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 ...