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Before Teddy, Bobby, and JFK: 'The First Kennedys'

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Neal Thompson

Wealth, power, prestige: we associate these and more with the Kennedy family, the one that put a son in the White House and three in the Senate, with other political figures in subsequent generations.

It was not always so for the family, especially for the first pair to arrive in the United States. Patrick and Bridget Kennedy came poor and hungry, and Patrick died fairly young.

The story of Bridget and her son P.J. and his rise to political prominence is told in The First Kennedys: The Humble Roots of an American Dynasty, by Neal Thompson.

The author's access to P.J. Kennedy's papers filled in a lot of gaps in the knowledge of the family. Neal Thompson visits with details.

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The Jefferson Exchange is Jefferson Public Radio's daily talk show focused on news and interests across our region of Southern Oregon and Northern California. John Baxter is the senior producer, Angela Decker is the producer and Geoffrey Riley hosts the show.