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For more than forty years, Frederick Forsyth has been writing extraordinary real-world novels of intrigue, from the groundbreaking The Day of the Jackal to the prescient The Kill List. Whether writing about the murky world of arms dealers, the shadowy Nazi underground movement, or the intricacies of worldwide drug cartels, every plot has been chillingly plausible because every detail has been minutely researched.
But what most people don’t know is that some of his greatest stories of intrigue have been in his own life.
He was the RAF’s youngest pilot at the age of nineteen, barely escaped the wrath of an arms dealer in Hamburg, got strafed by a MiG during the Nigerian civil war, landed during a bloody coup in Guinea-Bissau (and was accused of helping fund a 1973 coup in Equatorial Guinea). The Stasi arrested him, the Israelis feted him, the IRA threatened him, and a certain attractive Czech secret police agent—well, her actions were a bit more intimate. And that’s just for starters.
It is a memoir like no other—and a book of pure delight.
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 alive 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.