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Each week at In The Past Lane, the American history podcast, host and Historian-at-Large, Edward T. O’Donnell, brings you news, stories, interviews, and special features on all things U.S. history. His aim is to be both engaging and thought-provoking, inspired by the notion that history explains the world we live in and provides insights into how to achieve a more prosperous, peaceful, and just future. So come along with us as we journey In The Past Lane.  

Jun 3, 2020

This week at In The Past Lane, the podcast about American history and why it matters, we take a close look at Robert F. Kennedy. Here’s the lineup:
1) First up, it’s a short feature on the basics of the life of RFK.
2) Next, I speak with author Larry Tye about his biography, Bobby Kennedy: The Making of A Liberal Icon (2016, Random House). Tye is the author of many best-selling biographies and he’s at his best in this new look at RFK. One of the myths he’s eager to dispel is the notion that there were two, polar opposite Bobby Kennedys – the bad boy in the 1950s who worked for Sen. Joseph McCarthy and later waged war on organized labor and the saintly good guy in the mid-1960s who fought for social justice.
3. And we bring you two remarkable audio clips from the 1960s. First, an excerpt from RFK’s 1968 speech, “The Mindless Menace of Violence” and second, Ted Kennedy’s eulogy for RFK two months later.

About Larry Tye
His website

Further Reading and Links

Thurston Clarke, The Last Campaign: Robert F. Kennedy and 82 Days That Inspired America

Robert F. Kennedy, Robert Kennedy in His Own Words: The Unpublished Recollections of the Kennedy Years

Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., Robert Kennedy and His Times

Evan Thomas, Robert Kennedy: His Life

Larry Tye, Bobby Kennedy: The Making of A Liberal Icon (2016, Random House).

RFK’s 1968 speech, “The Mindless Menace of Violence”

Ted Kennedy’s eulogy for RFK, St. Patrick’s Cathedral, June 8, 1968


Jay Graham, ITPL Intro (courtesy,

Kevin McCleod, “Impact Moderato” (Free Music Archive)

The Womb, “I Hope It Hurts” (Free Music Archive)

Jon Luc Hefferman, “Epoch” (Free Music Archive)

Hyson, "Signals" (Free Music Archive)

The Bell, “I Am History” (Free Music Archive)