McKenty Live! Preview: Two Rule Golf School

February 6, 2015

Welcome to McKenty’s Two Rule Golf School

“Keep it simple, stupid!” Imagine if those four words were applied to the golf swing. It would revolutionize the game.

Since I left my TV show about 12 years ago, I’ve been trying to master the golf swing. Let’s face it, the swing has more rules than a monastery: bend your elbows, incline your knees, flatten your feet, keep your arms straight, lift your ankle, equalize your weight, overlap your fingers and address the ball.

In trying to keep all this straight, the danger is you begin to hallucinate. You wake up in the middle of the night yelling “Fore” and you haven’t even hit the ball.

Is there any way to get a handle on this jumble, any way to “keep it simple, stupid!”. As a matter of fact, I think there is. It came to me the other day at Meadowbrook where I try to play several times a week. Of course all golfers have their own theories about the golf swing. For what it’s worth, here’s mine.

It seems to me you can reduce all these rules and regulations to two. One relates to the head, the other to the feet. First, the head. Keep it down and don’t move it. Simple but not easy. How can I tell if I’ve moved my head during my golf swing? Simple again.

The ball dribbles along the fairway like water dribbling from a garden hose that’s lost its pressure. Whereas, if I keep my head steady the ball arcs gracefully into the air, every single time.

So it’s not your elbows or your wrists or your knees. It’s the head, stupid. And I would argue that if you don’t move your head, you’re halfway to a good golf game. So, do I keep my head still??….

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see the rest of the story in the book click on cover below for more information.

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OLA conference 2015

February 4, 2015

Here are some photos from the recent Ontario Librarians Association superconference in Toronto where Stéphanie Pagano represented McKenty BooksOLA_05.

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Tuesday Writing Conversation

February 3, 2015

In an earlier Tuesday Writing Conversation, Catharine wrote:

To my surprise I was sitting in a restaurant this morning, enjoying a cup of Mocha coffee and having a riveting conversation about writing and all its’ possible permutations and combinations with a young waitress I had never met before. Earlier this morning I had been thinking about Barbara Moser’s comment about Neil (Barbara is publisher/editor of Montreal’s Senior Times) she wrote “He’s edgy, he’s provocative and he’s ours.”

This is a comment about Neil who wrote a column called Pitstop every month for the Senior Times newspaper here in Montreal.

Well, wouldn’t you know I was sitting in a dentist’s chair earlier today while my dentist described his patient, Neil, in similar terms “We had the craziest and best arguments about all kinds of subjects. Sometimes Neil would rise half out of the chair, sometimes he was furious with my point of view, but if my argument made sense, had some logic to it, he’d admit it. My sense was that these discussions owed a great deal to his Jesuit training, how to formulate an argument clearly.”

Well, why should I be surprised? There was himself, my husband, never happier than when he found himself in the midst of an argument, even in the dentist’s chair!

Neil also loved to write, starting from the time he entered an oratorical contest aged nine. I found his original hand-written version among his papers in an old black suitcase that had been stored unopened in our cellar for some twenty years. The title was “When Grandad was a Boy” and will be included in the book about Neil being published later this year by Shoreline Press in Montreal with veteran journalist Alan Hustak as editor.

Over the years, Neil tried his hand at all types of writing – at age fifteen he became a stringer for the Peterboro Examiner under Robertson Davies. He went on to write 5 books which you’ll see <here>

I had the fun of working on two of these books with him. From the time I was ten I had scribbled stories and playlets for my cousins and friends. Never in a million years did I expect to write a book. Too much work, I thought, as I watched Neil hour after hour at his typewriter (later his computer of course).

Has anybody else reading this felt the same and left bits of writing hidden away in a cupboard?

I did recently get an iPad but I see myself as more-or-less computer illiterate. And when I did find myself compelled to write a book (launched at my 79th birthday with the best Irish band in the city), believe it or not the whole thing was written by hand. Years ago, in 1970, I had started typing lessons, then landed a job as speechwriter for the Ontario Minister of Education, complete with secretary. End of typing lessons. I was working six days a week, researching, writing and rewriting, to keep up with my boss who was a splendid orator, when I met Neil on the dancefloor.

Two weeks after our August honeymoon in 1972 he landed the job as Editorialist for CJAD, known as the best English-language station in Montreal. We moved lock, stock and barrel down the 401 to Montreal. He would be writing editorials in one corner of our tiny apartment on the 21st floor of a building behind the old Montreal Forum, while in another corner I was scribbling a story for the Reader’s Digest. I had landed a job there as researcher, then was lucky enough to be sent to Quebec City to write a piece for their Explore Canada book.

Another piece I wrote, about 2 Quebec children’s writers, never got published, but it landed me a rewarding experience as literary agent for one of the sisters, Suzanne Martel. Then one of her publishers, Heritage, asked me to take all his French-language children’s books to sell to libraries and bookstores in Toronto. I ended up collecting all the new French-language children’s books from his and other publishers at the Christmas Salon du Livre, lugging them on the train, and having a ball going around Toronto to sell them. This gave me enough money to visit my mom in Toronto every 2 months. That experience also stood me in good stead when Michael Price of Price-Patterson published our book on the early days of skiing in the Laurentians and Montreal (Skiing Legends and the Laurentian Lodge Club, now available on Amazon as book and ebook). We had more fun tootling around with the trunk of our car loaded up with copies, to all the local bookstores in the Laurentians, Montreal and Toronto. Thanks to Neil’s skill in writing, this book became a best-seller, and won the international Skada award 2002 for the Best Skiing History at Vail, Colorado.

Working on this book with Neil and going to Ireland with him earlier ( a first for both of us) must somehow had an encouraging effect on my own interest in writing.

Neil had been asked to write the biography of a remarkable Benedictine Monk, John Main, who had been invited by Bishop Crowley to found a monastery right in the heart of Montreal, based on an ancient tradition of silent meditation found in early Christianity. This, at a time when many English-speaking Montrealers were leaving the city in the wake of the FLQ crisis.

Going to Ireland sparked Neil’s interest in his own O’Shea ancestors (on his mother’s side) and my determination to find the farm that our Fleming family (on my mother’s side) had left in 1847, in the midst of the famine. Neil’s family were Catholic, O’Sheas from the south and McKentys from the Glens of Antrim in the far north. My family were Northern Irish Protestant, from the Dromore/Omagh area, not all that far from the Glens of Antrim as I realised later.

Those visits to Ireland with Neil strengthened my awareness of the riches of Irish history, far deeper than sectarian differences that in many cases had economic and political causes.

The long-term result was that the book I eventually wrote, Polly of Bridgewater Farm – an unknown Irish story – was reviewed in both Catholic and Protestant newspapers and accepted into Catholic, Protestant, and integrated schools in the North.

A Dublin broadcaster told me he had never realised that Protestants suffered along with Catholics during the Famine,” the Great Hunger” as it has been called. I was asked to read from the book by the mayor of Monaghan at the first ever memorial in their city of the Irish Famine. And an Omagh school principal wrote me that “we need more books like this, that speak of hope in the midst of adversity.”

All the above experiences have shown me the power of each of our stories, to build connection with other people, and to bridge differences of outlook, age and background. Also the importance of making sure these stories don’t get lost.

This raises questions about writing. What kind of writing interests you most? Have you tried your hand at poetry? Writing your family story or a novel? Trying a short story?

Have you done a lot of essay writing? Is anything of this a labour of love or a drudge? Do you re-write?

Have you done an article for a student newspaper or any other publication?

I loved Vin Smith’s story of his 40 books, some published, some not.

Have you tried to get a book published, what was your experience?

When Neil wrote his memoir, The Inside Story, I tried 40 publishers without success. Some would say “maybe in a year’s time” then someone gave me the name of Judy Isherwood, founder of Shoreline Press. I will never forget what happened next. But that is a story for another time.

McKenty Books Selection: Polly of Bridgewater Farm

January 29, 2015
OLA Conference – Toronto
Neil’s books are going to be at the OLA Conference (McKenty Live !, The Inside story, The Other Keys and Skiing Legend) and also the new edition of Polly
At Booth T22
—-

What a splendid book … what a delightful story. The bibliography and illustrations give it the right air of authenticity. The book is very educational – all those who read it will hardly notice they are being taught … the author is a superb storyteller! I could feel the slushy peat field … I could smell the rain coming.

Marianna O’Gallagher
Authority on Grosse Île and its preservation as an Irish monument
Quebec City, Canada

Novel outline

How in the world did Polly Noble, a bubbly little girl with freckles, born just outside Dromore in January 1837, live to become the subject of a biography more than a century later in Toronto?

Little Polly steps out - illustration from the book

This is the story of an idylic irish childhood torn asunder by the famine of 1847, and the trials of emigration to a new life in Canada. It was on her father’s farm, on the old Coach Road between Dromore and Enniskillen, that Polly spent an idyllic two years with her parents, George and Jane Noble. Then Disaster struck. On January 6, 1839, the infamous ‘Big Wind’ rose out of the sea and swept across Ireland, wailing like a thousand banshees. It flattened whole villages, burned down farm houses, and finally killed her father. It changed Polly’s life forever. Two years later, Polly’s mother, Jane, married William Fleming, the handsome widower across the road at Bridgewater Farm. Soon Polly began to walk back and forth the mile or so to the one-room school run by the Kildare Society in Dromore. But she found time to plant potatoes, milk the cows, look after the goats, pull flax, chase the hens and run bare-foot in the meadows. Then disaster struck again, this time the potato crop failed and famine and typhus threatened Bridgewater Farm. Like thousands of Irish people, the Flemings decided they must escape. They packed what they could, travelling by horse and cart to Londonderry/Derry, and drinking in their last views of the green fields and hills of Ireland. On May 14, 1847, along with 418 other passengers, they boarded the three-masted sailing ship ‘Sesostris’. Only 10 years old, Polly was on her way to a new life in Canada. After an appalling voyage, during which some of the passengers, including Polly’s darling little brother and sister died, they docked at Grosse-Île, the quarantine station on the St. Lawrence River, about an hour from Quebec. After three years in Montreal, where she met her future husband, Polly was now ready for her next adventure in a vast unknown land called Canada. Her destiny would be linked with a dozen children who had lost their mothers, one of them a future mayor of Toronto.

How to order click below

cover-inside

About the author

Polly of Bridgewater Farm: An Unknown Irish Story was written by Catharine Fleming McKenty. Catharine is the granddaughter of four-time mayor of Toronto, R.J. Fleming; younger brother of Aunt “Polly” Noble Verner, who ran the Cabbagetown Store, in Toronto during the late 1800s.

Review

Polly of Bridgewater Farm – A review by Barbara Canella (nee Ennis) published in the Tyrone Constitution Thursday 13th May, 2010

I picked up a copy of this delightful book during the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Concordia University in Montreal. It is a wonderful, gentle book about a subject that was a painful time in Irish history. It tells an ageless story of famine amidst plenty but without bitterness or prejudice. It is definitely a book for our times when Irish people, both north and south of the border, have moved beyond the violence caused by bigotry. Written by a Canadian with a great story to tell of her ancestry, there are hints of the innocence of “Anne of Green Gables” in her treatment of Polly’s poignant story. The descriptions of a day in the bog in Ireland conjure up fond memories of my own childhood there in the mid-twentieth century. At school in Ireland, we learned the misery of famine and this treatment by Catharine Fleming McKenty is refreshingly optimistic. The ending is crying out for a sequel. Although there is “Cabbagetown Store” by John McAree (available on the web at http://www.crpmuseum.com/index.php?article=40) which I have not read, I yearn for the continuing story as told from the perspective of Polly’s grand-niece. I hope that Catharine and Cabbagetown Press will seize this opportunity. The publication is also extraordinary in its paper quality, archival photos, illustrations and bindings.

A wonderful book for all age groups, it would make a great addition to the libraries of schools in Ireland.

Neil recounts his time on TV

January 28, 2015

After returning from Ireland in the summer of 1987, where the John Main biography had been launched at Trinity College, I was astonished to receive a telephone call from a senior program producer at CFCF television, Don McGowan, a well-known Montreal television personality in his own right. Over lunch at the garden café of the Ritz-Carlton, McGowan asked me if I would be interested in doing a live talk show on television, a sort of poor man’s Larry King Live. McGowan would provide a chauffeur-driven limousine to pick me up each morning (impressive for the neighbours) and an extensive new wardrobe (a delight for Catharine who never approved of my doing radio in a scruffy T-shirt).

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Neil on set at CFCF

Of course I jumped at the opportunity, and in September 1987, we went on air with Montreal’s first English live call-in television program, McKenty Live. Television is more cumbersome and complicated than radio, but for the next three years I had a lot of fun – the limousine with a bar, telephone and TV set in the back seat; the warmth and soft hands in the make-up room; a small, friendly staff. During the three years we had some remarkable guests: the famous sexologist, Dr. Ruth, who was so tiny she had to sit on a Montreal telephone directory; Canada’s chief negotiator, Louis Reisman, with whom I had a ferocious argument on free trade two days before the federal election; and René Lévesque, the only guest who not only smoked, but offered a cigarette to everyone in the crew. Only a week later, this man whom I liked very much, died of a heart attack. René Lévesque’s last appearance in public might well have been on McKenty Live.

Neil and a  guess at CFCF

Although I enjoyed McKenty Live and my associates on the program, Daniel Freedman, Wendy Helfenbaum and Bernie Peissel, at the end of the third season, I decided to leave the program. My reasoning was: I would be repeating programs we had already done; some of my associates were being changed; I wanted to do some more writing, perhaps a book on Catharine’s grandfather, onetime mayor of Toronto; and both Catharine and I were busy with the Benedictine Priory and meditation. So in June 1990, I left CFCF television.

from the Inside Story.

Tuesday Writing Conversation: Telling Our Stories

January 27, 2015

Click below to hear an episode of Exchange ‘What’s on your mind?’

Tuesday Writing Conversation

Catharine writes;

One of my interests is to encourage young people to write and share their ideas.

Since a young age, I wanted to write. When I started with my first story I kept it under wraps – I was afraid my teacher would laugh at me. Have you got anything stashed away?

What is your experience of your early writing attempts?

Did you get any help from a teacher?

What’s your experience in telling our stories?

Little Polly steps out - illustration from my book Polly of Bridgewater Farm

Little Polly steps out – illustration from my book Polly of Bridgewater Farm

McKenty Books Selection: Polly of Bridgewater Farm

January 26, 2015

What a splendid book … what a delightful story. The bibliography and illustrations give it the right air of authenticity. The book is very educational – all those who read it will hardly notice they are being taught … the author is a superb storyteller! I could feel the slushy peat field … I could smell the rain coming.

Marianna O’Gallagher
Authority on Grosse Île and its preservation as an Irish monument
Quebec City, Canada

Novel outline

How in the world did Polly Noble, a bubbly little girl with freckles, born just outside Dromore in January 1837, live to become the subject of a biography more than a century later in Toronto?

Little Polly steps out - illustration from the book

Little Polly steps out – illustration from the book

This is the story of an idylic irish childhood torn asunder by the famine of 1847, and the trials of emigration to a new life in Canada. It was on her father’s farm, on the old Coach Road between Dromore and Enniskillen, that Polly spent an idyllic two years with her parents, George and Jane Noble. Then Disaster struck. On January 6, 1839, the infamous ‘Big Wind’ rose out of the sea and swept across Ireland, wailing like a thousand banshees. It flattened whole villages, burned down farm houses, and finally killed her father. It changed Polly’s life forever. Two years later, Polly’s mother, Jane, married William Fleming, the handsome widower across the road at Bridgewater Farm. Soon Polly began to walk back and forth the mile or so to the one-room school run by the Kildare Society in Dromore. But she found time to plant potatoes, milk the cows, look after the goats, pull flax, chase the hens and run bare-foot in the meadows. Then disaster struck again, this time the potato crop failed and famine and typhus threatened Bridgewater Farm. Like thousands of Irish people, the Flemings decided they must escape. They packed what they could, travelling by horse and cart to Londonderry/Derry, and drinking in their last views of the green fields and hills of Ireland. On May 14, 1847, along with 418 other passengers, they boarded the three-masted sailing ship ‘Sesostris’. Only 10 years old, Polly was on her way to a new life in Canada. After an appalling voyage, during which some of the passengers, including Polly’s darling little brother and sister died, they docked at Grosse-Île, the quarantine station on the St. Lawrence River, about an hour from Quebec. After three years in Montreal, where she met her future husband, Polly was now ready for her next adventure in a vast unknown land called Canada. Her destiny would be linked with a dozen children who had lost their mothers, one of them a future mayor of Toronto.

How to order click below

cover-inside

About the author

Polly of Bridgewater Farm: An Unknown Irish Story was written by Catharine Fleming McKenty. Catharine is the granddaughter of four-time mayor of Toronto, R.J. Fleming; younger brother of Aunt “Polly” Noble Verner, who ran the Cabbagetown Store, in Toronto during the late 1800s.

 

Review

Polly of Bridgewater Farm – A review by Barbara Canella (nee Ennis) published in the Tyrone Constitution Thursday 13th May, 2010

I picked up a copy of this delightful book during the St. Patrick’s Day celebration at Concordia University in Montreal. It is a wonderful, gentle book about a subject that was a painful time in Irish history. It tells an ageless story of famine amidst plenty but without bitterness or prejudice. It is definitely a book for our times when Irish people, both north and south of the border, have moved beyond the violence caused by bigotry. Written by a Canadian with a great story to tell of her ancestry, there are hints of the innocence of “Anne of Green Gables” in her treatment of Polly’s poignant story. The descriptions of a day in the bog in Ireland conjure up fond memories of my own childhood there in the mid-twentieth century. At school in Ireland, we learned the misery of famine and this treatment by Catharine Fleming McKenty is refreshingly optimistic. The ending is crying out for a sequel. Although there is “Cabbagetown Store” by John McAree (available on the web at http://www.crpmuseum.com/index.php?article=40) which I have not read, I yearn for the continuing story as told from the perspective of Polly’s grand-niece. I hope that Catharine and Cabbagetown Press will seize this opportunity. The publication is also extraordinary in its paper quality, archival photos, illustrations and bindings.

A wonderful book for all age groups, it would make a great addition to the libraries of schools in Ireland.

McKenty Books Feature: Polly of Bridgewater Farm

January 24, 2015

Polly of Bridgewater Farm: An Unknown Irish Story was written by Catharine Fleming McKenty. Catharine is the granddaughter of four-time mayor of Toronto, R.J. Fleming; younger brother of Aunt “Polly” Noble Verner, who ran the Cabbagetown Store, in Toronto during the late 1800s.

This semi-fictional account of Polly’s early days follows her from her birth just outside Dromore, Ireland in 1837; her survival of the Big Wind of January 6th 1839; the Irish Potato Famine in the 1840s; and the May 14th 1847 crossing of the Atlantic; to the family’s arrival at Grosse-Île near Quebec. The Canadian portion of her journey takes her first to Montreal, and then to Toronto where she married a young tailor, John Verner. Together they set up their business, later described by John McAree in his book, Cabbagetown Store. 

cover-inside 

This 240-page book, although fiction is based on actual historical events and people. There are 36-pages of colour, which include illustrations of scenes from the time, as well as family photographs. Original illustrations were created by Polish artists, Darek and Elzbieta Wieczorek.

This is a great book to teach about Irish and Canadian history and has interest to many because of the inherent and global theme of migration. This is an inspiring story of hope amidst despair.

To find out more about the book or to purchase a copy click here.

Maple Syrup Fortress

January 23, 2015

Did you know that maple syrup is so valuable that there is a fortress to protect a strategic reserve. It is in Laurierville, Quebec, where the compound is known as ‘la forteresse du sirop d’érable’ and was built in response to a series of thefts from unsecured maple syrup warehouses.

Maple syrup is a niche product but in such high demand that that a barrel of it is worth more than a hundred barrels of oil.

Neil wrestled with the subject below.

From the blog in 2011:

Catharine and I often have brunch at a well-known Montreal restaurant named Beauty’s.  We always order the same items.  Fresh orange juice, blueberry pancakes and bacon.  Catharine orders the more  expensive real maple syrup.  I use the regular table syrup and it is perfectly satisfactory to me.

It is true, however, that it is all too easy to misrepresent real maple syrup.  Rigtht now two American senators have a bill in the hopper that would impose tougher sanctions for the marketing of  other syrups as maple syrup.

Table syrup is sickly sweet.  While maple syrup may be expensive, even a small amount transforms a plain waffle or pancake, a simple slice of ham or cube of tofu, or a mustardy salad dressing.

But does Canada do enough to protect maple syrup?  Quebec forbids the use of the word “maple”  or of maple-leaf shapes or pictures, on any bottle that does not contain 100 per-cent pure maple syrup.   But Quebec is the only province that does this?  Some restaurants still pass off inferior syrups and most customers do not notice or they acquiesce.

Should there be more protection for pure maple syrup?

Is there a difference between maple syrup and table syrup?

What do you think?

Neil reviews two books on Kennedy for the Toronto Star

January 22, 2015

Click below to hear JFK discussed on Exchange.

From the Toronto Star:

Two books on John Kennedy
Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye
The Kennedy Promise

Maudlin memories and a critique

By NEIL McKENTY

Sooner or later the law of dimin­ishing returns will begin to operate for readers of books about John Kennedy. Maybe it’s operating al­ready. But I’m ready to give John­ny We Hardly Knew Ye the benefit of the doubt.

Kenneth O’Connell, appointments secretary for Camelot, as the Ken­nedy regime came to be called, and Dave Powers, court jester and friend-in-waiting, have strung to­gether these “memories.” mostly of an anecdotal nature, with the help of ghost-writer, Joe. McCarthy.

The title is maudlin (like much of the book) and doubly ironic because at. the end of more than 400 pages that once again touch all the bases from Boston to Balias, we really don’t know that, much more about the first Roman Catholic president of the United States. Some of the things we do learn are not nearly as flattering as the authors appar­ently intended.

One of their central themes is to portray Kennedy as “the most skill­ful politician of his generation.” To this purpose, Kennedy’s political ca­reer is charted through the mists and bogs of Irish Catholic politics in Massachussets. Here he encoun­ters weird and wonderful pols like James M. Curley. Knocko Mc­Cormack, Onions Burke, Freddy Blip and Pat Lynch. Energetic but naive in his first run for Congress in 1946, starry-eyed Jack Kennedy was bloodied in Boston’s back wards in some of the most vicious political in-fignting this side of Tammany Hall.

It was in south Boston that Ken­nedy learned to make deals with rival political factions, then watch, safely out of sight, while O’Donnell and other hatchetmen blatantly re­pudiated them. After listening to O’Donnell tell a bare-faced lie on the telephone to a political rival, Kennedy remarked: “That was pretty good. A nice performance. Not bad at ail.”

Still, though these Kennedy mem­ories are too long, too banal and never critical (except of JFK’s ene­mies), they do have their moments of poignancy especially Kennedy’s thoughtfulness for others though he was constantly in pain from an injured back the last eight years of his life. *

If nothing else, Johnny We Hard­ly Knew Ye. is a sad reminder that there’s less laughter and more folly along the Potomac now than there was during the short time Johnny Kennedy was there.

The Kennedy Promise

This is a fascinating, provocative and, in some ways, a brilliant book. Where Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye is all heart. The Kennedy Promise is cerebral without being academic.

Henry Fairlie (a respected British journalist who has lived in Washington since 1965) claims that Cam­elot was a charade—a glittering and theatrical performance that failed to deliver the goods.

Fairlie’s thesis is that John Ken­nedy and his cohorts followed “a political method which was always bound to mislead even as it fatally attracts.” This method was fatally flawed because it induced the American people lo believe that their every need, both sacred and profane was susceptible “to a politi­cal solution.”

In practice this meant that a manageable situation was perceived as a potential crisis to be inflated by Kennedy rhetoric which in turn provided the springboard for ac­tion: “And what (Kennedy) meant by action was a spectacular display of his power in a situation of maxi­mum peril as he defined it.”

So, as Fairlie defines them, were the confrontations over Cuba. Ber­lin. Laos. Viet Nam. Alabama and the steel crisis. Promise was cele­brated as performance and domes lie problems—civil rights, education —were ignored in favor of the larg­er stage of foreign affairs.

So did John Kennedy, who per­sonalized the presidency beyond any o’ his predecessors with the possible exception of Theodore Roosevelt, pursue his “imperial pretensions.” Efficiency was found in process; options were confused with choice, success with achieve­ment and tough-mindedness was re­garded as proof of strength.

As I have said this is valuable and intriguing book. It peels the charm and glamor from Camelot. By so doing it provides a necessary antidote to the bushels of laudatory tomes that have almost apotheosized the Kennedy brothers. Much of what Fairlie says with such clarity and grace should be said to redress he balance.

But it is supremely ironic that many of the faults attributed here to Kennedy, the president, can also be charged to Fairlie. the writer- historian. The author makes the fatal mistake of many rhetoricians making their argument—he proves too much. He does so by inflating or deflating situations suit his purpose, by constructing straw men and by succumbing to the very negligence he accuses Kennedy of —an ignorance of history Surely Franklin Roosevelt. Eisen­hower (a favorite of Fairlie’s). and Johnson ran personal presidencies and Richard Nixon is pursuing an imperial one. Surely much of the tumult of the late ’60s, including the street riots, would have oc­curred had the Kennedy brothers never left Boston.

The Kennedy promise was indeed flawed. So, despite his engaging style and sometimes brilliant in­sights, is Fairlie’s book.

Neil McKenty is the author of Mitch Hepburn, a biography of the one-time premier of Ontario.

Johnny We Hardly Knew Ye, by Kenneth P. ODonnell and David F. Powers with Joe McCarthy, Little Brown, 434 pages, $10.

The Kennedy Promise, by Henry Fairlie, Doubleday, 376 pages, $9.25.

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