Author Neal Thompson will discuss his new book, The First Kennedys: The Humble Roots of an American Dynasty, on Zoom.
Explore the inspiring story of the poor Irish refugee couple who escaped famine, created a life together in a city hostile to Irish, immigrants, and Catholics, and launched the Kennedy dynasty in America. Their Irish ancestry was a hallmark of the Kennedys’ initial political profile, as JFK leveraged his working-class roots to connect with blue-collar voters. Today, we remember this iconic American family as the vanguard of wealth, power, and style rather than as the descendants of poor immigrants. Meet the first American Kennedys -- Patrick and Bridget -- who arrived as many thousands of others did following the Great Famine -- penniless and hungry. Less than a decade after their marriage in Boston, Patrick’s sudden death left Bridget to raise their children single-handedly. Her rise from housemaid to shop owner in the face of rampant poverty and discrimination kept her family intact, allowing her only son P.J. to become a successful saloon owner and businessman. P.J. went on to become the first American Kennedy elected to public office -- the first of many.
Neal Thompson is a journalist and the author of five highly acclaimed books, including A Curious Man, Driving with the Devil, and the memoir Kickflip Boys. A former newspaper reporter, he has written for the New York Times, the Washington Post, Esquire, Outside, Men’s Health, Vanity Fair, the Wall Street Journal and more. Neal has appeared on NPR, PBS, The Daily Show, CNN, Fox, TNT, The History Channel, and ESPN. He lives in Seattle with his family.
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