In this groundbreaking biography, historian and journalist Burton Hersh combines a lifetime of research and reporting with a lively mixture of never-before-told anecdotes to create a broad yet unfailingly intimate portrait of the politician who would be universally ackwledged as one of the twentieth century's greatest American legislators. Hersh was acquainted with Kennedy since his college days, and the result here is a unique series of revelations that serve to reinterpret the senator's public and private personas. Conditioned by deep-seated fears that he was an afterthought within his own powerful family, Kennedy developed a genius for conciliation and strategizing that made him a dramatically more effective political figure than either of his older brothers. Here finally is the definitive version of the incident at Chappaquiddick, the details of which Kennedy himself filled in for Hersh shortly after it occurred. This book also delivers the first full report of the vendetta between Kennedy and Richard Nixon, exposing the behind-the-scenes manipulations to which Kennedy resorted to drive Nixon from office during the Watergate scandal.