony in that phrase. As I explained in the book, it obviously plays off the 'Camelot' imagery but underscores that the Irish roots as immigrants who came to the US as poor migrant workers. It also suggest the Irish idea of "chieftains", the Irish kings, and how the Kennedys seemed to embody that idea here.

john The Dennis Miller Show - Robert Kline Interview

JFK Assassination: Oliver Stone Talks About Film; Now Sold with New Documentary and Updated Book Looking at Kennedy Legacy

Oliver Stone's movie "JFK" is now being sold with a new Warner Bros. documentary based on the newly updated book of the same name, "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings". Here's an old clip of Siskel & Ebert reviewing Stone's film when it originally came out. It's now available on Blu-Ray DVD. The book can be found at Amazon.

JFK's Legacy and the Cultural Meaning of the Kennedys: Preface from the New Edition of "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings"

Here is the new 2008 preface to "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings." It's been released with a new Warner Home video documentary based on the book, sold along with Oliver Stone's "JFK" feature film.

Once I thought to write a history of the immigrants in America. Then I discovered that immigrants were America.
—historian Oscar Handlin (as quoted by John F. Kennedy in A Nation of Immigrants)

The 2008 presidential campaign offered many reminders for Sen. Edward Kennedy of the barriers his brother faced in 1960, becoming the first and only U.S. president from a minority background. With a sign from Dunganstown, Ireland hanging in his Senate office, a reminder of the famine-ravished farm where his ancestors began, Ted always seemed to understand that the Kennedys were perhaps America’s greatest immigrant story -- overcoming religious, ethnic and cultural barriers to reach once unimaginable heights.
“ My brother Jack wrote ‘A Nation of Immigrants’ in 1958…

Boston Globe: Kennedy Movie Debuts in Beantown, On to NYC; Sold with Oliver Stone's "JFK" as DVD Ultimate Collector's Edition

Here's what the Boston Globe says:
Director Robert Kline knows the Kennedys have been covered rather thoroughly, but he's hoping his documentary "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings," based on the book by Thomas Maier, brings something new to the discussion. "In the back of my mind, I always wanted to pay homage to the Kennedys," said Kline, the cofounder of Lifetime and former VP at Fox, who grew up in Ogunquit, Maine. The documentary, which had its world premiere at Boston College last night, focuses on little-seen private and political footage - some of JFK reassuring voters about his religion - and also gives deeper treatment to the Kennedy women. The film, which traces the Kennedys' path from Ireland to America's most powerful offices, will be distributed with a new high-def edition of Oliver Stone's "JFK," starting today. "It's not just good footage, it's great footage," Kline promised.

Video: Who Needs Boston College-Notre Dame football, when you have a new Kennedy documentary playing on campus? Boston Globe calls it "A Screen Gem"

Is this bigger than the Boston College- Notre Dame football game? Hey, I don't see that event mentioned in the Boston Globe gossip column today, but sure enough, there's a lovely item about the new Kennedy documentary playing Monday at Boston College (and on Wednesday at Fordham's Lincoln Center): Here's what the Globe said today:
Screen Gem
"The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings," will have its world premiere at Boston College on Monday. The documentary, based on Thomas Maier's book, traces five generations of Kennedy and Fitzgerald family trials and triumphs. Director Robert Kline and state Senator Harriette Chandler, a friend of the family, are expected to speak at the screening.

Barack Obama and Kennedy's 'Prophesy' about First African-American President; Predicted it 40 years ago; Kenyans Talk of Kennedy Ties To Obama's Win

First NBC newscaster Tim Russert pointed out the 'prophecy' of Robert Kennedy in the 1960s about a African-American president being elected in 40 years. And here's an account of the Obama-Kennedy connections following his victory this week.

"Obama made history when he was elected the first US African-American president on Tuesday. The prophecy goes back exactly 40 years ago when a much-beloved American leader, Senator Robert F Kennedy, while mourning his brother’s assassination, made his prophecy on Voice of America in 1968. "There is no question about it," Kennedy said. "In the next 40 years, a Negro can achieve the same position that my brother (former President John F Kennedy) had." Those were troubled times in the US. White extremists were still lynching blacks in America’s South and segregation had only been abolished. Kennedy said: "Prejudice would exist and probably would continue ... but we have tried to make progress and we are making…

Video: Kennedys Stump for Obama Right up to Election Day; Caroline Compares "Spark" of Dem to her Dad

Right up to election day, the Kennedys are prominent in the presidential campaign of Barack Obama, invoking images that harken back to the 1960 election of JFK. Here in Florida is Caroline Kennedy, the daughter of the late president, on the stump for Obama. “We haven’t had a leader who could light that spark and inspire us again... but we do now,” she said.

Studs Terkel: An Appreciation

Studs Terkel was the soul of the Windy City, the Chicago where people love to talk about politics, religion, their work and ultimately themselves. Terkel, a Pulitzer Prize-winner who died today at age 96, encompassed all of these passions in his journalistic career. As a college student three decades ago, I remember reading "Working", his fascinating compilation of everyday jobs. And in the early 1990s, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Studs Terkel at a New York Library party for the opening of The New Press, started by Terkel's long-time friend and publisher, Andre Schiffrin. Studs was a loyal sort and never forgot the gratitude that a writer has for working with a great publisher. In my 1994 book "Newhouse", Terkel described how he came to write "Division Street: America" with the help of Andre Schiffrin:

REVIEWER: New Kennedys Documentary Based on Book Is The 'Highlight' of New Oliver Stone "JFK" DVD Pak

Warner marries new JFK disc with doc
Ultimate Collector's Edition will be released Nov. 11
By Laurence Lerman -- Video Business, 10/23/2008
OCT. 23 | Oliver Stone’s 1991 film JFK has been issued on DVD several times over the past decade, but never with the with the kind of collectability and supplemental sheen that accompanies it in Warner Home Video’s upcoming JFK: Three-Disc Ultimate Collector’s Edition.
The highlight of the package—which includes the director’s cut of the film, a vintage documentary and featurettes, reproductions of Kennedy family and presidential photos, letters written by or to John F. Kennedy and more—is the new feature-length documentary The Kennedys: America’s Emerald Kings. Written, directed and produced by Robert Kline, the film will premiere on Nov. 10 at Boston College, a day before the Ultimate Collector's Edition is released. [Ed Note: In New York, it'll be shown at Fordham's Lincoln Center McNally Ampitheater on Nov. 12]
Find more videos l…

After Oliver Stone's 'W' Comes Next Month's 'JFK' and 'Kennedy' Docu Based on Book "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings"

Stars Align for Warner 'JFK' Release

By Billy Gil | Posted: 17 Oct 2008
Next in line to receive Warner Home Video’s elaborate “Ultimate Collector’s Edition” treatment will be JFK, the 1991 Oliver Stone film about the assassination of President John Fitzgerald Kennedy and the alleged cover-up that followed.
The set will be available Nov. 11 as the three-DVD JFK: Ultimate Collector’s Edition at $39.98; a Blu-ray Disc of JFK will be released the same day at $34.99.
In a superheated election year, and on the 45th anniversary of the assassination, the timing was right to re-release the film, said Jeff Baker, Warner’s EVP and GM of theatrical catalog.
“This is an election year, and there is great interest in presidents in general,” Baker explained. “I had been approached by [Robert] Kline, who’d acquired the film rights to a book called The Kennedys: America’s Emerald Kings.”
So Baker commissioned a documentary based on the Thomas Maier book about the Kennedys, directed…

New Kennedy DVD on Sale, Based on Book Re-Issued by Basic Books with Preface on Kennedys' 2008 Impact on Obama; Also Ted's Battle with Cancer

Boston College Nov. 10 Screening of "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings," new docu sold along with Oliver Stone's "JFK"

From the Irish Literary Supplement, Fall, 2008: Thomas Maier's book, "The Kennedys-America's Emerald Kings. encompassing a live generational family's journey starting from Wexford, Ireland to the United States in the twenty first century. Robert Kline, Executive Producer of Enduring Freedoms Productions and formerly Executive Vice President of 20th Century Fox, has produced a two hour documentary based on the book which will have its world premier on Monday November 10 at the Robsham Theatre on the Boston College campus. Hosted by the Center for Irish Programs, this premier screening will be followed the next day. November 11th, by the release of nearly one million DVD copies of the documentary which will be distributed and sold nationally by' Warner Brothers.

Here's the Makem Brothers in concert:

"W' Bush Trailer for New Oliver Stone Movie, then "JFK" and "The Kennedys" in November; "Whaddaya Think You Are -- A Kennedy? You're a Bush!"

In Variety, Peter Bart gives a big hooray to Stone for the new 'W" bipic which opens on Oct. 17. The new "JFK" DVD will unveil Nov. 12 along with a brand-new Warner Bros documentary by Robert Kline, a previous co-producer of Stone's work, with this new docu based on my book, "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings." Stone's original movie "JFK" explored the Kennedy assassination and conspiracy theories behind it. Basic Books is issuing a new updated version of my 700-page biography, including a preface that talks about the Kennedy family's impact on the 2008 presidential race with Barack Obama, and also details Sen. Ted Kennedy's battle with brain cancer.
Here's some of what Peter Bart says about "W" the new Stone film:
Last week I saw Oliver Stone's "W.," an engrossing film which reminds us that the man who made "Platoon" hasn't lost his edge. Part polemic, and part parody, "W."…

VIDEO: Call Me Lucky: Sarah Palin Wins the VP Gamble, and Maybe the Biggest One of All

Who needs all those CNN audience meters, rolling up and down with approval and discontent? We know what we saw here at this website, where we can spot true Americans and true blarney with hawk-eye clarity. So our result after the VP debate? Well, it wasn't exactly Kennedy-Nixon or Lincoln-Douglas.
Joe Biden was OK but looked a little sleepy, missing a few chances to punch and counterpunch. Without doubt, the true champ tonight was Sarah Palin, the Mauler from Wassila, who gritted her teeth and flashed a wink or two at the crowd while poking away. (No friendly winks for any of the mainstream media, though). She was remarkably effective against the Pride of Scranton or Wilmington or wherever Biden says he's from. There are lot of people betting she'd stumble and lost that heavy-favorite bet, at least tonight.
Palin may have taken a step or two towards the vice-presidency.
But the most remarkable news today is that Palin may be even closer to the presidency than we think.

Sarah Palin and Joe Biden Watch-out: Just Try Calling Your an Opponent an Elephant (or a Donkey) JFK-style.

In the Book of Debates, it is written that no candidate in their right mind should resort to name-calling. Those who violate this commandment are condemnded to purgatory in the public's mind and to the media's hell. Be like JFK, everyone advises, cool and in control, never resorting to name-calling.
Certainly Barack Obama and John McCain in this year's race, for all of the bile toward each other, have not resorted to any heavy doses of name-calling. But here's a little YouTube evidence that suggest Saint Jack wasn't quite all pure. Imagine, comparing Richard Nixon to an elephant!
As we head into the Vice-Presidential Debate (aka, The Super Bowl of Potential Gaffes), our head is swimming with the possibilities posed by Mooseburger and the Motor Mouth (Sarah Palin and Joe Biden).

For Obama, Is the Key to Success 'Be More than Irish than Harvard'? Will Poet's Inscription to JFK Hold a Key to This Year's Race?

This year, in places like Scranton Pennsylvania and other rust-belt locales, is the old inscription from poet Robert Frost to JFK at his 1960 inaugural still applicable: Be more Irish than Harvard?

Of course, readers of a certain biography, soon to be released as a Warner Bros. documentary, are very familiar with this phrase which held some of the key to Kennedy's success. But Catholic University professor Tim Meagher wonders in this essay if Obama's style on the stump might turn off Catholics who are pivotal in these swing states, pointing to Hillary Clinton's success with white Catholics over Obama during the primary season. That would very ironic given Obama's strong support from the Kennedy family during this election campaign.
But Meagher's essay really doesn't consider the changes in the institutional Church itself between JFK's time and now. Back in 1960, there was a lot obvious ethnic pride surrounding JFK's candidacy, becoming the first U.S. pr…

God, Christian Right and Stephen Colbert -- Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, Once and Possibly Future Md. Gov. Opines on Catholics, Democrats and Family

Talking about God and Democratic politics isn't the usual television fare. The Blue Party in recent years has let the GOP frame such eternal social questions like 'What Would Jesus Do?' But here on the Colbert Report, of all places, Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Maryland Lt. Governor, bravely touts her new book tackling this subject.
I always liked her sense of humor. When I interviewed her for my bio, The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings, Townsend laughed heartily at herself and other foibles, but spoke eloquently about how the family's Catholic faith informed RFK's decisions on race, immigration and his view of life. In particular, Robert F. Kennedy's friendship with Cesar Chavez seems like an odd couple, unless seen through the prism of Kennedy's understanding of his own family's history.
After the interview, Kathleen invited me to sit in her father's old red leather seat from his days in the Justice Department as JFK's Attorney Gener…

Review: Kerry Kennedy on "Being Catholic Now", Predicts Most Catholics Will Vote for Obama

It's nice to see that my book, The Kennedys; America's Emerald Kings," isn't the only one discussing the Kennedys and Catholicism in America.
In the Boston Globe, Kerry Kennedy discusses her new book "Being Catholic Now" which deals with much of the controversies of that past few years. She also told the NY Daily News that she think Catholics will largely vote this year for Barack Obama.
Here's a little of what she had to say to the Boston Globe:
"I was witnessing the mighty spirit, and the tremendous capacity of this institution which was so much a part of my history, and my family, and my sense of spirituality, and my vision of social justice . . . and then coming back and hearing bishops who were protecting their turf instead of protecting children and playing Three-card Monte with the pedophile priests and blaming it on people who are gay," she said. "So it was important to me to resolve that."

VIDEO: Oliver Stone's "W" Followed by DVD Release of "JFK" Along with "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings" documentary

Right after the much publicized release of Oliver Stone's "W" movie on the life our current president, Warner Bros will be re-releasing on DVD Stone's earlier film involving another president "JFK" along with a brand-new documentary "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings" based on my biography published by Basic Books. The newly re-issued book looks at the impact of the Kennedys on the 2008 presidential races, their support of Barack Obama, and Ted Kennedy's battle with cancer. Here's the trailer for the new "W" movie.

ICONS Festival Outside Boston Celebrates Irish-American Music and Arts

The Irish Cultural Centre of New England was kind enough to host my talk about "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings" a few years back. And now this coming weekend, the Centre is hosting ICONS, the Irish Music and Arts Festival, September 12-14, including such performers as the Boston Kiltics seen here in this video. I'm hoping to see return soon with the new Warner Bros. two-hour documentary "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings" based on my book and debuting Nov. 10 at Boston College.

Alas, Conventions, We Hardly Knew Ye -- Now Give Me That Old-Time Entertainment, RNC and DNC Style!

For years, critics have bemoaned the death of entertainment on commercial television. Oh where, oh where have those old programs gone on the Big Three networks? Remember Omnibus, the Hallmark Hall of Fame Hour, even the Ed Sullivan show with Topo Gigot? Sadly the old softshoe, the variety skits and the June Taylor dancers have faded away. Now we have all these reality shows done on the cheap, featuring contestants eating bugs or trying Jackass stunts. (Where DO they get these folks?) As our mothers might ask, "So, mister, you call this entertainment???"
But fear not, this summer -- the season when TV traditionally tests new programming -- comes a new form of TV entertainment. What better to get your jollies than the new show called "Convention"? Think of it, each week a major party could be given their own network nighttime slot, with their own brand of entertainment. The Dems this year had a fondness for the soulfulness for Stevie Wonder, while GOP serenaded its …

"Jack" McCain More Like JFK Than Obama? John McCain's GOPers Jump Into "Compare-Alot", Say Kennedys More Like Their War Hero Than Ted and Caroline's

Everyone wants to get into the JFK comparisons, even supporters of John McCain. In this NY Daily News essay, Bartle Bull -- whose pedigree describes him as a former publisher of The Village Voice and New York State chairman of Democrats for McCain -- makes the case that McCain's background of service in the military is more like President Kennedy than the current Democratic nominee, Sen. Barack Obama, supported by JFK's daughter Caroline and brother, Sen. Ted Kennedy. Since we've written much about the Camelot comparison -- what we call "Compare-Alot" -- we were a sucker for this one too.
Like Jack Kennedy, McCain is grounded by heroic service as a naval officer. His patriotism requires no parsing. Like JFK, McCain understands that you cannot conduct foreign policy without understanding history. No person of that background could suggest a unilateral strike on Pakistan, as Obama did last year, apparently forgetting that this United States ally has nuclear weapons.…

VIDEO: "The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings" By Thomas Maier and New Warner Bros. Documentary Based on Book, Along with Oliver Stone's "JFK"

REUTERS- The controversial highly-charged story surrounding John F. Kennedy's assassination is revisited with the November 11 release of Oliver Stone's JFK as a Three-Disc Ultimate Collector's Edition from Warner Home Video. The UCE will feature The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings, an extraordinary new documentary from filmmaker Robert Kline based on Thomas Maier's acclaimed book about five generations of the renowned political family. Unique to the documentary is political and private footage of the Kennedys not widely available to the general public. The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings documentary will be premiered on November 10th at Boston College and also screened on November 12th at Fordham University/Lincoln Center. Both universities
have the largest Irish studies programs in the country.

About The Documentary

The Kennedys: America's Emerald Kings is an American saga about the Irish Catholic experience. It encompasses fiv…