Historic Conversations on Life With John F. Kennedy

Historic Conversations on Life With John F. Kennedy

Interviews With Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr., 1964

Book - 2011
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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.
Publisher: New York : Hyperion, c2011.
Edition: 1st ed.
ISBN: 9781401324254
1401324258
Branch Call Number: 973.922 Onassis 09/2011
Characteristics: xxxii, 368 p. :,ill. ;,25 cm. +,8 sound discs (digital ; 4 3/4 in.)

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MadReads Dec 02, 2011

I thought the interviews would give me an inside glimpse at one of America's most well-known presidents and the Kennedy family. However, in reality, most of the conversations centered around Jackie's mostly negative opinions of, well, everybody. She does not mince words. From Mrs. Nixon (bitter ... Read More »


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hmcgivney
Dec 04, 2012

This is such a valuable recording! It was several informal conversations that Jackie Kennedy had with historian Arthur Schlesinger about JFK. They took place in her living room, about four months after the assassination, and one can hear them smoking and the ice clinking in their glasses. Most of the conversations were about JFK's political career, and some parts were more interesting than others (I don't really care about diplomatic relations with France, but I loved hearing about the Cuban Missile Crisis and how Jackie refused to leave, saying that if they were all going to die, she wanted to do it as a family). The most interesting things were Jackie's ideas about what a wife should be, her restoration of the White House, and the personal details about Jack (ex. he was an Anglophile who could read a book a day and loved historical objects).

h
HopeButterfly
Jun 27, 2012

Good book. Was surprised at Mrs. Kennedy's negativity towards some powerful people. Surprised is an understatement.

loonylovesgood Mar 29, 2012

Fascinating to read, but also kind of hard to follow the transcripted dialogue. It was also ruined for me after the book about all of JFK's affairs came out. Poor Jackie Kennedy....

imperial Dec 23, 2011

I checked this out for the cd's of Jackie.They were not included either.

d
DASTardlyGal
Dec 02, 2011

I always knew that Jackie Onassis was an elitist snob who was mad that people copied her style, and listening to this just cinched it for me. She doesn't like anybody, it seems, and supposedly, Jack did. The way I see it, Jackie Onassis is one of those women who absolutely hated their husbands when they were alive, and then when they died suddenly, they became a SAINT and everything they said or did suddenly becomes golden and sanctified. That is my opinion of how she tried to create the Camelot myth. Nice to hear it, though, if you want to believe the fairytale she perpetuated, and now for my one good thing to say. I love her voice. I wish I had a 'babykins' voice, I have always loved her voice.

MadReads Dec 02, 2011

I thought the interviews would give me an inside glimpse at one of America's most well-known presidents and the Kennedy family. However, in reality, most of the conversations centered around Jackie's mostly negative opinions of, well, everybody. She does not mince words. From Mrs. Nixon (bitter and rude) to Martin Luther King (she says he held orgies), people in Wisconsin (suspicious & “Eww!”) Jackie does not approve. I always assumed Jackie was someone to be admired but a lot of what she said rubbed me the wrong way. She believed that a woman should be submissive in her marriage, so much so that at one point she relays a story in which someone asked her where her views came from and she replied, "all of my opinions come from my husband." She truly believed that her place was to create a relaxing environment for Jack and so therefore she wasn't really involved much in politics. Schlesinger has to remind her of important dates and details, and her common refrain is "Wasn't it?" "Didn't he?" She comes across as a spectator in her own life. Jackie also viewed Jack’s religious beliefs to be a "superstition.” She thought that his evening prayers were "a little childish mannerism", and she found them amusing. Maybe Jack wasn't all that religious- I don't know, but I don't know that Jackie knew either. She doesn't come across and being very knowledgeable even when it comes to Jack, instead she seems rather catty and her breathy, Marilyn Monroe type voice, doesn't help.

BigMoose Dec 02, 2011

Most common answer from Mrs. Kennedy: "Oh, I don't know." Boring.

fairboy Nov 10, 2011

I'm rather disappointed.

If you saw the ABC special about the tapes you saw the most interesting parts of this book. There were extremely dry passages about the campaign trail and JFK's cabinet.

I was rather surprised that the CD's of the actual tapes were not included with the check out though they were plainly shown in the picture accompanying the listing.

TERRI Z HISEL Oct 27, 2011

Though her daughter, Caroline, presents a lovely introduction, the memoir itself is superficial and often confusing jumble of snippets-and snipes. Fairly, as also noted by Ms Kennedy-Schlossberg, Mrs Kennedy was likely still grief stricken when she allowed the sessions. The obsequious Mr. Schlessenger, the interviewer, did her no favors in allowing the interviews to ramble. Not the best read of the Camelot couple.

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