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American Legacy: The Story of John and Caroline Kennedy
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American Legacy: The Story of John and Caroline Kennedy

3.8 17
by C. David Heymann
 

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From the moment of their births, John and Caroline Kennedy occupied a central position in what is generally regarded as the most famous family in the United States, if not the world. Even as young children growing up in the White House, their most subtle gestures and actions made headlines.... Yet until now they have not been the subject of a dual biography. In

Overview

From the moment of their births, John and Caroline Kennedy occupied a central position in what is generally regarded as the most famous family in the United States, if not the world. Even as young children growing up in the White House, their most subtle gestures and actions made headlines.... Yet until now they have not been the subject of a dual biography. In that sense, this volume represents a first.

In American Legacy, #1 New York Times bestselling author C. David Heymann draws upon a voluminous archive of personal interviews to present a telling portrait of John and Caroline Kennedy. A longtime biographer of various members of the Kennedy clan, including Jackie and Robert Kennedy, Heymann covers John's and Caroline's childhood in the White House, the dark aftermath of their father's assassination, their uneasy adolescence, and the many challenges they faced as adults, all under the glaring eye of the media. He reveals John's and Caroline's loving but at times trying relationship with their larger-than-life mother, as well as Jackie's own emotional struggles, romantic relationships, and financial concerns following JFK's death.

Other revelations brought to light for the first time in American Legacy include the assassination attempt made on Jackie just before she gave birth to John; JFK Jr.'s romantic escapades prior to marrying Carolyn Bessette and accounts of the predominantly happy marriage they shared despite criticisms from questionable sources; the shocking report of the autopsy performed on John following the tragic plane crash that killed him, Carolyn, and her sister Lauren; Caroline's rise to become one of the wealthiest women in America and her life now as the sole keeper of her family's magnificently complex legacy.

Utterly compelling and full of new and fascinating details, American Legacy overturns much of what we thought we knew about two of the most talked-about members of the Kennedy family.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Pulitzer-nominated biographer Heymann delivers a gawk-worthy beach read with this fascinating look at Jackie and the Kennedy clan in the aftermath of John F. Kennedy's assassination....Heymann's research is top notch, with plentiful attributions, making this train-wreck love story a substantial guilty pleasure and a sizzling reminder of how the rich are different." — Publishers Weekly

"Full of gossipy tidbits.... This book is shocking, yearningly romantic and tons of fun." — People

"Clear-eyed, often startling. . . . A wealth of intimate detail found in no other biography." —Publishers Weekly

“Like Marilyn, JFK, and Lincoln, Elizabeth Taylor seems destined for literary eternity.” —Liz Smith, New York Post

The Toronto Sun An informative and entertaining book — like the women it profiles.

The Washington Post Think Entertainment Tonight does Georgetown.

Liz Smith New York Post One juicy story after another. Mr. Heymann doesn't hold back. I couldn't put this book down....Don't miss it!

C. David Heymann's American Legacy takes us into the second generation of Camelot with uncommon authority. This three-time Pulitzer Prize nominee has already published full-length lives of President and Mrs. Kennedy and had personal contact with John F. Kennedy Jr. To construct this double biography, he drew on more than 1,500 taped and transcribed interviews with family, friends, associates, employees, and enemies. The book contains numerous startling claims, including news of an autopsy finding that Carolyn Bessette Kennedy was pregnant at the time of the fatal 1999 plane crash and reports of previously undisclosed extramarital affairs by JFK Jr. Eye-opening revelations about "America's royal family."

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780743497398
Publisher:
Atria Books
Publication date:
07/01/2008
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
608
Sales rank:
456,028
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 1.70(d)

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Author's Note

After the assassination of President John F. Kennedy on November 22, 1963, his widow, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy, took it upon herself to raise their two children, John Jr. and Caroline, in as normal an atmosphere as their celebrity would allow. As a single parent, Jackie gave them her love and her time, and supported them in their daily activities and life decisions. Her strong commitment to her children and her fervent desire to keep them out of the glare of the spotlight -- not always successfully -- were nevertheless a testimonial to her diligence, a true sign of her devotion. The results of her efforts were (and are) clearly visible. Unlike so many of the other Kennedys of their generation, John and Caroline were centered and successful. For all their losses and travails, they managed to avoid the pitfalls and scandals that beset so many of their cousins. Their values reflected the better part of their heritage. They were humble, modest, and refined -- rare attributes in any individual regardless of background.

What makes John and Caroline's story unique is that from the moment of their births, they occupied a central position in what is generally regarded as the most famous family in the United States, if not the world. Even as young children growing up in the White House, their most subtle gestures and actions made headlines. As they grew older, their fame derived less from their accomplishments than from what each came to represent in historic terms. As the children of arguably the most famous American couple of the second half of the twentieth century, they were destined to live their lives in the public domain, the subject of countless magazine articles, television specials, and newspaper reports. Yet until now they have not been the subject of a dual biography. In that sense, this volume represents a first.

In good times and bad, John and his sister, Caroline, were unusually close, bound together not only by common heritage and circumstance but by a series of traumas and tragedies that ultimately altered the course of their lives. Yet what seems particularly unique about them is that despite their shared intimacy, the two were vastly different in personality and temperament. A wife and mother, Caroline has always been introverted and intensely private. She possesses her father's appearance but her mother's strength of will. She is as devoted to her own children as her mother was to hers. Like her mother, she is something of a mystery, difficult to read, hard to interpret. John looked more like his Bouvier mother but boasted his father's debonair charm, outgoing conviviality, and sense of humor. Caroline has always been reticent, whereas her brother shone in public. Had he lived, it is likely he would have followed in his father's footsteps and entered the political arena. Given the opportunity -- and with a bit of Irish luck -- he might well have gone all the way.

In several respects, this book is more about John than it is about Caroline. His life is complete. For better or worse, his tragic (and untimely) end allows us to examine him in a fuller, more definitive vein. Many of his friends and acquaintances were willing to speak on the record for the first time. Caroline's life continues to evolve. In this regard, she remains very much a work in progress. While generally cooperative, her friends and associates were less forthcoming and more protective. Approaching the age of fifty, she is still an open book, a volume with an ending yet to be written. What emerges is a portrait of two siblings, a brother and sister -- one perspective drawn in full color, the other limned in shades of black and white. This, then, is their story.

Copyright © 2007 by C. David Heymann

Meet the Author

C. David Heymann (1945-2012) is the author of several New York Times bestselling biographies, including Bobby and Jackie, American Legacy, The Georgetown Ladies' Social Club, and RFK: A Candid Biography of Robert F. Kennedy. He lived in Manhattan.

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American Legacy: The Story of John and Caroline Kennedy 3.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 17 reviews.
Ohiogal More than 1 year ago
If you like reading about the Kennedys --- this book is all you really need. It is written concentrating on Caroline and John, Jr. However, you get a buffet full of family characters that we've read about in other publications. I learned alot about Jackie and how she raised her children. I'm glad to read that for the most part, Caroline and John, Jr were pretty normal, but still cared for by Jackie's sacrifice for her love of money and comfort. C Heymann certainly did alot of research for this book! Great read!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Having read many books about the Kennedys, I would have to rate this as one of the best.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I felt the author was long-winded in some areas. How many times do we need to read that John was outgoing and Caroline is not? Or that John made friends with everyone and Caroline is uppity. I got a little weary reading that over and over. Nonetheless, I did overall enjoy the book and would recommend it to those interested in the subject matter.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I've read so many books about the Kennedys - some good, others seem to re-hash the 'same old stuff'. This one is particularly good. The author definitely is a JFK Jr fan but is not particularly taken with his big sister Caroline. She comes across as standoffish, snobby and very self-involved. I found it amusing that according to the author, JFK JR. called Caroline's hubby Ed Schlossberg - Edwina - probably because he appears to be a kept 'man'. Never seems to be able to find his niche. Finding Ed's niche seems to be financially supported by his wife's (Caroline) substantial fortune. This book is rather lengthy but I breezed through it in 3 days - definitely worth reading for all the Kennedy lovers in the world.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Too boring To even finish the sample
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book
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