I disagree with what BOTH of the reviewers below have written about this book. In my opinion, "The Kennedys" doesn't fairly or unfairly "bash" the Kennedys - it just tells the story of this remarkable New England family as it really was - without the hype, romanticism, or nitpicking that their critics and admirers have done to them over the years. Relying upon extensive interviews (some of which had never been done until Collier and Horowitz did them) this book starts out by telling of the rise to fame and fortune of the "Founding Father", Joseph P. Kennedy (1888-1969). It was "old Joe" who ruthlessly yet cleverly built the family's vast fortune, and did so by bootlegging whiskey during Prohibition, making early Hollywood films (and having a not-so-secret extramarital affair with the actress Gloria Swanson, which his wife ignored), and other legal and not-so-legal methods. Horowitz and Collier were among the first biographers of the Kennedy family to point out Joe's almost-complete domination of his male children, and his relentless pressure on them to excel, to "win" at everything they did, even if it was just a "friendly" sailboat race. The Kennedys were never supposed to lose at anything, and Joe made his large family into a kind of tribal, "us-against-them" clan with its' own rules and traditions. The middle section of the book follows the Kennedy boys as they attempt to fulfill their father's expections. Some encounter tragedy, such as the family's "golden boy" Joe, Jr. who was killed in a suicidal mission over England in World War Two. JFK and Bobby then enter politics and the familiar "Camelot" story is exposed as the sometimes-successful, sometimes-not affair that it really was. The final section of the book generated the most controversy, yet this third section may be among the most poignant and devastating pages ever written on the Kennedys or the American obsession with "success". This section focuses on the latest generation of Kennedys - the children and grandchildren of Joe, JFK, Bobby, and Teddy. Over their parent's strong objections, Horowitz and Collier did interviews with many of these "survivors" of the terrible tragedies which had befallen their fathers and uncles. What they found was that the third generation of the Kennedy dynasty had been left leaderless (and parentless) by the older generation's deaths. Some had been in trouble with the law, some were addicted to drugs (such as David, who overdosed on cocaine in a hotel room in 1984, not long before this book was published). Collier and Horowitz paint a devastating portrait of young men and women who go through the motions of being "good Kennedys" but who have grown tired of living in a glass house and are both bemused and cynical of the family "business" (politics) that they are expected to take part in. Several of these people are running for political office next year (2002), or will be in the next few years, and although many years have passed since the book was released, the stories in this final section should give any voter concerns about electing anymore Kennedys into public office. Collier and Horowitz are especially effective in showing how the actions of one generation haunted the younger generation which followed them. As one of the younger Kennedys the authors interviewed in 1983 told them: "I keep asking myself what was it in my grandfather that made him push the family so hard and cause us all such tragedy"? Far from being a "hatchet job" on the Kennedys or a sappy, admiring biography such as Doris Kearns Goodwins "The Kennedys: An American Saga", this book by Collier and Horowitz tells the story of our greatest political dynasty as it really was, with no blinders, rose-colored glasses, or fairy tales. An excellent, thought-provoking book.