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Never mind that you've probably heard a lot of these stories before, True Compass, by the late senator Edward M. Kennedy, leaves the impression of a complicated, passionate man who spent most of his life dealing with a legacy he never sought. While there are plenty of stories about his political life, and while some readers might want more direct discussion of the "bad Teddy"—Chappaquiddick, for example—no one will fail to appreciate the expansive, beloved personality on exhibit here: the singing-chef uncle his nieces and nephews called "the Big Cheese," the renowned carouser who found true love at 60, the guy who still, years after his brothers' assassinations, jumped very time a car backfired. As the senator himself said in an interview a month before his death in August, the book is "honest and true and it's mine."
— Sara Nelson