By Edward M. Kennedy
Twelve; 532 pages
The Kennedy legacy has long rested on the shoulders of its two most glowing sons: He Who Was President (John) and He Who Could Have Been (Bobby). Yet it may be He Who Never Was--Teddy, the youngest in the nine-sibling Kennedy brood--who has had the most lasting impact. In this memoir, finished before he died of brain cancer on Aug. 25, the Massachusetts Senator draws on half a century's worth of journal entries and other notes to reconstruct a life full of seemingly endless tribulations. True Compass covers the violent deaths of his three older brothers, the unforgivable mess of Chappaquiddick and the tawdry William Kennedy Smith rape trial, while providing a picture of life in the claustrophobic Kennedy clan--an airtight hothouse of ambitious and competitive men and women. But it's clear that Kennedy hoped to be remembered best for his trailblazing Senate career, in which he championed legislation like the Voting Rights Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act. Long the runner-up, Teddy has made a final, persuasive case for why he may actually be his family's greatest torchbearer.