The Best Books by Robert F Kennedy: Must-Reads for Progressives

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By Lucy Hartford

The Best Books by Robert F. Kennedy: Must-Reads for Progressives

The Best Books by Robert F Kennedy: Must-Reads for Progressives

Robert F. Kennedy, often referred to as RFK, was a prominent figure in American politics during the mid-20th century. As the younger brother of President John F. Kennedy, RFK served as the United States Attorney General from 1961 to 1964 and later as a U.S. Senator from New York until his assassination in 1968. Throughout his career, RFK was known for his progressive ideals and commitment to social justice. His books reflect his passion for these causes and offer valuable insights for progressives today. In this article, we will explore some of the best books by Robert F. Kennedy that are must-reads for those seeking to understand and advance progressive values.

1. “The Enemy Within: The McClellan Committee’s Crusade Against Jimmy Hoffa and Corrupt Labor Unions”

Published in 1960, “The Enemy Within” is RFK’s first book and provides a gripping account of his work as Chief Counsel to the Senate Select Committee on Improper Activities in Labor and Management, also known as the McClellan Committee. In this book, RFK exposes the corruption within labor unions, particularly focusing on his investigation of Teamsters Union leader Jimmy Hoffa. Through personal anecdotes and detailed investigations, RFK sheds light on the power struggles and unethical practices that plagued the labor movement at the time. This book serves as a reminder of the importance of holding powerful institutions accountable and fighting for the rights of workers.

2. “Thirteen Days: A Memoir of the Cuban Missile Crisis”

One of RFK’s most well-known books, “Thirteen Days” offers a firsthand account of the Cuban Missile Crisis, a pivotal moment in Cold War history. As Attorney General, RFK played a crucial role in advising his brother, President John F. Kennedy, during this tense period. In this memoir, RFK provides a behind-the-scenes look at the decision-making process and the intense negotiations that took place to avoid a nuclear war. “Thirteen Days” showcases RFK’s leadership skills and his commitment to diplomacy, making it a must-read for anyone interested in international relations and crisis management.

3. “The Pursuit of Justice”

“The Pursuit of Justice” is a collection of RFK’s speeches and writings on civil rights, law, and social justice. This book highlights RFK’s unwavering commitment to equality and his efforts to address racial and economic disparities in America. Through his speeches, RFK eloquently articulates the need for change and the importance of empathy and compassion in creating a more just society. “The Pursuit of Justice” serves as a source of inspiration for activists and policymakers alike, reminding us of the power of words and the potential for progress.

4. “To Seek a Newer World”

In “To Seek a Newer World,” RFK reflects on his experiences and shares his vision for a better future. This book explores a wide range of topics, including poverty, education, and the role of youth in shaping society. RFK’s optimism and belief in the power of individuals to effect change shine through in this collection of speeches and essays. “To Seek a Newer World” is a call to action for progressives, urging them to engage in the world around them and work towards a more compassionate and inclusive society.

5. “Robert Kennedy: His Life”

For those seeking a comprehensive biography of RFK, “Robert Kennedy: His Life” by Evan Thomas is a must-read. This meticulously researched book provides a detailed account of RFK’s personal and political journey, from his privileged upbringing to his transformation into a champion of the marginalized. Thomas delves into RFK’s relationships, his growth as a leader, and the impact of his tragic assassination. “Robert Kennedy: His Life” offers a nuanced portrait of RFK and provides valuable context for understanding his ideas and legacy.


Robert F. Kennedy’s books offer valuable insights and inspiration for progressives today. From his expos√© of corruption in labor unions to his reflections on the Cuban Missile Crisis and his vision for a more just world, RFK’s writings continue to resonate with readers. These books serve as a reminder of the importance of fighting for social justice, holding powerful institutions accountable, and working towards a more compassionate and inclusive society. Whether you are a long-time progressive or new to the movement, these must-read books by Robert F. Kennedy are sure to inform and inspire.

So, pick up a copy of one of these books and delve into the mind of one of America’s most influential progressive leaders. Let RFK’s words guide you on your own journey towards a better world.

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