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Rosemary

Cover of Rosemary

Rosemary

The Hidden Kennedy Daughter

They were the most prominent American family of the twentieth century. The daughter they secreted away made all the difference.

Joe and Rose Kennedy's strikingly beautiful daughter Rosemary attended exclusive schools, was presented as a debutante to the queen of England, and traveled the world with her high-spirited sisters. And yet, Rosemary was intellectually disabled—a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family.

Major new sources—Rose Kennedy's diaries and correspondence, school and doctors' letters, and exclusive family interviews—bring Rosemary to life as a girl adored but left far behind by her competitive siblings. Kate Larson reveals both the sensitive care Rose and Joe gave to Rosemary and then, as the family's standing reached an apex, the often desperate and duplicitous arrangements the Kennedys made to keep her away from home as she became increasingly intractable in her early twenties. Finally, Larson illuminates Joe's decision to have Rosemary lobotomized at age twenty-three and the family's complicity in keeping the secret.

Rosemary delivers a profoundly moving coda: JFK visited Rosemary for the first time while campaigning in the Midwest; she had been living isolated in a Wisconsin institution for nearly twenty years. Only then did the siblings understand what had happened to Rosemary and bring her home for loving family visits. It was a reckoning that inspired them to direct attention to the plight of the disabled, transforming the lives of millions.

They were the most prominent American family of the twentieth century. The daughter they secreted away made all the difference.

Joe and Rose Kennedy's strikingly beautiful daughter Rosemary attended exclusive schools, was presented as a debutante to the queen of England, and traveled the world with her high-spirited sisters. And yet, Rosemary was intellectually disabled—a secret fiercely guarded by her powerful and glamorous family.

Major new sources—Rose Kennedy's diaries and correspondence, school and doctors' letters, and exclusive family interviews—bring Rosemary to life as a girl adored but left far behind by her competitive siblings. Kate Larson reveals both the sensitive care Rose and Joe gave to Rosemary and then, as the family's standing reached an apex, the often desperate and duplicitous arrangements the Kennedys made to keep her away from home as she became increasingly intractable in her early twenties. Finally, Larson illuminates Joe's decision to have Rosemary lobotomized at age twenty-three and the family's complicity in keeping the secret.

Rosemary delivers a profoundly moving coda: JFK visited Rosemary for the first time while campaigning in the Midwest; she had been living isolated in a Wisconsin institution for nearly twenty years. Only then did the siblings understand what had happened to Rosemary and bring her home for loving family visits. It was a reckoning that inspired them to direct attention to the plight of the disabled, transforming the lives of millions.

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About the Author-
  • Kate Clifford Larson is the author of the critically acclaimed biographies Bound for the Promised Land: Harriet Tubman, Portrait of an American Hero and The Assassin's Accomplice: Mary Surratt and the Plot to Kill Abraham Lincoln. She has been a consultant and interpretive specialist for numerous museum and public history initiatives, focusing on the lives and contributions of women in the making of our national identity.

Reviews-
  • AudioFile Magazine Horror and compassion are the emotions that dominate as one listens to this well-researched audiobook. Narrator Bernadette Dunne delivers the author's examination of a privileged life gone horribly wrong. Rosemary Kennedy, Joseph Kennedy's eldest daughter; sister to a president, an attorney general, and a senator, was born developmentally disabled. Dunne's deliberate pace will make listeners' skin crawl with revulsion at what delaying a birth can do to an otherwise healthy child. The horror doesn't end there. The decade into which Rosemary was born and the dynamics of her prominent family create more tragedy for her because so little was known about the mentally challenged and their capabilities. Compassion for Rosemary's strength to survive and her inspiring effect on her brothers and sisters is evident in Dunne's performance. E.E.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2015, Portland, Maine
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    All copies of this title, including those transferred to portable devices and other media, must be deleted/destroyed at the end of the lending period.

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Rosemary
Rosemary
The Hidden Kennedy Daughter
Kate Clifford Larson
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