At last finished the journals of Arthur Schlesinger Jr., courtier to the Kennedys and distinguished American historian. I'd loved the first volume of his memoirs, but, alas, he was unable to finish the second volume, leaving us with the journals, which at the end detail his struggles to complete his memoirs.
He's active and healthy until the journals abruptly end, constantly wanting to get to his desk to complete his book, but complaining about being distracted by conferences, parties, meetings and such. Despite his notable accomplishments, he is one of those authors who believes he's fallen short of what he wanted to accomplish when young. He thought he'd have enough time to finish the book, sometime, but his life of health and purpose all of a sudden is no more.
Schlesinger was accused of being a Kennedy apologist, and he often does put the most positive spin on the careers of JFK, RFK, Jackie Kennedy and their children. He also drops names extravagantly, with witty and at times delightlfully cutting comments. His unabashed liberalism is unimaginable today.
The memoirs begin when he was a young man in the JFK administration and close when he was an old lion. The last entry comes just on the eve of the Gore-Bush Supreme Court decision that gave the presidency to Bush. One misses his comments on the whole affair, as well as what he might have said about the rise of Barack Obama, but he had a full enough life. He never completed books as strong and deep as his early "Age of Roosevelt" volumes. Yet, although he might have fallen short of his own ambitions as a historian, what he did complete will likely be read by future generations.