Windy City Media Group Frontpage News

THE VOICE OF CHICAGO'S GAY, LESBIAN, BI, TRANS AND QUEER COMMUNITY SINCE 1985

home search facebook twitter join
Gay News Sponsor Windy City Times 2021-09-01
DOWNLOAD ISSUE
Donate

Sponsor
Sponsor

  WINDY CITY TIMES

Book focuses on Robert Kennedy's liberal evolution
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Carrie Maxwell, Windy City Times
2016-09-20

This article shared 454 times since Tue Sep 20, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email


Massachusetts native Larry Tye's interest in Robert Kennedy's life began shortly after Kennedy was assassinated in 1968. His new book, Robert Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon, is the culmination of years of research and interviews with family members and friends of the late Senator, some of whom have never spoken to an RFK biographer in the past.

Tye attended Middlesex School with Kennedy's late son, David, and spent a number of years as a reporter for the Boston Globe, covering a variety of stories but left his post to focus on writing books.

"I started and ended as a medical reporter, and in between covered the environment, was the roving national writer and spent a year in sports," said Tye. "I wrote about Bobby for two reasons. Because my mentors in journalism, famously tough-minded reporters like Bill Kovach and David Halberstam, had, for the first and only times in their career, fallen in love with a politician. I wanted to understand what it was in Bobby that elicited that reaction in these two and so many others in my profession. I also saw RFK's life as a lens into how America changed from the conservative era of Eisenhower to the tumultuous '60s. Bobby, of course, was a harbinger as well as a reflection of that change."

Tye's book focuses on Kennedy's transformation from a hard-charging right-hand man to arch conservative Sen. Joseph McCarthy in the early 50s to someone dedicated to addressing poverty, racism and the protracted war in Vietnam in the intervening years. He said that this evolution was what surprised him the most about Kennedy. That some politicians, including Kennedy, are able to grow and change as time marches on.

While interviewing myriads of people including Kennedy's widow Ethel and sister Jean as well as his close friend John Seigenthaler and closest aide Peter Edelman, Tye said he got a fuller view and appreciation of Kennedy as a politician, husband, father, son and brother.

"Ethel let me test out every theory I had about Bobby, telling me where I was right and where I was way off," said Tye. "She was candid, in a way that other friends and family weren't, about how Joe McCarthy might have seemed like a monster to much of America but was a cherished friend to Bobby and her."

Tye said the one issue Kennedy was slow to change on, but he believed would have evolved on, is LGBT rights. He noted that Kennedy was a product of his time ( pre-Stonewall ) regarding LGBT rights and this was confirmed during his interviews with Edelman. Tye noted that much of Kennedy thoughts about the world stemmed from his father Joe's macho nature but that his instincts for the underdog and human rights overcame Joe's bad modeling throughout the 60s.

"Peter helped me see more than anyone how bad Bobby was on gay rights and yet how likely it was that he would change," said Tye. "Peter, as anyone who knows him knows, doesn't say such things lightly, nor does his wife Marian Wright Edelman, who loved Bobby almost as much as Peter did."

Kennedy's history with LGBT people, more specifically gay men, was problematic as Tye recounts in the book. This included Roy Cohn ( who worked alongside Kennedy on McCarthy's staff in the early 50s ), Gore Vidal ( who was Jackie Kennedy Onassis' step-sibling one time removed through their stepfather Hugh D. Auchincloss ), Truman Capote ( who lived in the same New York City apartment building as Kennedy ) and the copy editor who worked on Kennedy's book.

Tye explained that while interviewing New York Times journalist Anthony Lewis ( who knew both Kennedy and Cohn ) he discovered that Kennedy's disdain for Cohn ran deep and at times transcended his sexual orientation. Lewis, like Edelman, told Tye that Kennedy would've evolved on LGBT issues.

"Gore was like Roy Cohn in that respect: his being gay was a factor in Bobby's disdain, but not the only one," said Tye. "There were family reasons—Gore's step-relationship with Jackie and Bobby's always feeling like he was Jackie's protector—that underlay Bobby's inability to get along with Gore. And surely the antipathy was mutual."

While researching the book Tye discovered that Kennedy's relationship with Capote was more complicated than his interactions with Cohn and Gore. Capote told friends that while both men would have drinks together and chat when they walked their dogs he always felt Kennedy didn't fully accept him because he was gay.

Tye noted that the one relationship that, for the most part, transcended Kennedy's issues with gay people was with his brother John Kennedy's longtime friend LeMoyne "Lem" Billings ( who was gay ). Bobby and Ethel even named one of their sons, Michael LeMoyne Kennedy ( Feb. 27, 1958-Dec. 31, 1997 ), after Billings.

Tye will be appearing at a number of venues in Chicago Sept. 26-30 to discuss the book. See larrytye.com/author-event/ for more information.


This article shared 454 times since Tue Sep 20, 2016
facebook twitter pin it google +1 reddit email





Windy City Media Group does not approve or necessarily agree with the views posted below.
Please do not post letters to the editor here. Please also be civil in your dialogue.
If you need to be mean, just know that the longer you stay on this page, the more you help us.


  ARTICLES YOU MIGHT LIKE

Gay News

Chicago's holiday cultural and arts events to reopen for in-person
2021-09-23
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) today announced DCASE fall and holiday programming as Chicago's vital arts scene continues to safely and fully reopen. In-person holiday ...


Gay News

Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson on new book, 'Our Fair Share'
2021-09-22
In Equality Illinois CEO Brian C. Johnson's new book, Our Fair Share: How One Small Change Can Create a More Equitable American Economy, he posits that receiving a Citizen Dividend will help all U.S. residents achieve ...


Gay News

America250 to host LGBTQ+ Community Conversation Webinar Sept. 23
2021-09-22
--From a press release - Washington, D.C. —America250, the nationwide commemoration of America's 250th anniversary in 2026 led by the U.S. Semiquincentennial Commission, will host its next Community Conversation on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 4 pm ET. Members of the LGBTQ+ ...


Gay News

LGBTQ blood donation discrimination assessed, PULSE shootings cited
2021-09-21
--From a press release - Chicago, Ill. — Last week, Reps. Mike Quigley (IL-05), Val B. Demings (FL-10), Carolyn B. Maloney (NY-12), Adam B. Schiff (CA-28), Barbara Lee (CA-13), and Ritchie Torres (NY-15) received a ...


Gay News

Equality Illinois 'deeply troubled' by investigation into pro-LGBTQ teacher
2021-09-20
Equality Illinois issued a press release stating it is "deeply troubled" after a DuPage County teacher is being investigated for posts about LGBTQ history and racial justice. The videos, which were reposted to Twitter in early ...


Gay News

FILM REVIEW Chastain mesmerizes in 'Tammy Faye,' but bio offers few surprises
2021-09-20
Televangelists featured in some of the of the most spectacular falls from grace in the '80s. Television preachers who'd spent the better part of the '70s and the '80s insinuating themselves into pocketbooks, not to mention ...


Gay News

BOOKS 'Mission Possible' released before 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' anniversary
2021-09-20
C. Dixon Osburn, co-founder and former CEO of the Servicmembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), has written Mission Possible: The Story of the Repealing 'Don't Ask Don't Tell. This is the inside story of SLDN, which was ...


Gay News

Chicago Ald. Cappleman attacked
2021-09-19
On the night of Sept. 18, Chicago Ald. James Cappleman was attacked in the Uptown area of the city, The Chicago Tribune reported. Cappleman, in charge of the 46th Ward, is one of five members of ...


Gay News

WORLD Germany's compensation, Lyra McKee, LGBTQ Afghans, tennis player
2021-09-19
Germany has compensated almost 250 people who were prosecuted or investigated under a Nazi-era law criminalizing homosexuality, according to euronews. By September, 317 people had applied for compensation for their ...


Gay News

Patrick J. Kennedy to receive award from Trilogy at virtual gala
2021-09-18
Chicago-based Trilogy Behavioral Healthcare will present its Partner in Recovery Award to The Kennedy Forum founder, mental-health advocate and former Congressman Patrick J. Kennedy as a part of its virtual 50th-anniversary gala on Thursday, Oct. 21. ...


Gay News

Polis marriage marks first same-sex wedding of sitting governor
2021-09-17
On Sept. 15, Colorado Democratic Gov. Jared Polis wed longtime partner Marlon Reis—marking the first same-sex marriage of a sitting U.S. governor, NPR reported. Polis keeps making history. In 2018, Polis became the first openly gay ...


Gay News

Hastert settles sexual-abuse lawsuit
2021-09-16
Days before a trial was set to begin, former U.S. House Speaker Dennis Hastert reached a tentative settlement in a hush-money lawsuit filed by a man whose decades-old sexual-abuse allegations led to the politician's downfall six ...


Gay News

Now, only five of Chicago's 50 aldermen reject automatic pay raises
2021-09-16
Forty-five out of 50 Chicago aldermen have opted to accept a 5.5% pay increase in 2022 that will push the highest paid among them to an annual salary of more than $130,000, according to The Chicago Tribune. ...


Gay News

Chicago alderman apologizes for 'offensive words'
2021-09-15
Jim Gardiner, alderman of Chicago's 45th Ward, apologized during the Sept. 14 Chicago City Council meeting for his "offensive words" but said he "never acted on any of those rants" in which he appeared to call ...


Gay News

Gov. Pritzker signs transformative energy legislation for Illinois
2021-09-15
--From a press release - CHICAGO — Delivering on principles previously laid out, Governor JB Pritzker signed landmark legislation into law that puts the state on a path toward 100% clean energy, invests in training a diverse workforce for the jobs ...


 



Copyright © 2021 Windy City Media Group. All rights reserved.
Reprint by permission only. PDFs for back issues are downloadable from
our online archives. Single copies of back issues in print form are
available for $4 per issue, older than one month for $6 if available,
by check to the mailing address listed below.

Return postage must accompany all manuscripts, drawings, and
photographs submitted if they are to be returned, and no
responsibility may be assumed for unsolicited materials.
All rights to letters, art and photos sent to Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago
Gay and Lesbian News and Feature Publication) will be treated
as unconditionally assigned for publication purposes and as such,
subject to editing and comment. The opinions expressed by the
columnists, cartoonists, letter writers, and commentators are
their own and do not necessarily reflect the position of Nightspots
(Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay,
Lesbian, Bisexual and Transegender News and Feature Publication).

The appearance of a name, image or photo of a person or group in
Nightspots (Chicago GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times
(a Chicago Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender News and Feature
Publication) does not indicate the sexual orientation of such
individuals or groups. While we encourage readers to support the
advertisers who make this newspaper possible, Nightspots (Chicago
GLBT Nightlife News) and Windy City Times (a Chicago Gay, Lesbian
News and Feature Publication) cannot accept responsibility for
any advertising claims or promotions.

 

 

 

TRENDINGBREAKINGPHOTOS







Sponsor
Sponsor


 



Donate


About WCMG      Contact Us      Online Front  Page      Windy City  Times      Nightspots      OUT! Guide     
Identity      BLACKlines      En La Vida      Archives      Advanced Search     
Windy City Queercast      Queercast Archives     
Press  Releases      Join WCMG  Email List      Email Blast      Blogs     
Upcoming Events      Todays Events      Ongoing Events      Bar Guide      Community Groups      In Memoriam      Outguide Categories      Outguide Advertisers      Search Outguide      Travel      Dining Out      Privacy Policy     

Windy City Media Group publishes Windy City Times,
The Bi-Weekly Voice of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Trans Community.
5315 N. Clark St. #192, Chicago, IL 60640-2113 • PH (773) 871-7610 • FAX (773) 871-7609.