By Tina Jordan
September 18, 2009 at 04:00 AM EDT

True Compass: A Memoir

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As the youngest of the Kennedy brood, Ted Kennedy — overshadowed by his dashing brothers — was frequently mistaken for a lightweight. His father told him, ”You can have a serious life or a nonserious life, Teddy. I’ll still love you whichever choice you make. But if you decide to have a nonserious life, I won’t have much time for you.” Ted opted for the serious and toiled in the Senate for nearly 50 years, becoming enmeshed in the most gripping legislative issues of his day. If the writing about his marriage and Chappaquiddick in True Compass does not exactly seem introspective, neither does it ring false, and the rest of his life story — filled with colorful tales of his siblings and inside-the-Beltway detail — makes for a thoughtful, intermittently gut-wrenching read. A

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