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The posthumous memoir of United States Senator Ted Kennedy.

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Ted Kennedy Sums Up His Life

  • Oct 12, 2009
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How important is Ted Kennedy's Memoire? I believe every man, woman and child over 12 years old in 2009 in all the world needs to read TRUE COMPASS to gain its multi-faceted levels of knowledge about 77 years of an important life. 

As he lay dying, Ted Kennedy has a last goal, to finish TRUE COMPASS, his personal story of his life. And, he succeeded. Kennedy speaks about those important experiences that could help us understand who he was as a human being who loved God, family and country. Within that context, only a few sentences framed his 9/11 recollections, for example.

What stood out most powerfully for me was his faith in God, his love of his family, and his tireless and forever exciting dedication to his vision of the future of America.

The book couldn't really be a tribute to Kennedy's Democratic politics for me, because he was often relentlessly wrong at the top of his lungs. Still, right or wrong, he worked hard to serve his country for nearly half a century, for much of those years within a family of political powerhouses with the same dedication.

Yes, he spoke about Mary Jo Kopechne with responsibility and sensitivity, acknowledging her parents who both died in the early 21st century. When I read his account, my mind stopped being made up all by itself without the additional information he shared in this book. After I read Kennedy's account, I believed what he said enough to allow it to be another possibility besides the one I believed for decades.

In Chapter 21, Kennedy's story of his courting and marrying his last wife I found candid and touching.

Rarely, does anyone get a chance to share 77 years of life with someone as eloquent as Ted Kennedy, a life long communicator. His writing flows like so many of those rivers he sailed on as he indulged himself in his favorite hobby.

But TRUE COMPASS is bigger than Ted Kennedy and his life or even the lives of the famous and public Kennedy family. TRUE COMPASS is about 77 years of life in America, what it means to be a person of privilege (Ted Kennedy received his First Holy Communion from Pope Pius XII), and how one very famous man from a very famous family taught himself to survive life in the public eye.

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More True Compass: A Memoir reviews
review by . January 07, 2010
True Compass: A Memoir, by Edward M. Kennedy
  This is an extraordinary memoir. It held my interest and was a quick read, which is good for a 500+ page book. There are several reasons why this autobiography is so intriguiing: It gives a well-rounded look at Ted Kennedy's life: his family, his schooling, his years campaigning for his brothers, and his own political service. Kennedy writes candidly about the low-points in his life: his brothers's assassinations, Mary Jo Kopechne, and his divorce. He gives a behind-the-scenes look at the …
review by . March 07, 2010
True Compass
 True Compass is a memoir of the life of Ted Kennedy. I picked it up at my local library because I was interested in learning more about the life of this extraordinary man who spent most of his life in the United States Senate. The memoir begins with Senator Kennedy preparing to address the 2008 Democratic National Convention in order to gain support for the Democratic Presidential nominee, Barack Obama. After this intro, we are treated to a look back at his life. He talks about the tough lessons …
Quick Tip by . October 12, 2009
Every man, woman and child over 12 in the world in 2009 needs to read Ted Kennedy's TRUE COMPASS to share his 77 years of public life.
About the reviewer
Barbara Garro ()
Ranked #140
When I am not writing or painting or teaching, I am reading, literally hundreds of non-fiction books every year. Why? Because I love learning from other people's journeys. Authors work hard to bring … more
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About this book


 True Compass is the posthumous memoir of United States Senator Ted Kennedy that was released September 14, 2009, by Twelve, a division of the Hachette book group.

Kennedy signed up to do the book in the autumn of 2007. Kennedy received a reported $8 million advance for the work. It was written with the help of Pulitzer Prize-winning collaborator Ron Powers and was based on contemporaneous notes taken by Kennedy throughout his life, hours of recordings for an oral history project, and long interviews. Despite the collaboration, Kennedy literary representative Robert Barnett said that "every word" in the work was Kennedy's. Kennedy's editor, Jonathan Karp, later said that "it was very clear from the outset that he was setting out to write a work of history, a work of personal history, and that he wanted this book very much to be a legacy."

After he received his brain cancer diagnosis, Kennedy halted work on the book for a while, but then returned to it with renewed vigor and as one of his top priorities. Kennedy died the day a final copy of the book was delivered to his home.

The work was originally intended for publication in 2010, then moved up to October 2009, and then finally moved up to September 2009, less than a month after Kennedy's death. A Twelve spokesperson said, "The book was completed earlier this summer. Our original publication date was October 6. We’d always hoped to publish sooner. The production process moved faster ...
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