Kennedy Died Haunted by Chappaquiddick: Memoir

New book details senator's triumphs and tragedies

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Ted Kennedy was haunted every day by the memory of a 1969 car crash on Chappaquiddick Island that killed Mary Jo Kopechne, a young aide to his brother Robert, the late senator writes in a hotly anticipated memoir being published later this month.

Kennedy reveals in “True Compass” that his behavior after accidentally driving off a bridge – waiting 10 hours to notify police that he swam away as Kopechne drowned -- was “inexcusable.” While he cops to drinking some cocktails earlier that night, he says he was not drunk at the time of the accident on July 18, 1969, according to The New York Times, which obtained an advanced copy of the 532-page tome due out Sept. 14. He also denies a romantic involvement with Kopechne, whom he says he barely knew.

In the book, Kennedy details other tragedies and triumphs. He writes that at times he “enjoyed too much” the pleasures of stiff drinks, women and fine wine. He reveals how the trauma of two brothers’ assassinations strained his first marriage and would make him flinch at sudden noises like firecrackers.

He also writes that his children convinced him to bow out of the 1984 presidential race because they feared for his safety. Kennedy, the only one of four brothers not to die violently, succumbed to brain cancer on Aug. 25 after a storied 47-year career in the U.S. Senate. He was 77.

Get More: New York Times, Daily News

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