NEW YORK -- In a posthumous memoir, Massachusetts Sen. Edward M. Kennedy writes of fear and remorse surrounding the fateful events on Chappaquiddick Island in 1969, when his car accident left a woman dead.

"True Compass" is to be published Sept. 14 by Twelve, a division of the Hachette book group. The 532-page book was obtained early by The New York Times.

In it, Kennedy says his actions on July 18, 1969, were "inexcusable." He says he was afraid and "made terrible decisions" and had to live with the guilt for more than four decades.

Kennedy drove off a bridge into a pond. He swam to safety while Mary Jo Kopechne drowned. He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident and got a suspended sentence and probation.

Kennedy died last week of a brain tumor at age 77.