Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life

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by Donald Spoto
     
 

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She was America's sweetheart; the embodiment of grace, elegance, style, charm, and-as the world discovered in late 1963-bravery. And though much has been written about the most famous woman of the 20th century, no biography has revealed the true Jackie; none has successfully separated the truth from the lies, or portrayed the Queen of Camelot in all her

Overview

She was America's sweetheart; the embodiment of grace, elegance, style, charm, and-as the world discovered in late 1963-bravery. And though much has been written about the most famous woman of the 20th century, no biography has revealed the true Jackie; none has successfully separated the truth from the lies, or portrayed the Queen of Camelot in all her complexity-until now. With access to Jackie's own writings, the archives of the John F. Kennedy Library, and those who knew her best, bestselling celebrity biographer Donald Spoto illuminates Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and the sixty-five years of her life with candor, compassion and compelling detail. Readers will discover:

* The early years: a privileged but lonely childhood that shaped Jackie's resilience and poise, working as a photojournalist for the Washington Times-Herald, and meeting a handsome congressman named Kennedy * Life as the first lady: dealing with Jack's infidelity, adjusting to life in the spotlight, and her influence on the policies of the Kennedy Administration * Mrs. Onassis: life after Jack, marrying the Greek tycoon, her accomplished career as a book editor, her final days, and much more

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Spoto has taken on Marilyn, Marlene, and Diana (among others), so why not Jackie Kennedy? Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Thomas
Donald Spoto has written a perfect, incisive biography of the first lady…he has helped us to understand and appreciate the very private personality of a woman in a very public life. Spoto's book is invaluable in the absence of the memoirs that Jackie refused to write.
—Helen Thomas, Civil White House Correspondent, United Press International
From the Publisher
"A complete portrait of one of America's most famous women...Page after page reveals hidden details of her life." —Associated Press

"The material is both riveting and heartbreaking...Spoto has written a most readable, clear-eyed account of the life of one of the most scrutinized women in American history." —Portland Oregonian

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780312246501
Publisher:
St. Martin's Press
Publication date:
02/28/2000
Edition description:
REV
Pages:
336
Product dimensions:
6.42(w) x 9.59(h) x 1.25(d)

Read an Excerpt

An Excerpt from Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life

During the summer of 1929, America was dancing on an economic volcano, but East Hampton's summer denizens were blissfully high-stepping the Charleston and the Black Bottom at merry weekend parties. On the oppressively hot and humid Sunday, July 28, Janet Lee Bouvier was driven fifteen miles to the nearest hospital, in Southampton. An hour later, her husband, John Vernou (Jack) Bouvier III, dictated telegrams announcing the birth of a girl they at once named Jacqueline Lee, the two names neatly honoring him and his father as well as the infant's maternal grandfather. The baby, according to doctors' calculations, was a month overdue but arrived easily, serene and healthy. Weighing eight pounds, Jacqueline Lee Bouvier had a dramatic tuft of brunette hair, silken ivory skin and, it was soon determined, velvet-brown eyes....

After the child's birth, the family returned to Grandfather Bouvier's Lasata, where the clan was in residence that summer and where relatives and a platoon of servants scurried about, trying to outdo one another in providing luxuries for mother and child. Janet liked to pronounce her baby's name "Jack-leen," but her husband applied no such affectation: his daughter was "Jackie," and so she was addressed by family and friends throughout her life....

In such splendor, set in a graceful and cultivated hamlet, Janet, Jack and their daughter remained until late autumn 1929 -- and to it they returned during the next decade, not only every summer but also frequently off-season. Lasata and its ambience provided, along with the refinements of Park Avenue, the atmosphere in which Jackie lived until adolescence, when even greater luxuries would surround her.

Meet the Author

Donald Spoto, who earned his Ph.D. degree from Fordham University, is the author of definitive biographies of, among others, Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, Laurence Olivier, Marlene Dietrich, Marilyn Monroe, and Ingrid Bergman. His previous book was The Hidden Jesus: A New Life. He lives in Los Angeles.

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Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the best book about Jackie Kennedy Onassis, I have ever read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis ¿ the Princess of America¿s Camelot. Author Donald Spato presents a detailed biography of the shy and awkward doe eyed brunette from her birth on July 28 1929 into a family of aristocratic wannabes right up to her role as First Lady to one of the most revered President in the history of the United States. Perhaps the most poignant chapter of this book was the author¿s emphasis on the real sorrow and grief experienced by Jackie when her husband, JFK, was shot right before her very eyes. Tears could well up in readers¿ eyes as friends and family recalled how Jackie mourned for her husband, and how years later she would tearfully confess that she ` could not remember Jack¿s voice anymore.¿ Spato has cleverly depicted that JFK was not the faithful and devoted husband and their marriage was not what fairy tales were made of, but that there was a mutual respect and understanding for one another which, in a way, far surpassed any form of love and passion that held a marriage together. The book chronicles Jackie¿s life as a twice widowed, doting mother and distinguished editor with sprinkles of remarks and comments by those who knew and loved her. Thanks to Spato, we are given the assurance that Jackie had lived a full, quiet yet illustrious life and had enjoyed moments with her grandchildren before cancer invaded her health and took her on May 19 1994. Although the prose and flow was rather uneven by the author¿s erratic jumping from one incident to the next and dates and events can be confused by the ingratiating trotting, fans will still enjoy Donald Spato¿s recollection of America¿s sweetheart.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book really dispelled a great deal of the negative and tabloid details which are so commonly used to reference this great woman. I read this book and haven't been as happy about any book in a very long time. Prior to reading this book, I believed that this might be another fluff book about Jackie O. I was so pleasantly surprised to discover that it is a biography that captured what I'm sure was the essence of the woman. I felt like I knew so much about her when I was finished with book. If you have any interest in reading about Jacqueline Onassis, be sure not to miss reading this book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was in a nut shell, wonderful. It makes you wonder how the author knew all of the information and intimate details of her life. The best book about her out there.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I just loved the way Donald Spoto give complete details about Jackie's life. Alot of biographies only discuss a person's adult life,but I was interested in Jackie's whole life.I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a serious yet entertaining book about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Please feel free to e-mail me if you can recommend any more books about Jackie!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Donald Spoto really captured the life of Jackie Onassis and also carried on her legacy in respect for the privacy she had always fought for. I absolutely adored this biography and did not want to put it down but at the same time didn't want it to end. What was most fascinating about Jacqueline was her passion for the arts, different cultures and life. She is such a wonderful role model. This is one of my favorite books and I highly recommend it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Jackie was clearly a legend. I feel that this novel is her true story. I love the way it is organized. Highly recommended.PLEASE E-MAIL ME FOR DISCUSSIONS ON JACKIE!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I liked this book a lot because I learned a lot about the former first lady that I did not know and because it is not a gossipy book like so many written about public figures. I got the impression that the author was trying to be very fair and give the reader as accurate a portrayal as possible of Jackie. I particularly enjoyed reading about her childhood and her years as an editor, something I knew little about. She truly was a unique woman with a lot more depth and substance to her than the tabloids gave her credit for! This book is definitely not for the tabloid crowd, but for a serious reader who wants an honest assessment of the former first lady's life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This account of Jackie's life is by far the most detailed yet. It is written in such a way that you feel the emotions along with her. I could not put it down!