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Mrs. Kennedy: The Missing History of the Kennedy Years

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New York Times bestselling author Barbara Leaming answers the question: What was it like to be Mrs. John F. Kennedy during the dramatic thousand days of the Kennedy presidency? Here for the first time is the full story of the extravagant interplay of sex and politics that constitutes one of modern history's most spectacular dramas. Drawing from recently declassified top-sec New York Times bestselling author Barbara Leaming answers the question: What was it like to be Mrs. John F. Kennedy during the dramatic thousand days of the Kennedy presidency? Here for the first time is the full story of the extravagant interplay of sex and politics that constitutes one of modern history's most spectacular dramas. Drawing from recently declassified top-secret material, as well as revelatory eyewitness accounts, Secret Service records, and Jacqueline Kennedy’s personal letters, bestselling biographer Barbara Leaming answers the question: what was it like to be Mrs. John F. Kennedy during the dramatic thousand days of the Kennedy presidency? Brilliantly researched, Leaming’s poignant and powerful chronicle illuminates the tumultuous day-to-day life of a woman who entered the White House at age thirty-one, seven years into a complex and troubled marriage, and left at thirty-four after her husband's assassination. Revealing the full story of the interplay of sex and politics in Washington, Mrs. Kennedy will indelibly challenge our vision of this fascinating woman, and bring a new perspective to her crucial role in the Kennedy presidency.


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New York Times bestselling author Barbara Leaming answers the question: What was it like to be Mrs. John F. Kennedy during the dramatic thousand days of the Kennedy presidency? Here for the first time is the full story of the extravagant interplay of sex and politics that constitutes one of modern history's most spectacular dramas. Drawing from recently declassified top-sec New York Times bestselling author Barbara Leaming answers the question: What was it like to be Mrs. John F. Kennedy during the dramatic thousand days of the Kennedy presidency? Here for the first time is the full story of the extravagant interplay of sex and politics that constitutes one of modern history's most spectacular dramas. Drawing from recently declassified top-secret material, as well as revelatory eyewitness accounts, Secret Service records, and Jacqueline Kennedy’s personal letters, bestselling biographer Barbara Leaming answers the question: what was it like to be Mrs. John F. Kennedy during the dramatic thousand days of the Kennedy presidency? Brilliantly researched, Leaming’s poignant and powerful chronicle illuminates the tumultuous day-to-day life of a woman who entered the White House at age thirty-one, seven years into a complex and troubled marriage, and left at thirty-four after her husband's assassination. Revealing the full story of the interplay of sex and politics in Washington, Mrs. Kennedy will indelibly challenge our vision of this fascinating woman, and bring a new perspective to her crucial role in the Kennedy presidency.

30 review for Mrs. Kennedy: The Missing History of the Kennedy Years

  1. 5 out of 5

    Louise

    Was it Camelot? Not for Jackie. Barbara Leaming tracks Jackie’s White House years showing how she tried to overcome her poor self image (inculcated by her mother) by being a perfect First Lady. She carefully crafted diplomatic receptions and dinners, created cultural events and charmed world leaders to advance her husband's standing. Her marriage was never a source of happiness or support. Being First Lady only added to its stress. As president, JFK continued his bold, determined and risky sex lif Was it Camelot? Not for Jackie. Barbara Leaming tracks Jackie’s White House years showing how she tried to overcome her poor self image (inculcated by her mother) by being a perfect First Lady. She carefully crafted diplomatic receptions and dinners, created cultural events and charmed world leaders to advance her husband's standing. Her marriage was never a source of happiness or support. Being First Lady only added to its stress. As president, JFK continued his bold, determined and risky sex life. He would escort women from White House functions to Jackie’s bedroom, leaving her alone to host the guests. The women could be staff, wives of friends, government officials or general visitors. Time after time you see Jackie putting on a brave and dignified act. She chastised him (sort of) only once about one of the relationships, otherwise she tolerated his affairs in silence. Was it due to her insecurity or perhaps her love for him or her hope that he would come to love her and put her first? Leaming does not explore the motivation. She shows how Jackie loves her husband, is not shown to consider leaving him, and continues to try to earn his love. My takeaways, more about the Kennedy’s than about Jackie, are: • The significance of Jack’s sister, Kick, and how her ties through marriage to Prime Minister Harold Macmillan were helpful for both Jack and Jackie. • In relationships (even more so than the one night stands) JFK shows terrible judgment and/or significant indifference to risk: Inga Arvad may have been a Nazi spy. J. Edgar Hoover believed that Judith Campbell was planted in his life to spy for the mob. Mary Pinchot Meyer, whom he entertained at Jackie’s parties and in her living quarters planned to promote world peace by slipping LSD to world leaders. His liaison with Edith Rometsch, a Russian spy, may have come back to haunt him had he lived. • Jackie’s love of France, its language and literature raised Kennedy’s international standing after the Bay of Pigs fiasco and spawned her lasting reputation for grace and charm. • Kennedy knew that the Bay of Pigs and regime change in Vietnam were bad decisions not long after he made them. Was it really too late to reverse them or was this a sign that he knew he could not control his (supposed) staff? • Jackie’s sister, Lee Radizwill, was a friend, and maybe a lover, of Aristotle Onassis • White House life seems to be an endless cycle of receptions and dinner parties. I wonder how this constant swirl compares to today’s event schedules. • Bobby is there at the right time and seems to be necessary for his brother and for Jackie. • Brother in law Peter Lawford as well as the president’s staff bring women to the White House for drinks and swims (in the White House pool) with the President. Relying on primary sources, Leaming documents the political events (Bay of Pigs, Cuban Missile Crisis, James Meredith, Vietnam, nuclear weapons treaty) and coordinates them with what Jackie is doing a this time. There is a lot of speculation about emotions and motives that are not documented or attributed to a source. For a work of non-fiction, some really stand out. A good example is the description of Jack’s feelings about calling Mary Meyer during Jackie's illness and grief following the death of Patrick who died in childbirth. This puts the Kennedy administration in a whole new light. When you see Jack’s poor political and personal judgment, and Jackie’s perfection, you wonder if the simile of Camelot is based on her work in elevating him and his office. This book is a must read for those interested in Jackie. I'd be interested in the view of JFK scholars about their view of how Jack is portrayed, not just the personal side, but the political and risk taking blunders... of which the trip to Dallas, with the request that secret service detail not ride aside the limo as usual, is a fatal example.

  2. 4 out of 5

    KOMET

    Upon immersing myself in "Mrs. Kennedy: The Missing History of the Kennedy Years", I felt as if I were an actual witness to a marriage between 2 remarkable people, whose lives together became bound up with the politics, culture, ethos, and destiny of a nation. At the time of their marriage in September 1953, the husband, a freshman United States Senator with budding promise of reaching the White House, hailed from a rich, prestigious Irish-American family steeped in the Catholic faith. His wife, Upon immersing myself in "Mrs. Kennedy: The Missing History of the Kennedy Years", I felt as if I were an actual witness to a marriage between 2 remarkable people, whose lives together became bound up with the politics, culture, ethos, and destiny of a nation. At the time of their marriage in September 1953, the husband, a freshman United States Senator with budding promise of reaching the White House, hailed from a rich, prestigious Irish-American family steeped in the Catholic faith. His wife, who came from a slightly less wealthier background, was a graduate from Vassar who had studied at the Sorbonne, possessed artistic and intellectual attainments, and shared certain, profound affinities with her husband, which the author makes plain in considerable detail as the story progresses. I have had a deep-seated fascination with JFK and Jacqueline Kennedy for many years, and this book I found hard to break away from once I began reading it in earnest. Even if you have little interest in politics or history, the book's human interest element alone makes for compelling reading. It makes alive to the reader the sensibilities of an era --- the 1950s and early 1960s --- in such a way that one almost feels as if the past has become the present. This is a book that I could read again and again, without tiring of it, despite the horrific tragedy of Dallas and its aftermath in which Jacqueline Kennedy, now a widow, struggled to re-establish a meaningful life for herself and her children.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth Olsen

    After reading a Doris Kearns Goodwin Kennedy book, this one seemed like reading a gossip magazine. The author of this book jumps as conclusions and calls them facts, for example she said JFK chose Jackie because she reminded him of Kit, Katherine Kennedy, his sister who passed away. She attempted to prove this point through vague similiarities between the two women, when they weren't that similiar at all. That is one example of why Miss Leaming just wasn't a trustworthy storyteller. I did like i After reading a Doris Kearns Goodwin Kennedy book, this one seemed like reading a gossip magazine. The author of this book jumps as conclusions and calls them facts, for example she said JFK chose Jackie because she reminded him of Kit, Katherine Kennedy, his sister who passed away. She attempted to prove this point through vague similiarities between the two women, when they weren't that similiar at all. That is one example of why Miss Leaming just wasn't a trustworthy storyteller. I did like it for some things that she mentioned, what an artist Jackie was at being a graceful hostess, how cultured and intelligent she was, how her knowledge of French art and history charmed Degaulle and how her abilitity to speak other languages engaged one nation after another. How, sadly, she had little time to put her self together in the air force one lavatory before she witnessed the swearing in of LBJ, that was so sad!!! Looking at a picture of that you can see she is wearing the same outfit she was in the convertable earlier in the day, how horrible that must have been. I don't know how true it is that JFK blatantly and serially cheated on his wife, during parties at the white house, but that is almost too ugly to believe, so I dismiss it. I do believe he was unfaithful of course but I think it is wrong that Miss Leaming wrote as if she knew what Jackie was thinking day to day from reading the secret service logs of the first families comings and goings. I don't regret reading this but I think if you choose to, take everything in this book with a grain of salt.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Erin

    As most of you should know by now I'm completely obsessed with the Kennedy's. I try to read anything pertaining to them. I find them so fascinating and Jackie is the most fascinating. The more I read about her the more I come to respect her. JFK was a terrible husband and I have my own problems with his presidency. This is one of the few books that focuses solely on Jackie's years in the White House and how she changed the role of First Lady. I highly recommend Mrs. Kennedy to not just people in As most of you should know by now I'm completely obsessed with the Kennedy's. I try to read anything pertaining to them. I find them so fascinating and Jackie is the most fascinating. The more I read about her the more I come to respect her. JFK was a terrible husband and I have my own problems with his presidency. This is one of the few books that focuses solely on Jackie's years in the White House and how she changed the role of First Lady. I highly recommend Mrs. Kennedy to not just people interested in the Kennedy's or politics but people who want to read about a complicated but loving(in its own way) marriage .At times you hate the late President and feel extreme pity for Jackie but I think you will end the book with a better understanding of their marriage. Popsugar Reading Challenge: Book About an Interesting Woman.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn

    I loved the Kennedys and have always been saddened on how life treated them. How do I explain my disappointment in reading this. In the first 70 pages, the author really shows no compassion for Jackie's mental weaknesses. Is this a writing of 'gossip' or one of facts? I continue to browse through the rest of this book picking out sections historically significant. Then I get to the part on Jack's assassination, oh my, it was a bit too graphic for me albeit well done. As I love the presidential h I loved the Kennedys and have always been saddened on how life treated them. How do I explain my disappointment in reading this. In the first 70 pages, the author really shows no compassion for Jackie's mental weaknesses. Is this a writing of 'gossip' or one of facts? I continue to browse through the rest of this book picking out sections historically significant. Then I get to the part on Jack's assassination, oh my, it was a bit too graphic for me albeit well done. As I love the presidential historical biographer Doris Kearns Goodwin, I think I may stick to her books.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Jen Six

    One of my first in a long line of biographies I've read on Jackie. This one was written in a way that I truly felt as if I were shadowing her through her life and saw what it must have been like to be her. I knew very little of Jackie before reading this book and afterwards was only more intrigued. I enjoyed learning that Jackie did seem to play a large part in her husband's ideals. To an extent, he learned a great deal from her and respected her, though he wasn't faithful. Go figure. Either way, One of my first in a long line of biographies I've read on Jackie. This one was written in a way that I truly felt as if I were shadowing her through her life and saw what it must have been like to be her. I knew very little of Jackie before reading this book and afterwards was only more intrigued. I enjoyed learning that Jackie did seem to play a large part in her husband's ideals. To an extent, he learned a great deal from her and respected her, though he wasn't faithful. Go figure. Either way, I own the book and will probably read it again to refresh my memory about an intriguing woman of history.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Julia

    Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, but a biography thoroughly informed by very personal memories of Jackie from those who knew and loved her best. She was a physically and emotionally fragile woman who was very good at doing what the country needed her to do. She made the choices that seemed right at the time. The book's concise and unvarnished epilogue was something of a revelation to me, as was an assertion early in the book that explained the relationship between Jack and Jackie more than any Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, but a biography thoroughly informed by very personal memories of Jackie from those who knew and loved her best. She was a physically and emotionally fragile woman who was very good at doing what the country needed her to do. She made the choices that seemed right at the time. The book's concise and unvarnished epilogue was something of a revelation to me, as was an assertion early in the book that explained the relationship between Jack and Jackie more than any dry history book ever could. I am not a First Ladies devotee, but for anyone who is, I would recommend giving this a read.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Helen Longvall

    Intriguing, for a historical novel, it made a great beach read. I enjoyed learning about the JFK years through Barbara Leaming's unique perspective of placing Jackie as the protagonist. It really did add some color to the image I had previously understood. Intriguing, for a historical novel, it made a great beach read. I enjoyed learning about the JFK years through Barbara Leaming's unique perspective of placing Jackie as the protagonist. It really did add some color to the image I had previously understood.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Suzanne

    “To many Americans who had seen dozens of pictures of her during the campaign, a glimpse of the hair, sunglasses, gloves would have been enough to identify her as ‘Jackie.’ To people who knew little else abut her, that was who she was. In fact, like so much in her life, the aim of her signature style was concealment. A chemical straightener disguised the naturally kinky hair she hated. The teased bouffant masked a low hairline. Kid gloves covered large, strong, mannish hands that an early boyf “To many Americans who had seen dozens of pictures of her during the campaign, a glimpse of the hair, sunglasses, gloves would have been enough to identify her as ‘Jackie.’ To people who knew little else abut her, that was who she was. In fact, like so much in her life, the aim of her signature style was concealment. A chemical straightener disguised the naturally kinky hair she hated. The teased bouffant masked a low hairline. Kid gloves covered large, strong, mannish hands that an early boyfriend likened to those of a peasant. The cut of her suit jacket artfully concealed the breadth of her shoulders, and her muscular back and arms. The skirt disguised hips she thought much too broad. The shoes were specially cut to make large feet look smaller and more feminine. Sunglasses hid brown eyes set so far apart that her optician had to special-order a suitably wide bridge. Dark lenses had the additional advantage of guarding emotions that since childhood she had taken tremendous pains to hide.” Barbara Leaming’s book about Jackie Kennedy during the White House years was dead on the kind of book I was looking for. When I read books about First Ladies, I am really searching for their role and their lives in the context of the Presidency. A couple of the books left out important events altogether. Leaming seems to understand that highlights of any Presidency include roles played by the First Lady as well as an effect on her. Case in point: Bay of Pigs. Following his first major blunder on the world stage, Kennedy desperately needed to appear credible, strong and respected. Jackie understood how to set that backdrop in her decor, choice of venue, style of dinner party and the guests. She also had a flair for enchanting world leaders that her husband needed to impress. John F. Kennedy’s Presidency took a huge toll on Jackie. Being the wife of a president is a taxing burden on any first lady, but for Jackie Kennedy it was especially difficult. First, she needed to balance being a mother of two young children. She was fierce in protecting them from the press. Second, she was a private person when she came into the first lady role. It was stressing for her to receive so much attention and be required to put herself on a stage. Third, her husband was a philanderer. He didn’t just have a few quiet affairs, no, he brought his mistresses to the White House and flaunted them in front of her. Fourth, all that stress brought on the loss of three children – one to miscarriage and two stillborn. That poor woman, it’s amazing she didn’t have a nervous breakdown. At least, not that we know of. Leaming’s details of the Kennedy assassination were gripping. Apparently she got those details from several records, including a very detailed Secret Serviceman’s report. The only fault I could find was that she often told the reader was Jackie was thinking at a particular point in time. I kept wondering, isn’t that conjecture? Leaming also went a bit far in determining why Jackie stayed in her marriage. I thought it too simplistic. All in all, I thought it was a very good book and a good insight into Jackie Kennedy and her marriage to JFK.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Catherine

    I got this book to learn more about Jackie and her feelings about her husband cheating on her with numerous women. In the beginning, the book was depressing because I didn't know how bad the cheating really was. It made me think about my relationships in the past. Later in the book, the focus is no longer on Jackie but her husband. There was much more on President Kennedy, his infidelities, and too much on the problems that arose during his presidency. This book is titled Mrs. Kennedy, but there I got this book to learn more about Jackie and her feelings about her husband cheating on her with numerous women. In the beginning, the book was depressing because I didn't know how bad the cheating really was. It made me think about my relationships in the past. Later in the book, the focus is no longer on Jackie but her husband. There was much more on President Kennedy, his infidelities, and too much on the problems that arose during his presidency. This book is titled Mrs. Kennedy, but there was so much missing about her. I was hoping to read more about her as a person, wife, mother, and first lady. I must admit, I became rather bored with the constant accounts of Mr. Kennedy's sexual addiction and his liaisons, and Mrs. Kennedy's method of distancing herself from them. Too much like a bad soap opera.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Katie Oglesby

    Generally, I'm not a person who reads a lot of biographies or autobiographies but interested in Mrs. Kennedy's life after watching the HBO mini series The Kennedys I decided to pick up this book. I was not at all disappointed. This book reads like a novel! Lots of drama spelled out well without a lot of unnecessary details of events that did not hold much meaning. I was very impressed by this book. Although, I was appalled and shocked at some of the major affairs, riskiness and unobliterated tru Generally, I'm not a person who reads a lot of biographies or autobiographies but interested in Mrs. Kennedy's life after watching the HBO mini series The Kennedys I decided to pick up this book. I was not at all disappointed. This book reads like a novel! Lots of drama spelled out well without a lot of unnecessary details of events that did not hold much meaning. I was very impressed by this book. Although, I was appalled and shocked at some of the major affairs, riskiness and unobliterated true brazen and carelessness the president showed towards his wife. What an ass! Seemed almost as if he started to try to turn things around at the end, but alas, his death got in the way. This was a great read and I intend to pick up another autobiography similar perhaps to just get a different perspective.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Katie Cain

    Wow! Jackie Kennedy had an incredibly harrowing life as a first lady! This biography exposed details of the Kennedy marriage that I was definitely not aware existed. This gave me a whole new perspective on the pressures of being such a public figure in the midst of difficult personal situations. I think that in some ways this book was a longer and more sophisticated version of an E! news report on the Kennedy's relationship and in other ways is interesting to understanding the dynamics such an i Wow! Jackie Kennedy had an incredibly harrowing life as a first lady! This biography exposed details of the Kennedy marriage that I was definitely not aware existed. This gave me a whole new perspective on the pressures of being such a public figure in the midst of difficult personal situations. I think that in some ways this book was a longer and more sophisticated version of an E! news report on the Kennedy's relationship and in other ways is interesting to understanding the dynamics such an influential couple. This was not the most well-written book, I think I enjoyed it more for the information than the way it was compiled. There were some typos and it wasn't always written in a very tactful way which made me feel like I was reading dirty gossip.

  13. 4 out of 5

    D

    Filled with hyperbole and though extensively researched, the research is a mile wide and an inch deep. The direct support for many hypotheses regarding acts and motivations of the principals is thin at best and often based on the same one or two interviewees, particularly in regard to the more personal aspects of this story.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jennifer

    My "I did not know" revelation of Jackie O! Wow, more deep sorrow and pain felt for her after... good details in this one! My "I did not know" revelation of Jackie O! Wow, more deep sorrow and pain felt for her after... good details in this one!

  15. 5 out of 5

    chucklesthescot

    This was a completely different book from the other factual books I've read about JFK. This one is written from the POV of Jackie's life in the White House and you can't help but be horrified by the dreadful way that her husband treated her. I knew he was unfaithful but this book was shocking in showing how many women he cheated on her with-prostitutes, friends, several long term affairs at the same time, almost every female staff member, campaign workers and of course the infamous fling with Ma This was a completely different book from the other factual books I've read about JFK. This one is written from the POV of Jackie's life in the White House and you can't help but be horrified by the dreadful way that her husband treated her. I knew he was unfaithful but this book was shocking in showing how many women he cheated on her with-prostitutes, friends, several long term affairs at the same time, almost every female staff member, campaign workers and of course the infamous fling with Marilyn Monroe. Jackie's humiliation is made worse by everyone else at the White House knowing exactly what her husband is doing. Another shocking thing about this book is the amount of illegal drugs that Jack and Jackie were taking to cope with their physical and mental pains. Having the President high on speed while running the country and meeting other leaders was really frightening and you can see how it affected his decision making. The book has a good mixture of the major political events in this Presidency-Vietnam, Civil Rights, Bay of Pigs, Cuban missile crisis, mixed in with the Kennedy family's own tragedies and the miserable personal life of Jackie. It is a must read for anyone who is interested in the Kennedy family. The book is written using interviews with the friends of the family and Secret Service agents who witnessed the events, and written records/personal letters. And a lot of this book forms the basis for the current mini-series on the History Channel.

  16. 4 out of 5

    KCM73

    I have recommended this book to a number of people and they all have loved it as much as I did. It is a great blend of personal story and political history. Some of the details are almost unbelievable. If JFK had been president in current times, he would not have been able to get away with almost any of the behavior from his personal life -- both while on the campaign trail and especially while in office. Also, there is such a mystique about the Kennedys and the Kennedy presidency. If he had liv I have recommended this book to a number of people and they all have loved it as much as I did. It is a great blend of personal story and political history. Some of the details are almost unbelievable. If JFK had been president in current times, he would not have been able to get away with almost any of the behavior from his personal life -- both while on the campaign trail and especially while in office. Also, there is such a mystique about the Kennedys and the Kennedy presidency. If he had lived, I'm not sure that would have been sustainable. His personal choices were a powder keg waiting to happen.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Torine

    Fascinating detail about Jackie Kennedy's life during the White House years. Overall, it's impressive how someone so famous managed to remain so private. And it's clear why she wanted it that way. Many aspects of her life are just so heartbreaking... even beyond the trauma of seeing her husband killed. I think a lot of this book shows just how hard she worked, and how smart she was, and how often she was taken for granted. Fascinating detail about Jackie Kennedy's life during the White House years. Overall, it's impressive how someone so famous managed to remain so private. And it's clear why she wanted it that way. Many aspects of her life are just so heartbreaking... even beyond the trauma of seeing her husband killed. I think a lot of this book shows just how hard she worked, and how smart she was, and how often she was taken for granted.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    It would be a good idea to read this before seeing the movie "Jackie" as it explains how adept she was at creating the "image" of a great president. GOOD pictures of all the key players and of the houses/boats would have been very helpful. I would also like to read the book by Clint Hill who was her body guard. It would be a good idea to read this before seeing the movie "Jackie" as it explains how adept she was at creating the "image" of a great president. GOOD pictures of all the key players and of the houses/boats would have been very helpful. I would also like to read the book by Clint Hill who was her body guard.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lynn

    What can I say, I'm a fan of everything Jackie. What can I say, I'm a fan of everything Jackie.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Martha

    different view of the Kennedy presidency. was interesting....read at thousand trails in orlando/clermont florida

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jane Gardner

    Interesting, but way too much detail about politics. Much more detail about JFK's frolics than I've ever seen elsewhere. Jackie put up with a LOT of frolicking. I still admire her greatly. Interesting, but way too much detail about politics. Much more detail about JFK's frolics than I've ever seen elsewhere. Jackie put up with a LOT of frolicking. I still admire her greatly.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marg

    A compelling book meticulously researched. The complex partnership/ marriage of the Kennedys makes for riveting reading.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Robin

    I wanted to know more about Jackie Kennedy and although there were bits and pieces I found interesting overall I thought the book was poorly written and poorly edited. It seemed as though the author had spent a lot of time researching Jack and Jackie’s movements in the White House according to recently declassified documents and based her book on assumptions made as a result of the research. I shouldn’t have been surprised that this book wasn’t going to help me get to know Jackie because she was I wanted to know more about Jackie Kennedy and although there were bits and pieces I found interesting overall I thought the book was poorly written and poorly edited. It seemed as though the author had spent a lot of time researching Jack and Jackie’s movements in the White House according to recently declassified documents and based her book on assumptions made as a result of the research. I shouldn’t have been surprised that this book wasn’t going to help me get to know Jackie because she was a very private person. Instead I found myself annoyed that the author spent so much time mentioning JFK’s adulterous behavior especially with Mary Meyer and speculating on the impact that would have had on Jackie. I was surprised to learn about Dr. “Feel Good” giving the president and his wife drugs that are now illegal and I’m curious if Jackie had drug dependencies later in life. Here’s an example of the poor editing that I found irritating: on page 213 the author writes that “ Jackie’s Secret Service detail had learned to watch for the telltale widening of her eyes when she felt her space being threatened. Such was the case tonight…” and then just a few pages later that tidbit is used again about her eyes widening. One of the passages I found interesting was the description of her time in Paris. I was reading this at the same time that Melania Trump was preparing to receive the French president and his wife and I thought the parallels were interesting in terms of the public warming to the First Ladies in these cases. I finished reading (well, I skimmed over a lot of the political or historical parts) but I wouldn’t recommend this book to anyone else. I feel like I wasted my time with this book.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Susann

    An absolutely fabulous biography This is one of the best and most interesting biographies I have ever read. The amount of work the author put in is truly astounding, judging from the extensive footnotes and her acknowledgments. Much original material was sourced for this book including Secret Service notes and White House schedule books as well as many interviews with principal players, friends and family. This book goes into day by day life with the Kennedy White House. There is much unsavory in An absolutely fabulous biography This is one of the best and most interesting biographies I have ever read. The amount of work the author put in is truly astounding, judging from the extensive footnotes and her acknowledgments. Much original material was sourced for this book including Secret Service notes and White House schedule books as well as many interviews with principal players, friends and family. This book goes into day by day life with the Kennedy White House. There is much unsavory information about JFK's trysts and love affairs with lots of background information. It paints JFK in a warts and all light with lots of warts such as lying to Jackie, sneaking off for sex in the middle of social occasions, the many pool orgy parties while Jackie was away and why she was away. Much focus on Jackie's insecurities and pain at JFK's affairs as well as her special gifts that rose to the fore during her challenging Kennedy years. Interesting was her influence in making the image of JFK that has lasted. A well recommended read!

  25. 4 out of 5

    Ugnė Siaur

    It should be right to state that not everyone seems to clearly observe the person who is by the side of the president most of the time, at least then (around ‘60s) the persona of the president was clearly the main figure to observe, glad about or to choose the later person as a target of a certain disappointment because of his acts in a political area. But hey, Jackie, she was the one, no matter what by JFK side all the time despite his regular infidelity, certain failures on the political stage It should be right to state that not everyone seems to clearly observe the person who is by the side of the president most of the time, at least then (around ‘60s) the persona of the president was clearly the main figure to observe, glad about or to choose the later person as a target of a certain disappointment because of his acts in a political area. But hey, Jackie, she was the one, no matter what by JFK side all the time despite his regular infidelity, certain failures on the political stage and etc. Always keeping her ways elegant, highly intellectual and strong. Jackie is the one, who had a lot of value during the meetings with the leaders of nations from all around the world by her presence itself. It is basically a story, which moves in a certain way because of the honest and emotional picture given from the Jackie’s perspective during her marriage to JFK and his presidency at that time.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Jill Barton

    When I picked this book I expected to read about Jackie Kennedy but what I got was "yellow journalism" at its peak. This book spent more time on the Presidents sexcapdes than anything else. The author made it clear she is a tabloid lover. Yes people know the President loved the girls but this went way beyond what is necessary. This book is not about Jackie Kennedy but shows how common his behavior was and the extent his "mafia" went to protect his image. Skip this as it is a waste of time and mo When I picked this book I expected to read about Jackie Kennedy but what I got was "yellow journalism" at its peak. This book spent more time on the Presidents sexcapdes than anything else. The author made it clear she is a tabloid lover. Yes people know the President loved the girls but this went way beyond what is necessary. This book is not about Jackie Kennedy but shows how common his behavior was and the extent his "mafia" went to protect his image. Skip this as it is a waste of time and money.

  27. 5 out of 5

    DEBORAH G

    I have read countless books on the Kennedy years, and this one book has basically refuted all of them in terms of the relationship of Jack and Jackie. I read the whole book open mouthed. For one example, all previous books state that Jack and Jackie became a closer couple after the death of their infant son, Patrick. On the Dallas trip, they were the closest they ever were. Not true states this book. John continued with his extra marital physical relationships.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Terry Brown

    This is a very interesting take on the life of Mrs Kennedy - however there are lots of assumptions about her thoughts and feelings. Disappointed to read on page 329 that Churchill was dead when Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. Winston did not die until 1965. Does make you wonder about other inaccuracies.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Marcus Goncalves

    Well researched work on the complex marriage of the Kennedy's, the baggage they each brought to the union and the extraordinary circumstances they encountered both prior to and during the White House years. Well researched work on the complex marriage of the Kennedy's, the baggage they each brought to the union and the extraordinary circumstances they encountered both prior to and during the White House years.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Bren Marie

    I have always been interested in the Kennedys. Jackie was a beautiful & intelligent lady. She put up with a lot from JFK.

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