New book by Roch PR owner explores Kennedy aide’s life and work

We’re delighted to announce that Michelle Ulyatt, our managing director, is now officially a published author. Global publishing house, Palgrave Macmillan has just released Michelle’s book, Theodore Sorensen and the Kennedys: A Life of Public Service, for worldwide distribution in hardback and e-book formats.

The book offers unique insight into the life and work of Theodore Sorensen, speechwriter and key advisor to President John F. Kennedy. Going beyond traditional biographical formats, the book takes as its theme the idea of public service and explores how this concept shaped Sorensen’s work. It also assesses Sorensen’s impact on President Kennedy’s legacy and the fortunes of the Democratic Party over the course of the second half of the twentieth century.

Theodore Sorensen and John F. Kennedy
Theodore Sorensen (right) with President John F. Kennedy

Of the hundreds of books written about President Kennedy, none have yet taken the full measure of the role that Sorensen played in shaping his presidency. Serving as President Kennedy’s speechwriter from 1952 until 1963, Sorensen was a key advisor in the White House and a gatekeeper of the Kennedy legacy in the years after his assassination. The book presents a compelling portrait of Sorensen’s life and place in the American political landscape. He became an outspoken critic of corruption in politics, a vocal opponent of the militarist foreign policy approach that successive administrations adopted, and an advisor to Democratic presidential candidates such as Robert F. Kennedy and Barack Obama. Taking up questions about the role of presidential advisors and the concept of public service, an ideal that was central to the most famous of the speeches that Sorensen wrote for President Kennedy, the book provides new insights into Sorensen’s influence on the Kennedy years and the generation of leaders who came after.

Throughout its pages, the influence of Michelle’s work as a strategic communicator and public relations professional can be clearly felt. The book highlights the lessons that can be learned from Sorensen’s approach as a one-man publicity machine for Kennedy during the 1950s. It traces how important his efforts to establish an appealing public persona and a reputation as an intellectual were to Kennedy’s hopes of attaining the presidency in 1960.

Michelle said: “I’m delighted that such a prestigious international publisher has chosen to print my work. It’s been an ambition of mine to find a way to tell Theodore Sorensen’s story to a wider audience since I completed my PhD thesis at the University of Kent almost a decade ago. To be able to do so with the backing of the fantastic team at Palgrave Macmillan is a dream come true. At a time when public trust of politicians and the political process is at a low ebb, Theodore Sorensen provides an inspiring example of the impact of exceptional public servants.”

The book is on sale now via Palgrave Macmillan and other reputable bookstores.