Eunice is an incredibly informative and spellbinding biography about a woman who would not be written off, not by her father, not by her family nor by anyone who stood in her way.
SUMMARY While Joe Kennedy was grooming his sons for careers in politics, his daughters were largely invisible to him. They were not his priority. Eunice would allow her brothers to have the spotlight, but she would use her name, her intelligence, her father’s money and her brothers’ position to make her own mark. Her mark was advancing the rights of people across the world with intellectual disabilities. Using her family’s charitable foundation for this purpose, she funded scientific research across the nation, and developed the Special Olympics into a program of international prominence. She fought to empty mental institutions, and garnered a national commitment to community-based group homes, educational inclusion and job training. For four decades, she intimidated lawmakers and influenced public policy on a variety of social justice issues. Very few lawmakers could ever say no to Eunice Kennedy. And yet, until now, little has been written about this tireless, formidable and complicated woman.
REVIEW This compelling biography sheds light on the significant societal contributions made by the fifth child of Joe and Rose Kennedy. With access to Eunice Kennedy’s personal papers, family and friends, Eileen McNamara has written a intimate portrait of a woman who overcomes numerous personal obstacles to accomplish tremendous social change for the intellectually challenged. This immensely satisfying account of Eunice Kennedy will leave you both inspired and amazed. McNamara’s chapters are smartly structured and beautifully written to highlight accomplishments, but weighted with brutally honest descriptions of Eunice’s brazen, insistent and impatient personality. She was a woman who had little time for idle chatter about things she could not change. EUNICE is chocked full of memorable stories about the Kennedy family exploits and will be most appreciated by Kennedy fans and those interested in the social justice issues she pursued. Thanks to NetGalley and Simon and Schuster for an advanced reading copy of this book in exchanged for an honest review. Published April 3, 2018.