As we celebrate fifty years of GQ, we take a look at some of the best journalism the magazine has published. In 1990, Michael Kelly—who later became the first American reporter to die in the Iraq war—gave us this memorable and devastatingly candid portrayal of the last Kennedy brother

When GQ sent Michael Kelly to profile one of America’s most powerful men, Kelly was a young writer, and unknown. But after three months of reporting, thousands of pages of research, and over seventy interviews with everyone in Washington, from congressmen to waiters on Capitol Hill, he filed this famous portrait of Edward M. Kennedy, remarkable not only for its courage in exposing a senator’s vices but also for the balance of its tone. GQ has published many celebrated political articles over the years—profiles of George W. Bush and Colin Powell, interviews with John Kerry and Chuck Hagel, to name a few—but this one may well be the best. Michael Kelly went on to cover the Gulf War for this magazine and to edit The New Republic and The Atlantic Monthly in turn. Tragically, in 2003, his Humvee crashed under enemy fire in Iraq.

The once-strong voice of liberalism is now slurred, but the bibulous Kennedy boyo remains the life of the party

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