True Compass – A Memoir by Edward M Kennedy

Like most Irish people, I have always had an interest in Edward M Kennedy or Ted Kennedy and his famous brothers.

Indeed, any Irish child of  the sixties will have memories of the Kennedys. Few other families can claim to have influenced history in quite the same way as the Irish American Kenndy clan – the glamour, the tragedy, the flawed greatness. And Edward M Kennedy was no exception. Whatever you think of the mistakes he made throughout his life, it is hard not to respect his attempts to learn from them. True Compass: A Memoir starts a little shakily and you have sense of it being written at speed but as he gets into his stride – and particularly in the chapters where he talks about John F Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, Nixon, Carter and Clinton – you can’t help but be fascinated by Edward M Kennedy’s view. He is an intelligent and sharp observer and has some interesting insights. This Edward M Kennedy memoir makes me want to read more about that period. If you are dithering over whether to buy this or not, I don’t hesitate to recommend it. I found it readable and interesting.

Mad World : Evelyn Waugh and the Lygons of Brideshead by Paula Byrne

Evelyn Waugh, the English author best known for his novels A Handful of Dust and Brideshead Revisited, is the subject of a new biography by Paula Byrne.

Mad World : Evelyn Waugh and the Lygons of Brideshead (or Evelyn Waugh and the Secrets of Brideshead) is a  very engaging and readable biography.

It sent me back to re-read Waugh – especially A Handful of Dust, Brideshead Revisited, and the Sword of Honour trilogy. I also bought the DVD box set of the original ITV Brideshead Revisited series after reading this book.

If  enjoyed Downton Abbey and haven’t already seen Brideshead Revisited, do check it out.

As for Byrne’s biography. I enjoyed it.