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Of course, you know all about John and Bobby Kennedy, but author and Pulitzer Prize winner Eileen McNamara would argue that their sister Eunice should be credited for the Kennedy family’s most profound political legacy.
In her new book, McNamara writes about Eunice Kennedy Shriver—an officious, cigar-smoking woman on an unstoppable mission to advocate for disabled children and adults. Her efforts were born out of rage by the stigma and medical negligence suffered by her own sister Rosemary. Eunice’s vision and advocacy forged a civil rights movement that continues to improve lives for millions of special-needs children and adults today.
To write the book, McNamara was given access to never-before-seen personal documents, allowing her to bring readers inside the mind and motivations of a woman fueled by compassion and fury in an age insistent on female docility.
Eileen McNamara, a native of Cambridge, Massachusetts, worked for the Boston Globe for 30 years, first as a reporter, and then as a columnist in 1995. She covered everything from the night police beat to the United States Congress.
She has won many national public service awards, including the Pulitzer Prize for Commentary in 1997 and citations by the Robert F. Kennedy Foundation and Sigma Delta Chi for her reporting on conditions in the women’s prison in Massachusetts, the racial disparity in Boston’s infant mortality rates, the abusive treatment of battered women by state judges and the juvenile justice system’s approach to teenage killers.