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by Peter Evans

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Peter Evans's biography of Aristotle Onassis, Ari, metwith great acclaim when it was published in 1986. Ariprovided the world with an unprecedented glimpse of theGreek shipping magnate's orbit of dizzying wealth, twistedintrigues, and questionable mores. Not long after the bookappeared, however, Onassis's daughter Christina and hislongtime business partner


Peter Evans's biography of Aristotle Onassis, Ari, metwith great acclaim when it was published in 1986. Ariprovided the world with an unprecedented glimpse of theGreek shipping magnate's orbit of dizzying wealth, twistedintrigues, and questionable mores. Not long after the bookappeared, however, Onassis's daughter Christina and hislongtime business partner Yannis Georgakis hinted toEvans that he had missed the "real story" -- one that provedOnassis's intrigues had deadly results. "I must begin,"Georgakis said, "with the premise that, for Onassis, BobbyKennedy was unfinished business from way back..."

His words launched Evans into the heart of a story thattightly bound Onassis not to Jackie's first husband, but tohis ambitious younger brother Bobby. A bitter rivalryemerged between Bobby and Ari long before Onassis andJackie had even met. Nemesis reveals the tangled thread ofevents that linked two of the world's most powerful men intheir intense hatred for one another and uncovers thesurprising role played by the woman they both loved. Theirpower struggle unfolds against a heady backdrop ofinternational intrigue: Bobby Kennedy's discovery of theGreek shipping magnate's shady dealings, which led him tobar Onassis from trade with the United States; Onassis'sattempt to control much of Saudi Arabia's oil; Onassis'suntimely love affair with Jackie's married sister LeeRadziwill; and his bold invitation to First Lady Jackie tojoin him on his yacht -- without the president. Just as theself-made Greek tycoon gloried in the chance to stir thewrath of the Kennedys, they struggled unsuccessfully tobreak his spell over the woman who held the key to all oftheir futures. After Jack's death, Bobby became ever closerto Camelot's holy widow, and fought to keep her frommarrying his sworn rival. But Onassis rarely failed to getwhat he wanted, and Jackie became his wife shortly afterBobby was killed.

Through extensive interviews with the closest friends,lovers, and relatives of Onassis and the Kennedys, longtimejournalist Evans has uncovered the shocking culmination ofthe Kennedy-Onassis-Kennedy love triangle: AristotleOnassis was at the heart of the plot to kill Bobby Kennedy.Meticulously tracing Onassis's connections in the world ofterrorism, Nemesis presents compelling evidence that hefinanced the assassination -- including a startling confessionthat has gone unreported for nearly three decades. Alongthe way, this groundbreaking work also daringly paintsthese international icons in all of their true colors. FromEvans's deeply nuanced portraits of the charismatic Greekshipping magnate and his acquisitive iconic bride to hisprobing and revelatory look into the events that shaped anera, Nemesis is a work that will not be soon forgotten.

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The True Story of Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought Down the Kennedys
By Evans, Peter


ISBN: 0060580534

Chapter One

The Blood Trade

Were one to ask me in which direction
I think man strongest,
I should say, his capacity to hate.

-H. W. Beecher, 1813-1884

Robert Kennedy and Aristotle Onassis met for the first time at a cocktail party given by the English socialite Pamela Churchill* at the Plaza Hotel in New York City in the spring of 1953 -- the year Jacqueline Lee Bouvier married John F. Kennedy.

Pamela Churchill was a shrewd networker long before the term had been invented, and her guest list had been drawn from the elite of the American establishment and the world's richest people. Daughter of an English baron, and the former wife of Randolph Churchill -- the drunk-ard son of the British prime minister -- Pamela, who would become the model for the elegant tramp Lady ma Coolbirth in Truman Capote's Answered Prayers, knew the great and near great of five continents. It was said that for legendary amounts of money, she had slept with many of them.

She had known Bobby since 1938, when his father, Joseph P. Kennedy, was the American ambassador to England. She and Bobby's older sister Kathleen were debutantes together in the last London season before the start of World War II, and had remained friends until Kathleen's death in a plane crash in 1948.

Onassis was not such an old friend. Since Pamela's ex-husband Randolph had introduced them in the South of France several months earlier, however -- an introduction that Onassis said had cost him £2,000 (some £40,000 in today's currency) -- the Greek shipping millionaire had become a close one (her lover, he said; not so, she protested, although her veracity in such matters was as questionable as Onassis's). Onassis was far too earthy for her tastes, Pamela told friends. An unmistakeable arriviste, he possessed a volatile temper, especially when he'd had too much to drink, and his habit of smashing plates and making scenes in restaurants offended her English sensibilities.

Although Onassis was attracted to Pamela's world, and knew he would be accepted more easily if he adopted the elegant dress, language, and manners of their class -- much as his brother-in-law, Stavros Niarchos had done -- he refused. "I won't play the hypocrite for anyone," he told his young, English-educated wife Tina, daughter of the 1930s shipping king Stavros Livanos, when she tried to break him out of his Greek chrysalis and repackage him as an English toff.

Nevertheless, Pamela Churchill was a practical woman, and it was clear that her interest in Onassis had been rekindled -- and her sense of tolerance restored -- by the news that he had just bought the principality of Monaco. More precisely, hiding behind a maze of Panamanian fronts, he had acquired SBM, a moribund property company that owned an Edwardian pile of real estate in Monte Carlo, including the casino, the yacht club, the Hotel de Paris, and about one third of the principality's 375 acres.

Situated between the oil fields of the Middle East and the markets of Europe and North America, Monte Carlo was a perfect base for Onassis's operations. The climate pleased him, the social life met with Tina's approval, and the principality was tax free.

Overnight, Onassis had become famous; suddenly, everything he did was news. His wealth, as well as the hints of something undisclosed about his past, made wonderful copy. More than just another rich Greek, this small, dark, sybaritic figure with sensual heavy-lidded eyes was recognized in the street. Women began to proposition him as if he were a movie star; he took to wearing dark glasses and engaged a public relations man. Reporters dubbed him the "king of Monaco" (a tabloid ennoblement that did not go down well with Rainier, the prince of Monaco). He gave interviews on how to handle women: "I approach every woman as a potential mistress," he said. "Beautiful women cannot bear moderation; they need an inexhaustible supply of excess."

But his love affair with the media was not entirely motivated by ego. His cultivated image as a mysterious but magnanimous rags-to-riches tycoon also "sanctioned his sharp deals," in the words of one American aide.' And no deal had been sharper than his acquisition, five years earlier, often U.S. surplus T2 tankers. Because of their size and strategic significance, the ships had been forbidden to foreigners, but at $1.5 million each, they had been an irresistible purchase for Onassis, and with the help of a U.S. corporation fronted by three American citizens, he easily circumvented the exclusion clause and bought them.

Robert Kennedy also became front-page news for the first time in 1953. And if the 1950s were not to be his glory years, as they were for Onassis, they were unquestionably heady ones.

Small and more Irish and intense than his brothers, with a psychology coiled tightly as a spring, after graduating from the University of Virginia Law School in 1951 Kennedy took a job in the Criminal Division of the Department of Justice. Assigned to menial legwork on tax-fraud cases in a district office in Brooklyn, he quit after only a few months to work on his older brother Jack's senatorial campaign. After Jack was elected in 1952, though, twenty-seven-year-old Bobby felt stranded, a lawyer with no courtroom experience and no certain way to turn. His father suggested that he join Senator Joseph McCarthy's Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, an offshoot of a low-profile committee on government operations, which McCarthy had turned into a power base for his notorious communist witch-hunt.

Although not yet his own ism, McCarthy was already notorious and dangerous. No politician of the age, said the writer Richard Rovere, had "surer, swifter access to the dark places of the American mind. "5 Although he had never been able to prove his charge that 205 Communists had infiltrated the State Department, McCarthy continued to use...


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Meet the Author

Peter Evans, an award-winning former journalist and foreign correspondent, is the author of ten books, including Ari, Goodbye Baby and Amen, and the bestselling novel The Englishman's Daughter. He lives in London with his wife.

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Nemesis: Aristotle Onassis, Jackie O, and the Love Triangle That Brought Down the Kennedys 3.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 7 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was one of the most vile books I've read in years. I believe that the author has his material verified as there were more footnotes here (almost a book by itself). Not only does it discuss Onassis' duplicity in many areas, it is not hard to believe that he was involved the the RFK assassination. But the revelations about Jackie were astonishing. I always felt she married both JFK and Onassis for selfish reasons and this seems to prove it out. As to the ruthlessness of RFK, that's probably true because he learned from the master, his father. As to everyone sleeping around, they certainly all felt entitled and didn't care who they slept with - the Kennedy men learned that from "Old Joe" as well since he always flaunted some woman in front of Rose. They all prove you can do anything you want as long as you have the money and the power. A truly useless and degrading way of life and a tragic end for most of those who have lived this way. The book kept me interested until the end but I would warn anyone who chooses to buy it or read it to beware - it is appalling!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Well researched account of the courtship and marriage of Jackie and Ari, and the link between Onassis and the assassination of Bobby Kennedy. The myth of the demure and virtuous Jackie is put solidly to rest. Sexual flings bordering on the incestuous, adultery, money grabbing, suspicious deaths...this book has it all. Well written and sourced, definitely worth reading.
Guest More than 1 year ago believe or not to believe, that is the question. If you like to read a bunch of hearsay (mostly from dead people) about the Kennedy and Onassis families, this is the book for you. Additionally, I was thoroughly unimpressed with the author's attempt to justify his writing with a plethora of footnotes. Alas, it was not my pick for book club this month so I was obligated to do my best to finish.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is an interesting book to read. I read it a few years ago. Recently I read America's Queen and then re-read Nemesis. I found many conflicting *facts* compared to that and other books and an ambiguous ending. There is just too much hearsay that you are asked to believe.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago