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Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation
     

Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation

4.1 19
by Ellen Fitzpatrick
 

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“A terrific, original, and important work….Fitzpatrick provides a stunningly fresh look at the impact of JFK’s assassination on the American people.”
—Doris Kearns Goodwin

For Letters to Jackie, noted historian and News Hour with Jim Lehrer commentator Ellen Fitzpatrick combed through literally thousands of condolence

Overview

“A terrific, original, and important work….Fitzpatrick provides a stunningly fresh look at the impact of JFK’s assassination on the American people.”
—Doris Kearns Goodwin

For Letters to Jackie, noted historian and News Hour with Jim Lehrer commentator Ellen Fitzpatrick combed through literally thousands of condolence messages sent by ordinary Americans to Jacqueline Kennedy following the assassination of her husband, President John F. Kennedy, in 1963. The first book ever to examine this extraordinary collection, Letters to Jackie presents 250 intimate, heartfelt, eye-opening responses to what was arguably the most devastating event in twentieth century America, providing a fascinating perspective on a singular time in the history of our nation.

Editorial Reviews

Doris Kearns Goodwin
“This is a terrific, original, and important work, the perfect match between subject and author. With an historian’s grasp of time and place and a novelist’s feel for drama and detail, Fitzpatrick provides a stunningly fresh look at the impact of JFK’s assassination on the American people.”
Alan Brinkley
“Ellen Fitzpatrick’s wonderful book — which is both a perceptive history of the public response to John Kennedy’s death and a selection of the millions of letters that followed the assassination — is a remarkable window into the character of the nation in the 1960s.”
Publishers Weekly
The national struggle to make sense of President Kennedy's assassination included an outpouring of mail sent to Kennedy's much-loved widow, Jacqueline, some 800,000 letters, which had been in storage until professor and author Fitzpatrick (History's Memory: Writing America's Past) took on the Herculean task of curating them. Here, she attempts to create a meaningful narrative out of the nation's massive record of grief-a real anomaly in a time when writing to public figures was frowned upon-by examining different groups (widows, African Americans, children) and examining the impact Kennedy made on every American, regardless of politics, which lead ultimately to his legend. Despite its power and significance, the material is repetitive and may overwhelm; those with the patience to wade through, however, will be rewarded with a you-are-there feel for this turning point in history.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780061969829
Publisher:
HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
09/13/2011
Pages:
384
Sales rank:
726,790
Product dimensions:
5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.00(d)

What People are Saying About This

Doris Kearns Goodwin
“This is a terrific, original, and important work, the perfect match between subject and author. With an historian’s grasp of time and place and a novelist’s feel for drama and detail, Fitzpatrick provides a stunningly fresh look at the impact of JFK’s assassination on the American people.”
Alan Brinkley
“Ellen Fitzpatrick’s wonderful book — which is both a perceptive history of the public response to John Kennedy’s death and a selection of the millions of letters that followed the assassination — is a remarkable window into the character of the nation in the 1960s.”

Meet the Author

Ellen Fitzpatrick, a professor and scholar specializing in modern American political and intellectual history, is the author and editor of six books. The Carpenter Professor of History at the University of New Hampshire, where she has been recognized for Excellence in Public Service, Fitzpatrick lives in Newton, Massachusetts.

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Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 20 reviews.
mistykay More than 1 year ago
This is such an emotionally draining book, but at the same time, it reminds one what is good and what is remarkable about America and Americans. It is historical. I especially found the "first account" letters fascinating from the military people who were part of the funeral procession, as well as the letter from President Garfield's grandson - his family, of course, having first hand experience with assassination. Thank you, Professor Fitzpatrick for this wonderful and important book!
etheljoleen More than 1 year ago
Letters to Jackie is a book that will surprise many readers for many personal reasons. Most people do not realize how many Americans took the time to write a condolence letter to the First Lady. Politically, not every letter was written by people that agreed with JFK's politics, but the humanness of the loss was overwhelming and people ignored their politics. It's an important book for younger readers as well as it fills in large gaps of history that many have never encountered in school. They will experience through these letters a sense of hope and love for this man as a humanitarian. JFK affected ALL Americans in a profound manner- poor and rich, young and old. You will see this vividly when reading the letters' outpouring.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The author was right when it was said that anyone alive at that time would never forget where they were and what they were doing when they heard that JFK had been murdered.
shemchin More than 1 year ago
I received this book as part of the early reviewers program from Goodreads.com. I couldn't wait to read it as I remember what I was doing and where I was when this event happened. I was effected by this tragic time in our history as many others were. As I read the letters I was once again transported back to that time when so many of us cried as our televisions were on and we could not stop watching the events unfold right in front of us. The letters reflect many different things about that time in history. One letter that I was amazed at is on page 107 and was written by "A Negro Who beleave In God" and in part it reads "In the next Forty to Forty-Five Year A Negro from Louisiana will be come President of United States of American" - he got the state wrong but the rest is true. This book really tells how far we have come in improving our great nation. I would definitely recommend this book as a must read.
LynGNH More than 1 year ago
This may be one of the most important books for this era. The book transcends all generations. Baby boomers will be reminded how a nation united under tragedy. The younger generation will fully understand what the death of JFK meant to the nation, young, old, educated, uneducated, rich and poor. MS. Fitzpatrick has done a fantastic job of bridging the generational gap. The reader will also come away with the disturbing knowledge that we now have destroyed the English language with our wonderful technology. When a convicted felon's letter reads like exquisite poetry, it makes one wonder. To read one letter draws you into the next and the next. I loved it. I also wonder, if this incident had occurred now, would the nation take the time to write letters of condolence to a First Lady? How do you "text" a condolence letter? Would anyone bother to "write" a letter. Lyn Roberts
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book is somewhat boring. I am having trouble finishing it as it drags on and on with the same expressions of sympathy being extended over and over at a time in our history when every single American was having pretty much the same feelings. The letters are printed just as Mrs. Kennedy recieved them and a chapter of bad letters are pretty hard to read with misspellings and bad grammer.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Paige Goodwin More than 1 year ago
This book is by far one of the most amazing and emotional of its kind. Not only does it have countless letters of grief and inspiration, but also wonderful historical narrations of the tragic event by the author. The letters are presented with a remarkable flow. Enjoyable for any history buff!
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LWinLA More than 1 year ago
I am transported back in time as I read this thoughtfully edited volume. The events in my past are coming to life, as I read others' outpouring of heartfelt feelings following President Kennedy's assassination. I am both savoring the work, and taking in my fill of sadness a few hours at a time, as I read this very worthwhile purchase.
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WendySiera More than 1 year ago
When Kennedy died, the myth of Camelot came to an end. We who were children during his presidency remember those years as a fairty-tale time, and the day he died as a singular tragedy that shook our entire worldview. It's a real awakening to be brought back so vividly right into that time, those feelings and those emotions of childhood, but now as an adult reader with adult sensibilities. Whatever one's current politics and historical view of Kennedy's presidency, he was nonetheless, in his day, a tremendously powerful mythological figure who symbolized for the entire world the very deepest stirrings of the American Dream. The power of that myth is something we did not see again on the world's stage until the day Obama was elected. This is not about politics. It's about dreams and their power. This book of unmediated letters speaks directly to that dream and the highest transcendence of that power. As such, it is a superb sociological document, and a thrilling and tearful encounter with the past. The author undertakes to fill in the background, selecting and organizing the material with commentary for those who were not there. This effort is moderately successful, but the real fascination lies within the letters themselves. Overall, a very worthwhile read, and a truly commendable project. One only regrets that it comes to an end with just 250 or so of the 1.5 million letters originally written.
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