In The Revolution of Robert Kennedy John R. Bohrer explores the changes in Kennedy’s personal and professional life after the assassination of his brother, President John F. Kennedy. But Bohrer’s fascination with American political dynasties doesn’t end with the Kennedys. Here, he shares five must-read books for readers who want to look at some of the families that have shaped America.
The Bush dynasty
Being Poppy, which pulls out Richard Ben Cramer’s reporting on George Herbert Walker Bush from his 1992 masterpiece What It Takes, tells the story of the Bush family before “Roman candle” George W. ascends to the governorship of Texas, let alone the presidency. Yet you can clearly see the familiar dynamic. In the final scene “Poppy,” as H.W. was always known for his wise manner, rides on a train with his father, U.S. Senator Prescott Bush, who offers a beautiful reflection on power, and how quickly it comes and goes.
The Kennedy dynasty
The Irish Catholic family, its trials and triumphs, is all laid out in this multi-generational history, which goes back to Ireland and brings the family up to the 21st century. Thomas Maier shows how faith, clannish attitudes about political loyalty, and devotion drove not just the most politically successful generation of Kennedys—Jack, Bobby and Teddy—but the ones who gave them the chance.
The Adams dynasty
The story of the White House’s other foreign-born First Lady (Melania Trump is only the second) tells the story of the Adams dynasty as well as any book on the founding generation of John and Abigail. Louisa shows what it was like to marry into the monumental family with the pressures placed upon her and her husband, John Quincy.
The Daley dynasty
Never has one family ruled a modern major American city for so long, and it all began with Richard J. Daley. His family’s rise, recounted through the prism of Chicago, is as much the story of a meat-packing town, the ward politics that kept Daley in power, and how much clout one can build off of broad shoulders and chits.
The Roosevelt dynasty
This chronicle of Franklin D Roosevelt’s formative journey begin with his marriage to fifth cousin, Eleanor, who also happened to be a relative of the sitting President of the United States, Theodore. Franklin dives into the family business, making the Roosevelts into the rare bipartisan dynasty. Geoffrey C. Ward captures this brood of large-hearted and hungry public servants as war and disease challenged them, and ultimately forged their resolve.
John R. Bohrer is a reporter, historian, and television news producer, who has prepared anchors for high-profile interviews and tackled in-depth investigations. His writing has appeared in New York magazine, The New Republic, Politico, and USA Today, among others. A New Jersey native and graduate of Washington College in Chestertown, MD, he currently resides in Brooklyn, New York. The Revolution of Robert Kennedy is his first book.