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Thurston Clarke, the sole author of this book, is a professional journalist and an American historian was born in 1946 in Adirondacks, New York. He got his education at the Columbia University, Yale University and finally the School of Oriental and African Studies. Clarke is known for his exemplary oratory skills and delivers public speech across the United States of America on various topics such as public governance, travel, modern history and writing.
Besides The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America (2008),Clarke has made a number of publications such as The Last Caravan (1978), Pearl Harbor Ghosts (1991), Equator: A Journey (1988), California Fault: Searching for the Spirit of a State Along the San Andreas (1996) and Ask Not: The Inauguration of John F. Kennedy and the Speech That Changed America (2004). Additionally, the renowned scholar has also published several other political analysis and documentaries.
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Summary of the Book Content
The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America gives a detailed account of Robert F. Kennedy’s political campaigns across the United States of America after the assassination of the cold blood assassination of his brother John F. Kennedy. Thurston Clarke has made an articulate use of interviews, research and intimate sense of Kennedy to provide an absorbing historical account that expresses the deepest despair Americans plunged into after the death of their perceived hero (John F. Kennedy) who relentlessly struggled for their freedom and liberation in the white dominated American society.
During his presidential campaign speech, Robert F. Kennedy addressed issues that cause the national division in the United States of America at the time. Such political matter of concern included social justice, civil rights; Vietnam War and cultural permissiveness- the topical issues that form the central theme of the book. In general, racism, discrimination, sustained sufferings of the African Americans and Native Americans, war and selective poverty are the factors that divide the great nation (United States of America) in the 19th century.
Without any compromise or an attempt to find a common ground, Robert Kennedy expressed his heart felt disapproval of the America’s direct engagement in the Vietnam War. Furthermore, he was assertive that the death of hundreds of young American soldiers in the foreign land (Vietnam) is uncalled for in the historic war. Equally important, Kennedy denounced the commitment of excessive state’s resources towards sustaining the political war whose course did not support the well-being of the American mass but the ego and interest of the few political elite.
In a detailed account, the orator and the American presidential hopeful put more emphasis on the prevailing incidences of social injustices that characterized the American society in the 20th century. Just like his assassinated brother (John F. Kennedy), Robert F. Kennedy brings the suffering of the poor African Americans, who were living under pathetic conditions in the state of Mississippi, into sharp focus. He laments the mere fact that the highly marginalized and unemployed African Americans are confined within shacks in Mississippi despite the availability of vast resources in the states of America. Similarly, he addresses the plight of the impoverished and unemployed Native Americans living in South Dakota.
In front of rich white American businessmen, Robert talks about the prevalence of child poverty in America as well the government’s failure to address it. Even though the white Americans did not receive the speech will jubilation, the speaker delivered his anti-racist speech without any compromise. At the end of the speech, Robert F. Kennedy promises to lead America into the much desired state of equality and freedom for all members of the society notwithstanding their race, political affiliation, religion and nationality. He also promises to end the Soviet War by finding a peaceful solution to the political standoff.
The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America (2008) is very important in revealing the political manifesto of the Robert F. Kennedy, the presidential candidate of the United States of America in 1968. Through a collection of interview and documented speeches of Robert F. Kennedy during for the series of political rallies, Thurston Clarke presents Robert’s political and philosophical ideologies in a very interesting and captivating manner.
Although Robert F. Kennedy did not enjoy much popularity across the world like his assassinated brother (John F. Kennedy), the book plays a very important role in portraying Robert F. Kennedy as a potential American statesman who had the required charisma and political goodwill to deliver a sound leadership ever needed in the history of America as far as the creation of a just America was concerned. Having the first hand experience with racism in the American society, Robert F. Kennedy is fully conversant with the sufferings of the discriminated against African Americans and Native Americans. Such perennial problems identified by the speaker include abject poverty, pathetic living conditions, unemployment, and child poverty, lack of education and health care services.
Secondly, the book discloses that social aftermath and various forms of injustices that beleaguered the American society in the 20th century such as racism, social inequality, political injustices and war through a political personality (Robert F. Kennedy for this matter). Through the use of another personality, the author categorically identifies social justice, civil rights, increasing cultural permissiveness, and war as the main factors that divide America as a great nation. An elaborate presentation of facts by the speaker throughout the collection of speech coupled with his enthusiasm leaves not reader in doubt about the dire consequence of these social injustices on the minority-represented by Robert F. Kennedy.
Most importantly, the author illustrates how the speech delivered by Robert F. Kennedy during his last campaign for presidency changed the American political landscape even after his assassination. Combined with the earlier contributions of the political activists like Martin Luther King, Jnr and John F. Kennedy, the American politician were then determined to end various ills such as discrimination against the minority, racism, and unjustified engagement in the Vietnam War.
In summary, I like The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America (2008) because it presents the speeches of Robert F. Kennedy in a very fascinating manner. The collection of his speeches is done in a systematic manner following the order and sequence of their deliveries across the United States of America. The author has also included additional notes at the beginning of every presentation for easy understanding of the speeches. Likewise, Clarke not only explains all the political terminologies used during the speech but also provide all the corresponding background information to help readers understand the content of the book.
Furthermore, the book presents accurate historical facts about the political and philosophical ideologies of Robert F. Kennedy more than any other publications. Equally important, the book provides an elaborate account of all the political ills within the American society in a fascinating manner that attracts the attention of all readers. The book suggests all the possible various ways through which social ills and political injustices in the American society could be addressed.