Book Review: The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America by Thurston Clarke

The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America

 

 

An incredibly moving, detailed, and overall sad read because you know there is no happy ending to come.

Is this a piece written by an author that, like many of the reporters that covered the 68 RFK campaign, is slightly smitten with Bobby Kennedy? Absolutely. That shouldn’t stop you from reading it. It’s a good book, well researched and honest. It leaves you feeling like you want to hop in a Delorian and travel back to ’68 for just one happy day mid-campaign so you too can say you were there. You witnessed it firsthand. You had a front row seat to history. You felt the bit of hope this campaign inspired in a nation in a time where there was little, if any. Vietnam, a nation still grieving the loss of its President, trying to make sense of the senseless murder of MLK, Civil Rights fought for and over every day, riots in major cities. Somehow in the midst of all that – all these heartbreaking larger than life realities – people saw hope. They saw that hope – that dash of light in the darkness – in Robert Kennedy. You’ll want to touch a small part of that, to let that light shine upon your own skin for even the briefest of moments.

Then you’ll weep because it was all gone. Just like that.

The parallels between politics in 1968 and 2008 and beyond are uncanny and make this read even more sad. It’s an illustration of how little, if any, progress has been made in the areas RFK championed the most – poverty being the biggest among them.

More than anything else in me, this book reignited the fear that many of us have for the safety of the POTUS today, in such a polarized and heated political climate. and how tragic and similar such a loss would be. The most heartbreaking part of all of it? RFKknew it was coming, he felt in was inevitable. The most inspirational part? He fought for what he believed in anyway – a nation that spent as much time caring for its own as it did fighting for the freedom of others.

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