Tuesday, March 27, 2012

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

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. KennedyJacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, hmm. I suppose I listened to Jacqueline Kennedy's oral history out of sheer curiosity. I had read Mimi Alford's Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath and became a little curious as to what Jackie Kennedy had to say after the death of her husband.

This audio recording stretched from March 1964, four months after JFK's assassination, to June 1964. There are seven conversations in total.

She came across as a doting wife who supported her husband in whatever venture or thought he had. She made it seem that his every thought was her thought, they agreed on nearly everything, he was such a good husband and truly cared about her. Historical recollections of others tells a completely different story. Perhaps he did love her, perhaps not. I'm sure he loved her beauty and poise and her rich background, but being married, I'm not convinced that JFK, whom I think was a scoundrel, liked being married. It was a political front I think.

I think a lot less of JFK, not that I had anything really to judge him on before. I think Jacqueline Kennedy worked with what she had but I think her eyes truly opened up in the years after his and Bobbie's deaths. They were political machines who had dirty agendas that were hidden from the unassuming public.

Going back to Jackie Kennedy's oral history, there was a lot of information that bored me. I hadn't heard of many, many of the people she and Mr. Schlessinger discussed nor did I really care. It was a gossip session of, "what did Jack think of so and so, or this or that". There were a few juicy bits and the one that I was most surprised by was her candid dislike of Martin Luther King Jr. She thought he was a horrible man because he often had orgy's. She thought him a fraud, phony. I had never heard that before! I find it ironic she thought him lowly for that, yet her husband had more romps than a rabbit in heat.

I can't imagine having these conversation so quickly after her husbands death. There is no doubt she was mortified and devastated by his death but there had to a great strength to be able to talk at that point of time. She never did discuss that horrific day or anything really leading up to it. No thoughts about it. I imagine it would be too soon for that.

In the recording you can hear the kids, their TV in the background, planes flying over head, her continuous lighting up and smoking and even the clinking of ice cubes in glass. I wonder what was in there? A stiff drink perhaps? I would need one!

Overall, I suppose I'm glad I listened to her oral history because I do like the subject. Did I come away feeling smarter and able to feel as though I knew Jackie Kennedy? Nope. Would I recommend this read to anyone. Not really. I think you'd have to be a real history nut or be looking for some gossip about the Kennedy white house years. I'm a little of both.

It makes me a little sad that Jackie Kennedy nearly completely withdrew from the public eye after JFK and Bobbie's death. I can't blame her though, but my curiousity is itching to know what she thinks of JFK looking back in the years before her death in 1994.

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