Ask Not

The Kennedys and the Women They Destroyed

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By Maureen Callahan

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From New York Times bestseller Maureen Callahan, a fierce, character-driven exposé of the real Kennedy Curse—the family’s generations-long legacy of misogyny, murder, and mayhem.
One of Town & Country’s Must-Read Books of Summer 2024


The Kennedy name has long been synonymous with wealth, power, glamor, and—above all else—integrity. But this carefully constructed veneer hides a dark truth: the pattern of Kennedy men physically and psychologically abusing women and girls, leaving a trail of ruin and death in each generation’s wake. Through decades of scandal after scandal—from sexual assaults to reputational slander, suicides to manslaughter—the family and their defenders have kept the Kennedy brand intact. Now, in Ask Not, bestselling author and journalist Maureen Callahan reveals the Kennedys’ hidden history of violence and exploitation, laying bare their unrepentant sexism and rampant depravity while also restoring these women and girls to their rightful place at the center of the dynasty’s story: from Jacqueline Onassis and Marilyn Monroe to Carolyn Bessette, Martha Moxley, Mary Jo Kopechne, Rosemary Kennedy, and many others whose names aren’t nearly as well known but should be.

Drawing on years of explosive reportage and written in electric prose, Ask Not is a long-overdue reckoning with this fabled family and a consequential part of American history that is still very much with us. At long last, Callahan redirects the spotlight to the women in the Kennedys’ orbit, paying homage to those who freed themselves and giving voice to those who, through no fault of their own, could not.

Genre:

  • "It is practically the birthright of every American to have a fascination with the Kennedys—and the infamous Kennedy curse. Maureen Callahan does us one better, stripping away the veneer of Camelot to present a searing, no holds barred account of scandal by zeroing in on the numerous destructions wrought by generations of Kennedy men against the women in their orbit. There are revelations about Jackie Kennedy, Rosemary Kennedy, and Carolyn Bessette, of course, but also about the various crimes committed against women outside the family too, including famous figures, like Marilyn Monroe, and lesser known individuals, like Martha Moxley."
    Town & Country
  • "Bold, brave and original, Ask Not takes a sledgehammer to the myth of Camelot. This is an unforgettable book—a necessary reckoning that will forever change the way I view modern American history."
    Susannah Cahalan, author of The Great Pretender and the #1 New York Times bestseller Brain on Fire
  • “A harrowing, incendiary swirl of tragedy, true crime, and reconsidered history, Ask Not sets a match to the glamour and mystique of America’s most famous family. With incisive wit and wisdom, Callahan exposes the individuals and the celebrity culture that aided and abetted so many Kennedy men.”
    Karen Abbott, New York Times bestselling author of The Ghosts of Eden Park and Liar, Temptress, Soldier, Spy

On Sale
Jul 2, 2024
Page Count
400 pages
ISBN-13
9780316276177

Maureen Callahan

About the Author

Maureen Callahan is an award-winning investigative journalist and the author of the New York Times bestseller American Predator: The Hunt for the Most Meticulous Serial Killer of the 21st Century. Her writing has appeared in Vanity Fair, The New York Times Magazine, Spin, New YorkMagazine, the New York Post, and the Daily Mail, where she currently has a column. She lives in New York.

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