The President’s Alternate

Fredrik Logevall

  • Bobby Kennedy: The Making of a Liberal Icon by Larry Tye
    Ballantine, 624 pp, £15.58, May, ISBN 978 0 8129 8350 0

It’s nearly fifty years since Robert Kennedy was shot as he walked through the kitchen of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. The date was 5 June 1968; and he had just won a narrow victory in the California Democratic primary. The gunman, Sirhan Sirhan, a Palestinian immigrant angry about Kennedy’s support for Israel, fired three shots at close range. Kennedy died the next day. For millions of Americans of a certain age the trauma has never quite gone away. For them Kennedy was a secular saint, a liberal icon who, had he lived, would have ended the war in Vietnam, and brought racial healing and social justice to America.

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