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Statesman John Kerry ’76 Pens Memoir

BC Law, Father Drinan helped shape his view of public service.


John Kerry ’76, whose storied life as Secretary of State, US Senator, and presidential candidate includes a stint as a Boston College Law School student, has written his memoir. Every Day Is Extra was published in September by Simon & Schuster, which promotes the 600-plus page tome as showing “Kerry for the dedicated, witty, and authentic man that he is, and provides forceful testimony for the importance of diplomacy and American leadership to address the increasingly complex challenges of a more globalized world.”

New York Times reviewer Dwight Garner writes that the memoir, like its author, “is reserved and idealistic and reassuringly dull, for long stretches, in its statesmanlike carriage,” an opinion shared to some degree by the Wall Street Journal’s Barton Swaim, who nevertheless found Kerry’s account of his Vietnam experience particularly compelling. “Mr. Kerry served honorably and bravely in Vietnam, and he writes about it with an impressive recollection of detail,” Swaim said.

Kerry came to BC Law mostly because of Dean Robert F. Drinan, SJ, whose first campaign for Congress Kerry chaired after he got out of the Navy. They weren’t at BC Law together, but their values were in the same place. Father Drinan “made no apologies for his deep and abiding Catholic commitment to the weak, the helpless, the downtrodden,” Kerry said.

Kerry once told BC Law Magazine that he has carried those values with him throughout his life and career: “Through practicing law, my respect for the Constitution, for the American experiment in balancing rights and responsibilities, became very personal.”

Perhaps not surprisingly, the arrival of Every Day Is Extra has created speculation on and in other news outlets that Kerry might be contemplating another run for president. When asked outright about his intentions by Margaret Brennan on Face the Nation September 2, Kerry said, “I’m really not thinking about it. Talking about 2020 right now is a total distraction and waste of time. What we need to do is focus on 2018.”