Max Kennedy

Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy
Born January 11, 1965 (1965-01-11) (age 46)
New York, New York
Education Harvard University
University of Virginia School of Law
Moses Brown School
Occupation Lawyer
Political party Democratic
Religion Roman Catholic
Spouse Victoria Anne Strauss
Children Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, Jr., Caroline Summer Rose Kennedy, and Noah Isabella Rose Kennedy
Parents Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel

Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy (born January 11, 1965) – also known as Max Kennedy – is an American author and the ninth child of Robert F. Kennedy and Ethel Skakel Kennedy, and a member of the Kennedy family.


Early years

Kennedy was born in New York, New York, and baptized by Monsignor William McCormack in Manhattan's St. Patrick's Cathedral, in front of a crowd of 200 people. He is named after General Maxwell Taylor, who was then serving as the American Ambassador to Vietnam, and did not attend the baptism.[1]

Graduating with honors from Harvard University where he majored in American history, Max was a member of the Spee Club of Harvard University, a Final Club. He married Victoria Anne Strauss, the granddaughter of Maurice "Moe" Strauss[2] (born February 10, 1964)[3] on July 13, 1991 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Both he and his wife graduated in 1992 from the University of Virginia School of Law, where he was elected President of the Student Legal Forum. Both his father and his uncle, Senator Ted Kennedy had served as presidents of the Student Legal Forum during their respective times at the University of Virginia School of Law.



Kennedy wrote the national best-selling book titled Make Gentle the Life of This World : The Vision of Robert F. Kennedy and the Words That Inspired Him.[4]

He is also the author of Danger's Hour: The Story of the USS Bunker Hill and the Kamikaze Pilot Who Crippled Her, which was released by Simon & Schuster on Veteran's Day (November 11, 2008).[5] The book garnered praise from filmmaker Ken Burns, journalist Tom Brokaw, and historians Walter Isaacson, Doris Kearns Goodwin, and Stanley Karnow.

Collaborating with Harvard documentary filmmaker Randolph Bell, he is writing, producing, and directing a documentary on the use of suicide as a weapon of war. His articles have appeared in DoubleTake Magazine, Conde Nast Traveller, and Escape.

Civil, Human, and Environmental Rights Work

He began his law career in July 1992 by serving for three years as an assistant district attorney in Philadelphia.

Serving as a Director of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial, Mr. Kennedy has led human rights missions to Haiti, South Africa, and Kenya.

He co-founded the Urban Ecology Institute at Boston College – where he taught in the Biology and English Departments – with the goal of causing change through community action and education. In response to the considerable ecological and economic challenges in the city of Boston, the Urban Ecology Institute studies the emerging field of urban ecology to help residents understand the natural resources in their communities and take action to protect them.[6]

An avid civil rights and environmental rights advocate, Mr. Kennedy spoke at the Loyola Marymount University Bellarmine Forum in 2006 on the importance of urban ecology. Kennedy claimed that the Jesuit colleges should be more involved in their local communities, and that scientists, educators and attorneys must work with middle- and high-school youth to improve science and civic education, and to protect and transform natural resources before they are lost forever.[7]

Mr. Kennedy is working with the Pearl Coalition to build a museum of remembrance and recognition of the greatest African American Slave escape in American History.

While at Georgetown University, he concentrated on Latin-American history, and has made dozens of trips through Central and Latin America, spending time in nearly every country in South America. He joined a Venezuelan mapping team to attempt to create the first detailed maps of the upper reaches of the Rio Caroni. He co-led (with Barry Clifford) an expedition to locate the sunken French fleet of Admiral D`Estress off the Las Aves Archipelago of Venezuela, and participated in the subsequent filming of the BBC/Discovery Channel Documentary about the lost fleet, which had sunk in 1678 while attempting to sack the Dutch at Curaçao.[8] Max Kennedy partially financed and produced two Venezuelan historical long featured films about Manuela Saenz in 2000 (Lover of Simon Bolivar and Colonel in the Venezuelan Independence Army) and Francisco de Miranda in 2005 (Leader of Venezuelan Independence). His name appears on the credits of both films and other Venezuelan films to which he has contributed. Kennedy has toured the Venezuelan Barrios, and was successfully involved in the fundraising of donations from the U.S. to the homeless children’s shelter run by Fundación Atenea in Caracas.

Mr Kennedy has had extensive meetings with Leopoldo Lopez, former Mayor of Chacao – formerly one of the only elected opposition figures in Caracas – and with Henrique Capriles, former Mayor of Baruta and current Governor of the State of Miranda. He has been a personal friend for more than 15 years to Maria Corina Machado, the head of SUMATE ( a Venezuelan NGO that promotes clean elections ) and an individual who has been indicted by the Government under several criminal charges for that reason.

He is currently a research fellow at the John Carter Brown Library for Advanced Research in History and the Humanities at Brown University.


Although Kennedy has never run for public office, he has shown a consistent interest in public affairs, and has been involved in many campaigns, usually as a field organizer.

Kennedy began working as a field organizer for the first congressional campaign of Joseph Kennedy in 1986, where he organized wards in Allston and Brighton. Later, he managed the re-election campaign for Senator Edward M. Kennedy in 2000. Max Kennedy has volunteered on a number of other campaigns, including the presidential campaigns of Edward M. Kennedy in 1980; Michael Dukakis in 1988; Al Gore in 2000; John Kerry in 2004, and as a surrogate for Barack Obama in 2008.

In 2001 the Boston and New York media touted Kennedy as a possible candidate for Massachusetts's 9th congressional district, a seat vacated by Democrat Joe Moakley.[9] Kennedy never declared his candidacy, citing his desire to spend time with his family, including his three children under the age of 10.[10]

Maxwell Kennedy endorsed then-Senator Barack Obama early in the primary season,[11] and campaigned for Senator Obama throughout 2008 at approximately 200 events in crucial swing states, including Ohio, Colorado, New Mexico, Virginia, and Pennsylvania. In Scranton, Pennsylvania, he visited diners and doughnut shops at six a.m. and led senior citizens in singing old Irish ballads at lunch centers;[12] Kennedy campaigned in Indiana on Martin Luther King day [13] and again during the Jefferson-Jackson dinner;[14] he campaigned also across Texas from Austin to Dallas and Fort Worth through San Antonio;.[15] He phone-banked for Senator Obama [16] and spoke at several Rock the Vote Bus Tour events.[17] He also introduced Senator Obama at a dinner in Hickory Hill.[18]

In October 2009, Kennedy announced that he would be endorsing Alan Khazei in the special election to fill the US Senate seat of his late uncle, Ted Kennedy [19]

Personal life

He and his wife Victoria have three children: Matthew Maxwell Taylor Kennedy, Jr., born September 18, 1993; Caroline Summer Rose Kennedy, born December 29, 1994; and Noah Isabella Rose Kennedy, born July 9, 1998, in Hyannis, Massachusetts.

When Max and Edward Kennedy Jr. were children, grandmother Rose would tell them the story of how their uncle, President John F. Kennedy, saved a member of his PT boat crew in World War II by towing him to an island.[20] Max visited the Solomon Islands in 2002 with Robert Ballard to revisit the scene of the story of John F. Kennedy's PT-109. He presented a bust of the late president to Biuku Gasa and Eroni Kumana, the native coastwatcher scouts who found the missing Kennedy and his crew.


  • Make Gentle the Life of This World: The Vision of Robert F. Kennedy (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1998)
  • Danger's Hour: The Story of the USS Bunker Hill and the Kamikaze Pilot Who Crippled Her (Simon and Schuster, 2008), ISBN 9780743260800


External links

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

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