From the back cover: "Take a roller coaster ride through three tumultuous decades of modern America.
The Brodericks-one of the most incredibly powerful and unusual families evver created:
Jack: reporter, Hollywood screenwriter, renegade son running from the shadow of his billionaire father.
Bro: charismatic celebrity priest, his commitment to the Church was surpassed by his lust for fame and power.
Hugh: patriarch, confidante of presidents, self-made mogul, his vast wealth bought him tyrannical control of men's lives.
Leah: fiery radical lawyer, her turbulent marriage to Jack was the catalyst setting off a chain of events that exploded all their lives."
ISBN 0312909659 - There's a Kennedy-esque-ness to this book in some ways, but it's much more a Kennedy-wanna-be. Dunne can't seem to fit all the Kennedy into one family, so spreads it out over two connected clans.
Jack Broderick, the narrator, is the son of Hugh, a self-made billionaire who only becomes free to pursue his goals when his wife dies. He has high hopes for his three children - and even before the book begins, the sons have pretty much failed him. Only the daughter comes close, by marrying the president's brother. President Fritz Finn and his family are more the Kennedy-type than the Brodericks, but the two families are close and remain that way even after the death of Jack's sister. With Hollywood connections, lots of money, the fringe "revolutionary" elements of the 1960s and politics playing an obviously large role, the Kennedy-like images are all there.
Bro, Jack's brother, is an unusual priest with a high profile and connections around the world. Jack meets and marries Leah, an outspoken radical Jewish lawyer. She remains his one real love, even after their divorce. After the end of their marriage, Jack finds himself in Vietnam, where he interviews servicemen. Those interviews are later turned into a bestselling book which plays a surprising role in the rest their lives. When Bro and Leah are murdered, the killer and his connection to Jack ties the entire story neatly together.
The story skips around so much that it's sometimes hard to tell where you are in the timeline, who is married to who, and who is alive or dead at that point - and it's really hard to care. That a chapter begins with the phrase "Let me digress" is sort of silly; half of the book or more is the narrator digressing. The language in the book is a little rough, if you're the type who cares, with racial slurs and "bad words" for parts of the anatomy abounding. Almost everyone seems to have slept with almost everyone else in the book, but it's the 1960s and probably not surprising. Still, rampant sex and swearing will be outweighed by good writing and a good story - sadly, The Red White and Blue has neither.