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    Lecture/Book Signing by The First Kennedys Author Impact Banner

    Lecture/Book Signing by The First Kennedys Author

    Neal Thompson, a 1987 University of Scranton graduate, returns to campus to discuss his new book, “The First Kennedys: The Humble Roots of An American Dynasty,” on March 30, at 5 p.m. in the Moskovitz Theater of the DeNaples Center. A book signing immediately precedes and follows the discussion.
    March 9, 2022

    Neal Thompson, a 1987 University of Scranton graduate, will return to campus to discuss his new book, “The First Kennedys: The Humble Roots of An American Dynasty,” on March 30 at 5 p.m. lecture. The book is the story of the first Kennedys escaped the potato famine of Ireland and came to America in the mid-1800s.

    Bridget Murphy and Patrick Kennedy arrived in America penniless, hungry and hopeful, like many thousands of mid-1800s immigrants. They met, married, and had five children together, losing their first-born son as an infant. Three years later, Patrick became ill and died of consumption. This left Bridget – JFK’s tenacious great-grandmother – to raise four children single-handedly in the slums of East Boston.

    “I wanted to find a story that told many stories. I wanted to explore the origins of the Kennedy family in America. I wanted to understand Irish immigration in America. I wanted to understand life for Irish immigrants in the 1800s, which was when Bridget (Murphy Kennedy) came here,” said Thompson about his book during a recent interview published by the JFK Library.

    In “The First Kennedys,” Thompson highlights Bridget’s ability to overcome both discrimination and poverty to maintain her family and clear a path for her only son P.J. to become the first of many Kennedys elected to public office.

    The grandson of an Irish immigrant couple, also named Bridget and Patrick, Thompson is the author of five highly acclaimed books, including “A Curious Man,” “Driving with the Devil” and “Kickflip Boys.” A former newspaper reporter, Thompson has written for The New York Times, Washington Post, Outside, Esquire, Backpacker, Vanity Fair and The Wall Street Journal.

    Thompson will sign copies of his book prior to his talk, from 4:30 to 5 p.m. on the 4th floor of the DeNaples Center, and immediately following his discussion, which begins at 5 p.m. in the Moskovitz Theater in the DeNaples Center.

    The event is cosponsored by The Gail and Francis Slattery Center for the Ignatian Humanities and the History Department, and is free to University students, faculty, staff and guests from the greater Scranton community. Health and safety protocols that are in effect on March 30 as outlined in the Royals Back Together plan must be followed by those in attendance.

    For more information about the lecture of book signing, email david.dzurec@scranton.edu or call 570-941-7561.

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