To the luck of the Irish add a heavy dose of Kennedy connections and, voila, a new generation of Kennedys is launched. While Joseph Kennedy III runs for the state treasurer's job in Massachusetts, Robert Kennedy Jr. is writing his way to prominence with a little help from his family's friends.

Hours before the White House announced the appointment of Judge Frank M. Johnson to head the FBI, young Robert was contacted by editors close to the Kennedys from the Boston Globe, Nashville Tennessean, and the Philadelphia Inquirer. Each newspaper wanted him to write an editorial page piece on Johnson.

The reason: by happy coincidence, Kennedy had chosen Johnson, an old family acquaintance, as the subject of his senior thesis at Harvard. Kennedy lived with Johnson while researching how the civil rights movement was affected by the judiciary, especially Johnson's battles with his law school classmate, George Wallace.

An editor at Putnam heard about the thesis last spring, read it, and paid Kennedy a book advance in the low four figures. When Johnson became the man of the hour, Putnam suddenly found itself with what could be a hot property.

Since Johnson's appointment, Kennedy has been in Palm Beach polishing the manuscript, which Putnam hopes to have between hard covers by spring.

Footnote: In 1940, another Harvard senior wrote a thesis that became a book.The title was Why England Slept and the author was John F. Kennedy.