Pulitzer Winner to Discuss Eunice Kennedy

October 18, 2018

LEOMINSTER -- While Joe Kennedy was grooming his sons for the White House and the Senate, his Stanford-educated daughter, Eunice, was tapping her father’s fortune and her brothers’ political power to engineer one of the great civil-rights movements of our time on behalf of millions of children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Author Eileen McNamara’s new book finally brings Eunice Kennedy Shriver, visionary founder of the Special Olympics, out from her brothers’ shadow to show an officious, cigar-smoking, indefatigable woman of unladylike determination and deep compassion born of rage -- at the medical establishment that had no answers for her sister, Rosemary; at the revered but dismissive father whose vision for his family did not extend beyond his sons; and at the government that failed to deliver on America’s promise of equality.

Leominster Public Library welcomes McNamara, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of “Eunice, The Kennedy Who Changed the World,” on Sunday, Oct. 21, at 2 p.m. at the library, 30 West St.

McNamara will be available for questions after her presentation, and the library will raffle off several copies of her book. The program is sponsored by the Friends of the Leominster Public Library.

Granted access to never-before-seen private papers from the scrapbooks Eunice kept as a schoolgirl in prewar London about her thoughts on motherhood and feminism, McNamara paints a vivid portrait of a woman both ahead of her time and out of step with it, arguing that she left behind the Kennedy family’s most profound political legacy. Eunice’s son, Tim, now chairman of the Special Olympics, puts it all in some perspective: “If you look at her brothers and sisters and all that they accomplished, no one will stand any higher than my mother.”

For more information, call the library at 978-534-7522.