The New York Post, Sunday, November 22, 2015, has a one page book section and this week they featured Laurence Leamer (Nepal 1964-66).
Here’s what writer Barbara Hoffman had to say about Larry…
Antioch College was a liberal-arts college – liberal, period – when Laurence Leamer went there in 1960. John F. Kennedy was running for president, “but they didn’t think he was liberal enough,” Leamer says of his classmates. Leamer, however, supported JFK and wrangled a job in DC just in time to see the newly inaugurated president pass by on Pennsylvania Avenue. Decades later, after serving in the Peace Corps and writing for magazines, Leamer wrote three books on the Kennedys, including the bestselling The Kennedy Women. Now there’s Rose, his play about the Kennedy family matriarch. Starring Kathleen Chalfant, it’s playing at off-Broadway’s Clurman Theater through Dec. 13.
Here, 52 years after JFK’s death, are four key books in Leamer’s library:
- An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy, 1917-1963 by Robert Dallek
Professor Dallek was not comfortable writing about JFK’s sex life, but he held his nose and wrote the best one-volume biography of the 35th president. Dallek’s political judgments are always judicious and fair, and this 2003 book deserved its huge success.
- JFK: Reckless Youth by Nigel Hamilton
Hamilton’s massive 1992 biography of Kennedy’s early years was supposed to be the first of several volumes that likely would have been the definitive multi-volume biography. But the Kennedys were so outraged by Hamilton’s take on Joe and Rose Kennedy that the author backed off. Hamilton’s account of JFK’s service in the South Pacific is brilliant.
- The Kennedys: An American Drama by David Horowitz and Peter Collier
This is the first book to deal in depth with the lives of the young Kennedys. It wasn’t the authors’ fault that several of [that] generation were living sordid lives full of drugs and dissipation. [The writers] merely accurately recorded their findings.
Other than portraying Dallas in such dark terms – it’s as if the city itself killed President Kennedy – this 1967 volume is wonderfully compelling. Rarely is there a book that has such incredible detail woven into a fiction-type narrative. To me, Manchester isn’t appreciated for how great a biographer he was.
Leamer’s next book is The Lynching: The Epic Courtroom Battle That Brought Down The Klan. It focuses on the legal struggle after the 1981 lynching of Michael Donald in Mobile, Alabama by members of the United Klans of America. The book will be published in May by William Morrow.