Jacqueline Bouvier's marriage to John F. Kennedy in September 1953 sealed not only a relationship with the senator and future president but also a lifelong friendship with his brother Robert F. Kennedy. The assassination of JFK in November 1963 forged a permanent bond between the two. Bobby outlived John by less than five years, and Jackie went on to marry Greek shipping mogul Aristotle Onassis, but she never outgrew her deep connection with the Kennedy mystique. In Bobby and Jackie, famed celebrity biography C. David Heymann writes about the unique convergence of these charismatic Camelot survivors.
The adulterous action in Heymann's scandal-driven biography moves along at a brisk pace, and Dick Hill serves as an engaging reader but he misses the opportunity to take on the personas of a colorful cast of '60s political and pop culture icons, including Aristotle Onassis, Truman Capote, and Andy Williams. While Hill does convey an ample portion of the raw emotion behind Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' experiences with betrayal, grief, and the celebrity fishbowl in which she found herself, other players in the drama seem relegated to serve as relatively nondescript pawns inside a litany of Camelot misdeeds. An Atria hardcover (Reviews, Jun. 8).
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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
Read an Excerpt
I first heard hints and whispers of a romantic involvement between Robert and Jacqueline Kennedy while res earching and conducting interviews for A Woman Named Jackie, my 1989 biography ofthe former First Lady. Because Jackie was still very much alive at the time, it is easy to understand why interviewees were reluctant to discuss the romance in great depth or detail. Following Jacqueline's death in 1994 -- and after I had begun work on RFK, my 1998 biography of Robert Kennedy -- interview subjects, old and new, were suddenly much more eager to explore the topic. Thereafter nearly every biography of Bobby or Jackie, including volumes by Edward Klein, Christopher Andersen, Sarah Bradford, and Peter Evans, capitalized on my research and reported on the Bobby-Jackie affair, in certain instances adding new details to those already known.
After the publication of RFK, I continued to probe the subject, collecting further material and information. I was aided in part by the release in 2007 of a set of previously unavailable reports and briefs prepared by the Secret Service and the FBI, released to me under the Freedom of Information Act. Covering the years 1964 to 1968, when the liaison took place, these documents confirmed what I had already ascertained by way of personal interviews. I was thus able to piece together a complete picture of the complex relationship that existed between two of the most heralded figures of the twentieth century.
Too often in earlier biographies, Robert Kennedy was depicted as something of a choirboy when, in fact, he enjoyed the same proclivity for extramarital affairs as his brothers, Jack and Ted Kennedy. Insiders, among them Ted Kennedy as well as his sisters, were evidently well aware of the circumstances. Given Bobby's and Jackie's shared grief over the 1963 assassination of Jack Kennedy, it is not difficult to imagine how such an unlikely union could begin. The relationship grew and continued on its own, ending not because of lack or loss of affection but out of pure practical necessity when RFK decided to run for president in 1968. It is also clear, in the confusing days following Bobby's death, why Jackie turned to Aristotle Onassis for solace, agreeing to marry him and to leave the United States and raise her children abroad.
Despite the conclusive accounts of those insiders quoted in this volume, I don't doubt for a moment that some readers will remain skeptical that a romance actually took place. In the course of writing four books on the Kennedys, I have come across individuals who still deny the rampant womanizing of JFK, both before and after he became president. It took The New York Times, often cited as our most authoritative newspaper, some thirty years to admit in print that Jack Kennedy had numerous affairs outside his marriage. With all this purported womanizing, the doubters ask, how is it possible that JFK still had time to run the country? A somewhat related query might be posed regarding Bobby and Jackie. If such an affair took place, how is it conceivable that they managed to keep it out of the public eye? The answer to the first question is that President Kennedy compartmentalized his life to such an extent that he was able to preside over the nation while at the same time pursuing a hyperactive social schedule. The answer to the second question is that in the 1960s, the private lives of public figures were simply not covered by the media, certainly not to the extent that they are today when even the slightest impropriety, sexual or otherwise, gets reported, probed, and reported again.
Certain readers may also wonder or ask if it is even necessary to divulge the inner (or private) lives of biographical figures such as Robert and Jacqueline Kennedy. As a biographer, it has always been my conviction that sexual (or personal) behavior is integral to a fuller understanding of a person's life, particularly in the case of a public personality. Knowing that Robert and Jackie Kennedy became romantically involved following JFK's death -- and for reasons that this volume attempts to reveal -- sheds a whole new light on who they were and what made them tick. It demonstrates, among other things, that they were motivated by many of the same temptations and emotions that drive the rest of us. It helps us gain a fuller comprehension not only of them but also of ourselves.
Copyright © 2009 by C. David Heymann