The Kennedys Amidst the Gathering Storm by Will Swift
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  Will Swift Reviews


The Biographer's Craft
(June 2008 Edition)

Boston Globe Review
(May 25, 2008)

Washington Post Review
(May 1, 2008)

USA Today Review
(April 16, 2008)

Starred Kirkus Review
(March 1, 2008)

Publisher's Weekly Review
(Feb 18, 2008)


“Elegantly written, delicately-nuanced, this compelling account brings Joe Kennedy and his family to life. Cutting through all the accumulated mythology, unreflective prejudice and retrospective wisdom about Joseph P. Kennedy, Will Swift carefully locates the man and his beliefs within the crucial period in which Europe lurched towards the Second World War. Beyond this, there is also a touching human story of a dominant patriarch and his relationship with his family, his president and the Chamberlain government in London.”

--Bob Self, author of Neville Chamberlain: A Biography
and editor of The Neville Chamberlain Diaries and Letters

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“An indefatigable researcher, Will Swift has made magnificent use of materials overlooked or unavailable to previous biographers. He has, in The Kennedys Amidst the Gathering Storm, constructed a thoroughly revisionist but remarkably persuasive history of Joseph P. Kennedy’s years in London. With sensitivity and subtlety, Swift presents a remarkable cast of characters… as they struggle to understand and survive the “gathering storm” of World War II.”

--David Nasaw, author of Pulitzer Prize nominee Andrew Carnegie and The Patriarch: The Remarkable Life and Turbulent Times of Joseph P. Kennedy

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“Dr. Swift's book fills a large gap in modern American history: it is a generous but rigorous portrait of Ambassador Kennedy that puts the best arguable case for him as a diplomat and a father. It also gives a rather fresh perspective of his impact on his talented children. It was certainly time that the sire of one of America's most famous families benefited from a well-researched and elegantly written revision.”

--Conrad Black, author of Franklin Delano Roosevelt: Champion of Freedom
and The Invincible Quest: The Life of Richard Milhous Nixon

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“Dr. Will Swift’s The Kennedys Amidst The Gathering Storm offers a stunning, revisionist portrait of the most remarkable Kennedy of all- the founding father. By wisely presenting pre-war London as a crucible in the family history, he exposes the origin of many of the political, social, personal triumphs, failings and tragedies that have cast the family- the father in particular- as a modern-day Lear.”

--Lynne McTaggart, author of Kathleen Kennedy: Her Life and Times,
The Field and The Intention Experiment

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“Will Swift's chronicle gives an impressive insight into the mechanics of government on both sides of the Atlantic. The depth of research illuminates not only the personal beliefs of Joseph Kennedy during the ineluctable progress to war but also the difficulties, complexities and sheer hard work of an ambassador during one of the most turbulent periods of western history.”

--Anne De Courcy, author of 1939: The Last Season and
Diana Mosley: Mitford Beauty, British Fascist, Hitler's Angel

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“Will Swift skillfully intertwines the dramatic political events of Joseph Kennedy's ambassadorship with the intriguing story of the Kennedy family's social successes in London…Swift's analyses of the ambassador's anti-Semitism and his attempts to help the Jews, and of the Tyler Kent affair and its impact on Franklin Roosevelt are particularly enlightening. Most importantly, Dr.Swift's psychological insight into the Kennedy family members and their dynamics makes a major contribution to the Kennedy literature.”

--Dr. Jane Vieth, Professor of History, Michigan State University
and author of an upcoming book on Joseph Kennedy’s ambassadorship.

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“I liked The Kennedys Amidst the Gathering Storm very much. The juxtaposition between the different family members works well and the detailed study of Joe Kennedy's Ambassadorship reveals a complex and highly nuanced picture that goes beyond the normal black and white portrayal of the period. I also liked the way that Dr Swift was able to contrast the political and social worlds of London in the late 30's and chart the collapse of both.”

--Allen Packwood, Director of the Churchill Archives Center



The Kennedys Amidst the Gathering Storm: A Thousand Days in London, 1938-1940
by Will Swift
Smithsonian Books: April 2008; ISBN-10: 0061173576; ISBN-13: 978-0061173561; Hardcover/Paperback; 352 pages
Now available at Amazon,, or your local bookstore

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