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Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy
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Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy

3.3 181
by Caroline Kennedy (Foreword by), Michael Beschloss (Introduction)
To mark John F. Kennedy's centennial, celebrate the life and legacy of the 35th President of the United States.

In 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy recorded seven historic interviews about her life with John F. Kennedy. Now, for the first time, they can be read in this deluxe, illustrated eBook.
Shortly after President John F. Kennedy's


To mark John F. Kennedy's centennial, celebrate the life and legacy of the 35th President of the United States.

In 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy recorded seven historic interviews about her life with John F. Kennedy. Now, for the first time, they can be read in this deluxe, illustrated eBook.
Shortly after President John F. Kennedy's assassination, with a nation deep in mourning and the world looking on in stunned disbelief, Jacqueline Kennedy found the strength to set aside her own personal grief for the sake of posterity and begin the task of documenting and preserving her husband's legacy. In January of 1964, she and Robert F. Kennedy approved a planned oral-history project that would capture their first-hand accounts of the late President as well as the recollections of those closest to him throughout his extraordinary political career. For the rest of her life, the famously private Jacqueline Kennedy steadfastly refused to discuss her memories of those years, but beginning that March, she fulfilled her obligation to future generations of Americans by sitting down with historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., and recording an astonishingly detailed and unvarnished account of her experiences and impressions as the wife and confidante of John F. Kennedy. The tapes of those sessions were then sealed and later deposited in the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum upon its completion, in accordance with Mrs. Kennedy's wishes.

The resulting eight and a half hours of material comprises a unique and compelling record of a tumultuous era, providing fresh insights on the many significant people and events that shaped JFK's presidency but also shedding new light on the man behind the momentous decisions. Here are JFK's unscripted opinions on a host of revealing subjects, including his thoughts and feelings about his brothers Robert and Ted, and his take on world leaders past and present, giving us perhaps the most informed, genuine, and immediate portrait of John Fitzgerald Kennedy we shall ever have. Mrs. Kennedy's urbane perspective, her candor, and her flashes of wit also give us our clearest glimpse into the active mind of a remarkable First Lady.

In conjunction with the fiftieth anniversary of President Kennedy's Inauguration, Caroline Kennedy and the Kennedy family are now releasing these beautifully restored recordings on CDs with accompanying transcripts. Introduced and annotated by renowned presidential historian Michael Beschloss, these interviews will add an exciting new dimension to our understanding and appreciation of President Kennedy and his time and make the past come alive through the words and voice of an eloquent eyewitness to history.

Editorial Reviews

Kirkus Reviews
The late Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis speaks candidly about life in Camelot. Just before publication of this collection of interviews with journalist/historian Arthur Schlesinger, conducted in 1964, a few leaked bits of conversation revealed that Jacqueline was content to leave the politics to her husband. This led to Kennedy's being lambasted as a lightweight at best, a betrayer of feminism at worst. The interviews, gathered in transcribed form with elegant introductions by first daughter Caroline Kennedy and historian Michael Beschloss, indicate that she was anything but a lightweight, even if, as Beschloss wryly notes, "well-bred young women of Jacqueline's generation were not encouraged to sound like intellectuals." Jackie preceded the generation of feminists that would soon arise (and then became a role model, speaking frankly in Ms. and other movement publications). But the real defense comes through her words here, gathered only a few months after JFK's assassination. They reveal a nimble if worried mind. Personally, JFK wasn't the easiest man to live with, due in part to the sour stomach born of nerves and "those awful years campaigning…living on a milkshake and a hot dog," as well as the terrible general health that he bore stoically in public but that caused him private agony. Jackie is shrewd in her assessments about people: Stewart Udall rose to head the Interior Department, she notes, because he delivered Arizona to JFK in the 1960 election--but then emerged as a real leader. She also provides on-the-spot commentary about unfolding world events, such as the ever-more-urgent specter of Vietnam and a divided Germany (the only ambassadors JFK "really disliked" were those from Germany and Pakistan). All politics is local--and personal. These interviews are invaluable in providing a fly-on-the-wall view of life in the Kennedy White House--and there has never been so intimate a view from a First Lady's perspective.

Product Details

Hachette Books
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.60(w) x 9.90(h) x 1.80(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

In 1964, as part of an oral history project on the life and career of John F. Kennedy, my mother sat down with Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., to share her memories and insights. Recorded less than four months after the death of her husband, they represent a gift to history and a labor of love on her part. In order to treat them with the appropriate respect, my children and I took very seriously the decision to publish them now, in connection with the fiftieth anniversary of my father's presidency. The moment seems right—enough time has passed so that they can be appreciated for their unique insight, yet the Kennedy presidency is still within living memory for many who will find her observations illuminating. I hope too that younger generations who are just learning about the 1960s will find these reminiscences a useful introduction to how history is made, and will be inspired to give back to this country that has given us all so much.

Given the important role Jacqueline Kennedy played in the presidency of John F. Kennedy and its aftermath, it seemed a disservice to let her perspective remain absent from the public and scholarly debate that would accompany the fiftieth anniversary of the Kennedy administration. Fifty years seems a sufficient time for passions to have cooled, yet recent enough that the world described still has much to teach us. The sense of time passing was made more acute by the loss of my uncle Teddy and my aunt Eunice in 2009, by Ted Sorensen in 2010, and my uncle Sarge in January 2011.

But, before making the final decision, I asked my children to read the transcripts and tell me what they thought. Their reactions were not so different from my own. They found the conversations dated in many ways—but fascinating in many more. They loved the stories about their grandfather, and how insightful yet irreverent their grandmother was. They were puzzled by some of Arthur Schlesinger's questions—personal rivalries he pursued and particular issues that have not stood the test of time. They wished that he had asked more questions about her.

But they came away with the same conclusions that I had reached—there was no significant reason to put off publication and no one speaks better for my mother than she does herself.

Excerpted from the Hyperion book, JACQUELINE KENNEDY: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy. Copyright © 2011 Caroline Kennedy, John Schlossberg, Rose Schlossberg and Tatiana Schlossberg. All rights reserved. Available wherever books are sold.


Meet the Author

Caroline Kennedy is the editor of the New York Times bestselling A Patriot's Handbook, Profiles in Courage for Our Time, The Best-Loved Poems of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, A Family of Poems, A Family Christmas, and the coauthor of The Right to Privacy and In Our Defense: The Bill of Rights in Action. She serves as the Vice Chair of the Fund for Public Schools in New York City and President of the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation. She lives in New York City.

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Jacqueline Kennedy 3.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 181 reviews.
BarbaraRichards More than 1 year ago
Much has been said about the life of Jacqueline Kennedy, but never has the words been this revealing and this intimate. For the last couple of days, I have found myself totally absorbed into this book fascinated by Mrs. Kennedy and in turn, I feel like I have learned so much more about her, husband President John F. Kennedy and the world, including the people around them. While I won't spoil some of the surprises for you, my mouth fell open when I read what she wrote about Martin Luther King Jr. Her words during the Cuban Missile Crisis were amazing. But, what shocked me even more was how people around her felt about Lyndon Johnson. I applaud Caroline Kennedy for being brave enough to share such personal and intimate details about her family. If you ever wanted an intimate look at the world of Camelot, then look no further. This is it and I highly recommend it. As an avid reader, I love all genres, but there is another book that I'd like to recommend worth reading, it's called "When God Stopped Keeping Score" and it's on sale here on BN. It's a great book and proceeds from its sale goes to support women and children based charities, like the National Breast Cancer Research Center, Women Against Abuse and the Make A Wish Foundation.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
For everyone who can't get this nook book to work, it only works on the Nook Color! If you look where it says: Read exclusively on these devices & apps: NOOK Color. That means you can't read it on the iPad, iPad 2, NOOK, etc......
tickedSA More than 1 year ago
OMG,do not purchase the nook book. Video works, but audio options are minimal. You can pause but it will not resume where you left off. And if you try to forward it, it starts over at the beginning. Don't sit down to listen to it unless you know you won't have to pause it. It also randomly stops at times, which means you have to start over AGAIN. Nook CS is ridiculous. I am demanding a refund.
GaryW8864 More than 1 year ago
I really wished this would work on the Nook. Why is it for sale if it doesn't work as advertised? I'l be seeking a refund and hoping the customer service is better than the marketing.
Clarissa Samples More than 1 year ago
I ordered this book the first day it was released and it would be great, if only I could watch the video and listen to the audio! This needs to be fixed!
mmOK More than 1 year ago
Neither video nor audio work. Last night, Customer Service told me this is their FIRST complaint. He's "reporting the problem to the publisher." Had me archive the book and said to "check back in 10 business days." Don't think so.
Cindy Thrailkill More than 1 year ago
Audio does not work!
lilac_spring More than 1 year ago
This Enhanced Edition is my favorite NOOK Book so far - an absolute joy to read, watch, and listen to! Many thanks to Caroline and the rest of the Kennedy family for giving us such an intimate glimpse into the life of this incredibly fascinating woman. For those who are having trouble playing the video/audio in the book, try following these steps to correct the problem: 1. Turn off your NOOK Color completely by pressing and holding down the power button for about 3-5 seconds. 2. Tap Power Off. 3. After one minute, turn your NOOK Color on. 4. On the Home Page, go to Library and tap the sync button located in the lower left corner of the screen.
kim mcgirt More than 1 year ago
I can't get it to allow me to listen and read along. Kim
Coot More than 1 year ago
you have to turn on your animated page turns in order for the video to work. Lets read all of the directions, ppl. I got mine to work after a few minutes. but that is becuz i read the directions. nicely done BnN
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
If you purchase this ebook and get the videos and audio to run, you need to be aware that you cannot read the transcript as you listen to the audio. You can do one or the other but not both at the same time. That really bites!
Diane Kalka More than 1 year ago
Format: Nookbook! Bought this nookbook last night and still haven't been able to download it on to my ebook. Your better off buying the book!
Kathryn Rahal More than 1 year ago
I am enjoying it on my Nook color. Whoever decided on the price was a genious. In my opinion all digital books should never be more than $9.99. I think this is a smart marketing move...publishers & authors would sell more books in the long run.
Kelley Jent More than 1 year ago
Apparently im not the only one who thinks its rediculous that it wont play the audio or video! Looked forward to this for some time now. Now im just irritated. Customer service isnt much help either. Their answer was to refund my money. Well how about the book just works like it should. If u make it and market it for audio and video then it should work!
KennyDee More than 1 year ago
The video and sound are a window into a magical time. The only let down is the inability to read the transcript and listen to the interview at the same time, but to be honest, the overview states listen to, or read the interview so this is nothing I didn't know. Other purchasers of this book listed problems like the nook freezing, and sound and video not playing. I've not suffered from any of these.
Barb Pile More than 1 year ago
Looked forward to this book and extras...do I need special app to make it work?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
So much has been written about Jacqueline Kennedy and yet she still remains a mystery. The audio CD portion of this book is simply amazing. Listening to Jackie describe the politics of the day in her own voice is fascinating. Historically it definitely slants to her viewpoint but I think it makes it all the more interesting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I bought the enhanced version and thought that I would hear some of her conversations. But that's not the case and reading the transcribed conversations is difficult - tedious. I love the Kennedy family but this was a waste of money and time. So disappointed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I get good books this is one of them extact details and you can hear her voice.The only dissappointment to me is they use like 80 pages on notes.The good thing it is easy to understand altough I am a kid take my advice.
Grammy513 More than 1 year ago
The book itself is great, but I was disappointed that the actual audio files are in transcript form only. If you want to actually hear Jacqueline during the interview, don't buy this version.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I recommend you read up on the events during Kennedy's adminstration and the people that worked for him before attempting this book/audio. It's more like random thoughts in response to Schlesinger's interview questions and it's mostly her thoughts on the people that worked for Kennedy rather than the events of the time. I had a very hard time following it. The video and audio worked fine on my NookColor, but I preferred to read the text. I'm just not a "books on tape" reader.
mlnh More than 1 year ago
In many cases, Mrs. Kennedy is being prompted with answers, so it's not always clear whether she's saying what she really thought. From time to time she makes an unguarded remark, but they are often personal rather than historical. I loved hearing her talk, I've always admired her despite negative publicity about her later marriage. But I'm not sure this is the real Jackie. It's a very long listen. I would love to hear the Manchester interviews... too bad they won't be released in my lifetime.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this book to be so interesting because it covers a range of topics (from JFK's back problems, to MLK) all from the viewpoint of Jackie herself. I walked away with a lot of insight into her world at the White House and before. A great read for any history buff or those interested in JFK. (The footnotes were also very insightful!)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It's kind of interesting that Jackie really isn't able to fully explain her thoughts. She doesn't seem to be able to fully flesh out what she's thinking in a complete way. She seems to question the interviewer quite often to confirm what year it was, or where they were. She comes across as being ill prepared for the interviews. She didn't refer to any of her notes or other items that could have refreshed her memory so that when she was asked questions, she would have answers that made her sound more intelligent. If she was doing this to preserve an oral history, I don't think she did that great of a job with it. It's interesting to hear her speak and get her impressions, but it just seems like she's not giving the detail you'd think she'd give, knowing that she agreed to give an oral history.
brathjens More than 1 year ago
I almost didn't purchase this due to some of the strange reviews about it "not working" on the Nook. Sure it was the most expensive book I have ever bought on my Nook but it was sooooo worth it! Listening to the audio was purely awesome. Hearing the inflections in Jackie's voice, listening to things from her point of view, fantastic. You have to keep in context that this woman rarely if ever gave an interview. This was her interview. I was able to view the videos and listen to the audio mostly without issue. A few times it took awhile for it to play but it was only because the audio files were so large. Patience is your friend. Also, it does not appear that you can read the transcripts along with the audio which was a bit disappointing but not a deal breaker. LOVED IT.