At the dawn of the 1960s, a 43-year-old president and his 31-year-old first lady (the youngest couple ever to occupy the White House) captivated the world with their easy elegance and their cool conviction that anything was possible. Jack and Jackie Kennedy gathered around them an intensely loyal and brillant coterie of intellectuals, journalists, diplomats, international jet-setters and artists. Perhaps as never before, Washington was sharply divided between the "ins" and the "outs."
In his public life, JFK created a New Frontier, stared down the Soviets, and devoted himself to his wife and children. As first lady, Jackie mesmerized foreign leaders and the American people with her style and sophistication. Smith brilliantly recreates the glamorous pageant of the Kennedy years, as well as the daily texture of the Kennedys' marriage, friendships, political associations, and, in Jack's case, multiple love affairs.
Smith's striking revelations include new information about what drew Jack to his numerous mistresses, and what effects the relationships ultimately had on the women; about the rivalries and resentments among Kennedy's advisers; and about the poignant days before and after Kennedy's assassination.
Smith has fashioned a vivid and nuanced portrait not only of two extraordinary individuals but of a new age that sprang to life around them. Shimmering with intelligence and detail, Grace and Power is history at its finest.
©2004 Sally Bedell Smith; (P)2004 Books on Tape
"What Ms. Smith has done is to write the first substantial narrative that captures what daily life was really like in the inner sanctum of the White House during the Kennedy years, with Jack and Jackie appropriately cast as the lead actors in the intriguing drama." (The New York Times)
"Eloquently rendered social history....Highly readable account of the White House milieu shaped by John and Jackie Kennedy..." (Publishers Weekly)
If you want endless details of who dined or partied at the White House, who Jack Kennedy was sleeping with, and what Jackie was wearing when it happened, this book is for you. It's chock full of details about everything and everyone. I was shocked by some of the revelations, and it was fairly titillating; however it is so badly read with endless mis-phrasing and mispronounced words and names, that I nearly gave up on it several times. It was interesting, but a real chore to listen to it. I came away thinking what venal, selfish and self-absorbed people they all were.
Very personal portrait of the Kennedy years: factual but not judgmental. Good balance of politics, current events and "gossip". Well read and worth listening to the unabridged version, although admittedly long. Pedantic in spots, particularly in foreign affairs analysis, but quickly returns to the original pace.
Five Stars: Well written and very well spoken; interesting aspects of their lives described vividly (almost as though you were watching a movie or an excellent t.v. production. Brilliant. Well worth reading several times.
Didn't read the print version.
I consider myself a JFK aficionado. So when I saw this book available on audible, I decided to pick it up. Rather than being just a rehash on the same old stories we know about JFK, the author really delves in into what made JFK tick. We are constantly reminded how flawed and careless he was in his personal life, considering he was the President of the United States. We know now that no public figure could get away with his behavior today. But in spite of all that, he was a great president when you consider all the challenges he faced during his administration.
The author puts the reader in every scene as if we were there, from the moment the book opens, moving through the 1960 election, the inauguration, the Bay of Pigs fiasco, the Vienna Summit with Khrushchev, the Berlin Wall crisis, Civil Rights, the Cuban missile crisis, his assassination and the aftermath. She does a masterful job in presenting every scene with clarity and from the various perspectives of the individuals involved, be it Jackie Kennedy, Dave Powers, LBJ, etc.
She set just the right tone that at first when I downloaded the audiobook, I thought it would take me forever to get through it. Instead, I listened to it in less time than I expected during my routine commute time.
The Real JFK
Great book! I'd recommend it to anyone who is a JFK fan.
Yes and again and again. So much to process in the political world. Fascinating!
I would say the three aspects I would use are "history, the value of education and the value of connections".
I enjoyed the details provided by Smith--she really gets down the day-to-day information.
If you are interested in the detailed human interest side of JFK and Jackie, just be aware the book is also heavy on political detail surrounding world events.
It covers the election and politics but from a more personal standpoint. well written.
Jackie's attitude toward being first lady. Her independence and support by JFK.
Well written. Gives another side to the presidency besides the usual "womanizer" and "Kennedy dynasty" cliche.
this is just soap opera details--not a history book I couldn't even finish it.
I must admit I did not listen to the full 20 hours of this. I heard the first five hours and gave up. It's great if you want to know the colour and style of all the dresses Jackie Kennedy wore, and the predilections of all of the white house staff and their partners, no matter how hundrum or mundane. At the point where the author was describing the type and variety of plants that the wife of a minor, undistinguished member of white house staff liked to plant in her front garden, I gave up. A remarkable presidency, a remarkable time - if you want to know how it was lived in terms of the frocks worn by its protagonists, listen to this book. If you are interested in politics and history, read another ...
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