Diana & Jackie: Maidens, Mothers, Myths

Diana & Jackie: Maidens, Mothers, Myths

by Jay Mulvaney
     
 

History has seen only a few women so magical, so evanescent, that they captured the spirit and imagination of their times. Diana, Princess of Wales and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were two of these rare creatures. They were the most famous women of the twentieth century ~ admired, respected, even adored at times; rebuked, mocked and reviled at others. Separated

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Overview

History has seen only a few women so magical, so evanescent, that they captured the spirit and imagination of their times. Diana, Princess of Wales and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis were two of these rare creatures. They were the most famous women of the twentieth century ~ admired, respected, even adored at times; rebuked, mocked and reviled at others. Separated by nationality and a generation apart, they led two surprisingly similar lives.

Both were the daughters of acrimonious divorce. Both wed men twelve years their senior, men who needed "trophy brides" to advance their careers. Both married into powerful and domineering families, who tried, unsuccessfully, to tame their willful independence. Both inherited power through marriage and both rebelled within their official roles, forever crushing the archetype. And both revolutionized dynasties.

And yet in many ways they were completely different: Jackie lived her life with an English "stiff upper lip" ~ never complaining, never explaining in the face of immense public curiosity. Diana lived her life with an American "quivering lower lip" ~ with televised tell-alls, exposing her family drama to a world eager for every detail.

These two lives have been well documented but never before compared. And never before examined in the context of their times. Jay Mulvaney, author of Kennedy Weddings and Jackie: The Clothes of Camelot, probes the lives of these two twentieth century icons and discovers:

The nature of their personalities forged from the cradle by their relationships with their fathers, Black Jack Bouvier and Johnny Spencer.
·Their early years, and their early relationships with men.
·Their marriages, and the truth behind the lies, the betrayals and the arrangements.
·Their greatest achievements: motherhood.
·Their prickly relationships with their august mothers-in-law, Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy and Queen Elizabeth II
· Their lives as single women, working mothers.
· Their roles as icons and archetypes.

Graced with never before seen photographs from many private collections, and painstakingly researched, 0Diana and Jackie presents these two remarkable and unique women as they have never been seen before.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"I never noticed the extraordinary parallels between their front-page-famous lives until now. I so enjoyed reading this book." --Dominick Dunne

Publishers Weekly
Eight years after Jackie Onassis's death and a mere five after Princess Diana's, Mulvaney gives the millions of strangers who mourned their passing a reason to rejoice: he's taken the familiar and favorite stories that have been rehashed by countless journalists and biographers, cast them in a new light and come up with a book that's irresistibly readable. The twist: it's not just another biography, it's a compare-and-contrast study of the two style-and-glamour icons of the second half of the 20th century. Mulvaney highlights the similarities in their poor-little-rich-girl-childhoods and their troubled marriages to powerful, repressed men (both of whom, Mulvaney says, had conflicted relationships with distant, frigid mothers). He explores their Mediterranean phases Jackie's with Ari, Diana's with Dodi their influence on popular culture and their success in providing their privileged children with the opportunity to experience some semblance of normalcy. Both became expert media manipulators, but as Mulvaney reminds us, Jackie resented their intrusiveness while the deeply insecure Diana craved and thrived on the attention. Perhaps, Mulvaney writes, it was because Jackie, long adored by her father, had a stronger sense of self than Diana, who went without a name for the first week of her life, so badly had her parents wanted a son. The author of Jackie: The Clothes of Camelot and coauthor of Kennedy Weddings, Mulvaney is part melodramatic gossip hound (Diana's death was "like a comet racing across the sky"), part pop psychologist (JFK was "a little boy lost"; Diana the classic "underdog as overachiever"). He's got a knack for weaving a tale, and material that could have been tired and stale instead gets a fresh new perspective. 16 pages of b&w photos not seen by PW. (Aug.) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Comparison of two 20th-century "supernovas" whose extraordinary appeal to the public has continued into the 21st-as witness this book. Mulvaney (Jackie: The Clothes of Camelot, not reviewed) unearths no skeletons here, unless you count Jackie's possible employment by the CIA after college. He strives instead to find meaningful similarities between two women who came to fame 20 years apart. Jacqueline Bouvier and Diana Spencer were both shaped in childhood by their parents' scandalous divorces, both married older men and, although pushed to prominence by their husbands' roles, faced down domineering in-laws to emerge as worthy in their own right. Mulvaney also discusses telling differences between the two. Jackie came from a generation that kept personal matters private; she was also well educated and intellectually curious. Diana moved to the fore in an era of increasingly aggressive celebrity journalism when no secrets were safe, even in the royal family. Moreover, she had little education and was more interested in feelings than ideas, a characteristic that, according to Mulvaney, endeared her to the British public as she blurted truths about her bulimia, marital difficulties, and the conflicts of fame. Jackie gets credit for raising the awareness of the American public about art and history, as well as demonstrating how to soldier on in the face of tragedy. Chapters are organized to carry the ladies more or less alternately from girlhood to death, interspersed with discussions of their husbands, parents, and in-laws. There's a good deal of amateur psychoanalysis, including such speculative statements as "[Prince] Charles and Jack [Kennedy] shared . . . a deep-seated fear ofabandonment." Nevertheless, Mulvaney succeeds in giving both women a dimension that less clearly admiring biographical studies often miss. A satisfying buffet, if not a feast, for aficionados, with minor new contributions to Jackie/Diana lore. (b&w photos, not seen.)

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312282042
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
08/28/2002
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
5.84(w) x 10.48(h) x 1.23(d)

What People are saying about this

Dominick Dunne
I never noticed the extraordinary parallels between their front-page-famous lives until now. I so enjoyed reading this book.

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