I am a lifelong lover of books. I got my degree in English & worked in the publishing business for many years. Now I work with wildlife.
Like most people who were alive on that terrible day I remember it well. I was in Austin, Texas on the day JFK was murdered. I worked for the University of Texas and he was coming to the campus that night. They had been preparing for days. My husband and I were so excited as we were to see him that night. When we heard he had been shot, I pictured him showing up with his arm in a sling or something like that. Never for one moment could I begin to imagine him dead!
This book brought back that time and place for me. What I felt hearing Jackie's voice again is hard to describe. This was a fascinating read for me and I am so glad that it was published. She comes across as so loyal and devoted to JFK, one wonders if she knew what an active sex life he was carrying on during their marriage. We knew nothing about it at the time, of course. Different time, different rules.
Hearing her actual voice, intonations, inflections, and perspective.
The most interesting to me was when she talked about herself. The least interesting were the dull questions by Schlesinger. They could have been much better. "What did you think of Stevenson? What did you think of Rusk?" Over and over again. Many were people I didn't even know.
Obviously, listening to Mrs. Kennedy's voice brought the entire thing to life. Without it I would have given an entirely different rating to the book.
The times I laughed were the few times the children came in and pirated the microphone.
As brilliant as Mr. Schlesinger is/was at the time, his questions were very uninteresting and rather benign. He could have asked questions that were more specific and of interest to the public. The book is really about Jack Kennedy and when it's told by his newly-widowed spouse, he is described as a god-like figure which we all know, of course, was not the case. But it did give insight into some of his personality and life at the White House that was interesting and informative.
Although I was disappointed in the overall content of the book, I have to say it was a good listen and worth my time.
So interesting reading what Jack Kennedy really thought about the people surrounding him. It clarified so much of what actions were taken during the administration and the difficulties of any president. Very rare behind the scenes look at one administration.
I really enjoyed hearing this history as remembered by the First Lady, she had insights that no other person was privy to. Her voice was strong and her opinions of various politicians and vital americans from that time period was surprising and unedited.
The quality of the tapes reflected the technology of the era, they were at times very difficult to understand, and the proximity to an airport made parts of the tapes unintelligiblle.
I am grateful to have had the opportunity to hear in her own voice, and the voice of John Jr and Caroline a part of the Kennedy history.
Getting to hear the trials and tribulations of the life of the first President that I remembered'
serving in the White House.
If todays technology would have been available in 1964.
Loved it - was wonderful the hear her voice and I wished it would never end. Very enjoyable and learned alot!
Authenticity and real interview.
There is nothing that can be changed. My dislikes were not due to the story as such.
What I learned about Johns brothers was actually more interesting to me.
Some might finde it very interesting if there were other interviews like this available.
As a foreign listener (Danish), it was a bit hard to follow the conversation in the beginning because persons do not speak very clearly in a context like this one. However, that changed after some time as my "ears adapted to the style and vocabulary".
The interviews were interesting but I am sure they would have been more so for a native American. JFK belonged to my parents generation, and I knew him from history classes, of course, and found his precidency interesting, but I have no doubt that a native American (especially adults of his generation) would like this very much. He was "one of theirs".
Where was her story? Who was she?
That he was a serious drug addict
All of it
Pick a side. Be a public person or be a private citizen. Free country. Her story seemed more about other people and very judgmental, I might add. It made me dislike a revered adored first lady. I suppose I am to young to see her as more than a victim in a blood stained pink suit and I guess I wanted to hear more than her ridiculing people. She seemed to think the people who idolized her were simple housewives who had nothing better to do but imitate a rich, regal woman who definitely comes across as condescending and snooty.
It just was not as interesting as I antcipated. Could not finish listening to the entire book. It was too much of an inside conversation for me to follow.
Book is probably valuable for historians, but not the lay reader like myself.
No narrator. Interview format. I enjoyed hearing Jackie's voice, but I did not have enough knowledge to understand a lot of what Jackie and the interviewer were discussing.
Not a good listen.
There is no Frigate like a Book To take us Lands away Nor any Coursers like a Page Of prancing Poetry – Emily Dickinson
Basically, listening to this was 2/3 very boring and about 1/3 interesting facts about the inside life and feelings of the Kennedys. I had to force myself to keep listening, as the rewards were intermittent. I thought it would be good to listen to it on the heels of the Stephen King book, 11-22-63, and I suppose that did add to the feelings I had about the book. But, for one thing, the quality of the audio from back in that time period was really bad. SO, it was not nearly as easy to listen to as any other audio book I???ve ever listened to. It was a strain through the whole thing. Sometimes you could hear airplanes flying overhead which nearly drowned out the conversations! Sometimes I couldn???t quite hear the name of the person being discussed, and I didn???t feel like working too hard to go back and figure it out, since it seemed sort of boring in today???s context. Now I see there is a PDF file, which I???ve downloaded and looked at, with ALL the names of people mentioned in the book. That does help. AND the photos in the PDF file are fantastic!!
The best part about the book was hearing Jackie???s inside take on whom she and Jack liked and disliked and some of the interesting, inside info from their White House years. For example, when Sukarno, president of Indonesia, was visiting, he showed them a huge books of photos, and it turned out to have lots of semi-naked women whom he would explain were his succession of various wives! Jackie said she and Jack glanced at each other and could hardly keep from laughing out loud. I just looked Sukarno up in the ???Notes,??? and it says he was widely known for his lust and corruption!
I guess one thing I missed in this book was a little more about Jackie???s life. The focus was mainly on the President, and I just thought the whole tone was a bit removed and not emotional enough??? or something like that. In the PDF notes I found this info, which I find so sad and touching about Jackie, and it humanizes her a bit more, I think.
[ Mrs. Kennedy did not know (Prime Minister Harold) Macmillan remotely as well as the President had, but after Kennedy???s death, she achieved a moving kind of intimacy with her husband???s British friend by letter. At the end of January 1964, at midnight, she wrote Macmillan by hand in response to his condolence letter:
???Sometimes I become so bitter, only alone???I don???t tell anyone???but I do truly think that any poor school child looking at the record of the 1960s???could only decide that virtue is UNrewarded. The two greatest men of our time, you and Jack???all you fought for and cared about together. . . . And how does it all turn out? De Gaulle is there . . . and bitter old Adenauer???and the two people who have had to suffer are you and Jack. . . . You worked together for the finest things in the finest years???later on when a series of disastrous Presidents of the United States, and Prime Ministers who were not like you, will have botched up everything???people will say ???Do you remember those days???how perfect they were???? The days of you and Jack. . . . I always keep thinking of Camelot???which is overly sentimental???but I know I am right???for one brief shining moment there was Camelot???and it will never be that way again. . . . Please forgive this endless intrusion???but I just wanted to tell you how much Jack loved you???and I have not his gift of concision.???
Macmillan replied, ???My dear Friend???this is how I used to write to Jack???so I am going to write to you. You have written from your heart to me, and I will do the same??? Of course one becomes bitter. How could you not be? . . . May God Bless you, my dear child. You have shown the most wonderful courage to the bitter outer world. The hard thing is really to feel it inside.??? On June 1, 1964, the day before this oral history interview, Jacqueline reported to Macmillan that she was feeling better now and the worst had passed. Later she wrote him that she was trying to raise her children as Jack would have wished???and that if she prevailed, then that would be her vengeance against the world. (This was one reason why, in later years, Jacqueline was particularly cheered when told by friends that she had succeeded as a mother.) ]