Writing in his book “True Compass,” which is scheduled to be published on Sept. 14, Mr. Kennedy, who died a week ago, described his actions in the 1969 accident as “inexcusable” and said that at the time he was afraid, overwhelmed “and made terrible decisions.”

Mr. Kennedy said he had to live with the guilt of his actions for four decades but that Ms. Kopechne’s family had to endure worse. “Atonement is a process that never ends,” he writes…

ve defeats or causes unfilled and discusses how he came to endorse Barack Obama during the presidential primaries despite his close relationships with other candidates. He said he was able to persevere through his own personal faith.

“I have fallen short in my life, but my faith has always brought me home,” he said.