John Kerry grew up with the privileges of the wealthy upper class – boarding schools in Switzerland and New England, learning fluent French and college at Yale. In fact his father was a State Department employee, his education was paid for a by great aunt, and he grew up feeling rootless. In the words of The Boston Globe, he was a gentleman without substance.Both his wives have been wealthy heiresses.
With the middle name Forbes, Kerry shares initials with John F Kennedy. While dating Jackie Kennedy’s half-sister, Kerry went sailing with the president in 1962. When Kerry volunteered to go to war in Vietnam, he chose to take command of a swift boat patrolling the Mekong Delta – as Kennedy had served in a torpedo boat in the Second World War.
Kerry’s smooth ascent to the top stalled when, with a record of aggressive combat against the Vietcong and a clutch of medals, he emerged as a spokesman for the anti-war campaign.