Much has been made of Barack Obama's gift for writing and the success of his books "Dreams from My Father" and "The Audacity of Hope." But Obama is not the only politician (or in this case, political hopeful) with a positive relationship with the publishing world. Caroline Kennedy is a very successful author as well.
The New York Times today has a piece about Kennedy and her seven books (with another, a children's book, due for release this spring.)
Kennedy's first two books, “In Our Defense” and “The Right to Privacy,” co-authored by Ellen Alderman and published in the 1990s, were about constitutional issues. Both were bestsellers.
But the next five, published since 2001, were "sensations," says the Times piece. Together these five latter books have sold over one million copies.
The reason, the Times says, is that they offered "tantalizing, if dignified, glimpses of the life of a Kennedy: pictures culled from old family albums, poems written by her mother, and Ms. Kennedy’s own ruminations on childhood and other subjects."
It is clear that in the minds of the reading public, "Camelot still lives,” Laurence J. Kirshbaum, a literary agent and former publishing executive, told the Times.
In many ways, Kennedy's connection to the bo0k world is unsurprising. Her mother, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, was a very successful book editor at Doubleday. “The important legacies of her family, in addition to political service and courage, are literature and language,” Gretchen Young, Kennedy's longtime editor at Hyperion, told the Times.
Obama's books have served him well in the political arena. His memoir, "Dreams from My Father" allowed voters to get to know him in on a more personal level, while "The Audacity of Hope" laid out his political views.
Kennedy's books are less revealing. And yet, taken together, they do provide clues about the woman, her values, and her world view.
Of course, as a Senatorial hopeful, Kennedy is in an unusual position. She has never held public office and has lived much of her life out of the public eye, and yet most of the public feels a strong connection to her.
At this point, anything that opens up additional points of contact between the public and Kennedy (as her books surely do) is probably a plus.