The author of “Brothers: The Hidden History of the Kennedy Years,” Salon.com founder and San Francisco journalist will speak at Grace Cathedral on Sept. 14.
How were you affected by the Kennedy years? My own two teenage sons, who are roughly the same age as I was when Bobby Kennedy ran for president in 1968, are very excited about Barack Obama’s candidacy. I was equally excited by Bobby Kennedy’s candidacy. I thought he was America’s last, best hope.
What did the research for your book reveal? I think it definitely showed that Bobby Kennedy was the country’s first conspiracy theorist when it comes to the [JFK] assassination. He believed it involved the government itself.
How did researching and writing the book affect you? We tend to see [John F.] Kennedy as a charismatic prince, but without any true grit. But his true grit and intelligence is what came through for me, and how he put his life on the line — as did his brother — to lead the country to peace and harmony.
Do you have advice for journalists or would-be journalists? You should take risks and whatever you’ve been scheming and dreaming of doing, take the leap. When I started Salon, I had no idea there would be a market for it, but we took the leap and, lo and behold, there was this audience that was just waiting for a new kind of writing.