Bobby Kennedy wasn't the most visible figure in the civil rights movement, but his impact was transformative. As attorney general, he protected the Freedom Riders and turned the Justice Department from an enemy of civil rights into an enforcer of antiracist policies. Patricia Sullivan gives Kennedy his rightful place as a force for racial justice.
Patricia Sullivan puts Robert Kennedy near the center of the nation’s struggle for racial justice. She offers a moving and enlightening account of a life of public service marked by ambition and marred by serious errors in judgment, but more than redeemed by a sincere, powerful and enduring commitment to social justice ... Justice Rising ends on a plaintive note, inviting us to wonder what might have been had Kennedy lived to beat Richard Nixon, whose punitive 'law and order' politics metastasized to become today’s crisis of mass incarceration and abusive policing.
A distillation of the motivations and importance of Robert F. Kennedy’s life and legacy ... In equal measure, she humanizes Kennedy and those around him by using precise, occasionally exhausting detail. Though some sections are dry, the accretion of historical moments lends enough of a novelistic air to the book to keep the pages turning. The impeccably researched text encompasses the entirety of Kennedy’s political career, with weight given to the transformation he underwent in terms of how he conceptualized racial oppression and poverty in the U.S. and abroad ... The author nicely balances cogent analyses of Kennedy’s large-scale policies ... Though the author relies heavily on quotations, it’s not burdensome ... A sharp portrayal of the potential of the 1960s through the lens of RFK.
A nuanced and deeply researched portrait of Robert Kennedy’s engagement with the civil rights movement as attorney general, U.S. senator, and presidential candidate ... Sullivan makes a persuasive case that Kennedy played a crucial role in persuading white Americans to recognize the ill effects of racial discrimination. The result is an immersive and eye-opening history.