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03 September 2009 

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Late US Senator's Memoir Talks of Personal, Public Tragedies

03 September 2009

In his much anticipated autobiography, the late U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy discusses his public and personal tragedies, including the 1969 car accident that killed a female passenger.

The New York Times says it has obtained a copy of the memoir, True Compass, which is scheduled to be released on September 14. The veteran lawmaker died August 25 at the age of 77, after a year-long battle with brain cancer.

In July 1969, Kennedy drove off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island, off the Massachusetts coast. He managed to escape, but his passenger, Mary Jo Kopechne was found dead in the submerged car.  

1969 file photo of Sen. Edward Kennedy being escorted from a Mass. court after pleading guilty to leaving scene of fatal accident
1969 file photo of Sen. Edward Kennedy being escorted from a Mass. court after pleading guilty to leaving scene of fatal accident
The Times says Kennedy writes that he was dazed and panicked in the minutes and hours after the accident, but called his actions "inexcusable." He did not report the accident until after Kopechne's body was discovered the next morning.

He said he made "terrible decisions" that night that haunted him the rest of his life. Kennedy pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident.

In the book, he also candidly discusses his years of "self-destructive drinking," especially after the 1968 assassination of his brother, Senator Robert F. Kennedy.

Edward Kennedy says Robert grieved so deeply over the 1963 assassination of their older brother, President John F. Kennedy, that it nearly became a "tragedy within a tragedy."

The younger Kennedy says he always accepted the findings of a special investigation into the late president's murder, which concluded the accused assassin, Lee Harvey Oswald, acted alone.

Edward Kennedy was buried Saturday near his older brothers at Arlington National Cemetery near Washington.

Much of the material in the book comes from hours of recordings for an oral history project he was doing with the University of Virginia since 2004, as well as five decades of notes taken by Senator Kennedy.



Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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