Oct. 9, 2013 at 8:31 AM ET
The early years of the Kennedy family life, the subject of a nation’s fascination for dozens of years, are chronicled in a new book that centers on the dynasty’s matriarch.
"Rose Kennedy's Family Album" features letters and more than 300 photographs, including many never seen by the public. The book focuses on the family's life from the 1870s into the first half of the 20th century,
NBC correspondent Maria Shriver, Kennedy’s granddaughter, said her grandmother set the tone for the family.
“She really was the linchpin in our larger extended family. She was the history. She was the faith. She was the glue,” Shriver said.
Shriver called her grandmother the family’s “first political strategist” who got deeply involved in the political races of her children.
“She wasn’t a fuzzy, cuddly grandma who cooked or did any of that,” she said. “She was always dressed to the nines. Super smart, super well educated, super curious and pretty strict.”
Shriver said most people think of the Kennedy men when the family name comes up.
"But the Kennedy women are strong women,” Shriver said. “That started with Grandma.”