In 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy recorded seven historic interviews about her life with John F. Kennedy. Now, decades later, these conversations can be heard in this digitally remastered eight-and-a-half-hour audio program. This audiobook includes the foreword written and read by Caroline Kennedy; introduction written and read by historian Michael Beschloss and the photos from the hardcover book, as well as complete annotations from Michael Beschloss, both in downloadable PDF format.
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 completion, in accordance with Mrs. Kennedy’s wishes.
The resulting eight-and-a-half hours of material comprise a unique and compelling record of a tumultuous era, providing fresh insights on the many significant people and events that shaped JFK’s presidency, but also shedding new light on the man behind the momentous decisions.
As told by Mrs. Kennedy, here are JFK’s unscripted opinions on a host of revealing subjects, including his thoughts and feelings about his brothers, Robert and Ted, and his take on world leaders past and present, giving us perhaps the most informed, genuine, and immediate portrait of John Fitzgerald Kennedy we shall ever have. Mrs. Kennedy’s urbane perspective, her candor, and her flashes of wit also give us our clearest glimpse into the active mind of a remarkable First Lady.
In conjunction with the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s inauguration, Caroline Kennedy and the Kennedy family are now releasing these beautifully restored recordings with accompanying annotations and photos from the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library as well as other sources. Introduced and annotated by renowned presidential historian Michael Beschloss, these interviews will add an exciting new dimension to our understanding and appreciation of President Kennedy and his time and make the past come alive through the words and voice of an eloquent eyewitness to history.
©2011 Caroline Kennedy, John Schlossberg, Rose Schlossberg, and Tatiana Schlossberg (P)2011 Hyperion (packaging elements only)
Do you read the book before you dislike my reviews?
This audio book is fascinating. It's a bit chilling to hear the First Lady being so candid about the President and their private lives. To able to hear her voice and conversations with Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., is a historical dream. You can always read these events, like the Cuban Missile Crisis, but hearing her express her feelings that she wanted to be with JFK and their kids, if something would happen, is something that you can't get from text or even from film. Listening from the actual recordings is awesome because besides the actual conversation, you can hear Jackie Kennedy light her cigarette and inhaling, ice cubes rattling in her drinks, and planes flying in the background. These forgotten detail makes their conversations comes alive. There is one point in the audio book where Schlesinger ask John-John if he miss his father. John-John, which an innocent of a child, responded to him that his father is in heaven. The only way to read this title, is through audio. Wonderful conversations.
Most memorable moment was when she described her experience on November 22, 1963.
Planning the funeral to be as much as Lincoln's funeral as possible.
Very happy that these tapes were released during the lifetimes of people who remember November 22, 1963. They won't mean as much to anyone who does not remember that day.
I have read numerous biographies on JFK and Jaqueline Kennedy but this is the most amazing account of Jaqueline Kennedy's personality as captured in real life. It truly is like opening a precious gift of history given in a time capsule.
One of the most private "public" people in US history gets a voice, and what a voice. So often we have to listen to the past through the filter of the opinion of someone else. It is incredibly revealing and refreshing to hear a perspective of the Kennedy White House from one to the two people most intimately connected with it, and not somebody who was not even born when the events took place. She pulls no punches either. There are no sacred cows of 20th century American or world politics that Jackie is afraid to discuss and giver her or her late husbands opinion on. I think in the spring of 1964 Jacqueline Kennedy felt she did not need to blunt her words about anyone for any reason. Thanks to her daughter and family for letting us listen in.
An old broad that enjoys books of all types. Would rather read than write reviews though. I know what I like, and won't be bothered by crap.
I waited for this version to come out so I could listen on my kindle. You also get a pdf of some gorgeous pictures of the family and all the footnotes. Nothing is left out.
This is definitely the best version available!
Any living history project would compare, it's just that what Mrs. Kennedy says makes her human and very vivid in my mind. The Kennedy's have always been a passion of mine and this book is so illuminating. Warts and all!
No characters, everyone plays themselves. Mrs. Kennedy is wonderful but the saddest moment is when John comes in and says,
There are so many human moments in this book I don't know which one was the best. Mrs. Kennedy telling us that Mamie Eisenhower didn't want to give her a White House tour as is customary. And then calling at the last moment right after Jackie got out of the hospital having John-John and taking her on a two hour tour, not allowing her to sit down and rest. Unbelievable!
The insider's view of the Bay of Pigs and the Missile crisis were riveting listening. She felt her job was to be there for the President in case he needed to unwind so he rarely talked about work in his home time.
Mrs. Kennedy's views on state leaders, Khrushchev, De Gualle, McMillan, Wilson, etc. are so revealing and interesting. When she heard about the Russian space dogs having puppies she jokingly asked for one, and one day a dog appeared at the White House and the President said.
I recommend this to any US history buff, any fan of politics and any one who loved the Kennedys and miss the fact that this time will never come again.
Jacqueline Kennedy's words directly from her when she was still a young widow in her thirties --gave me a unique sense of of the time, place and person. The quality of the tapes was not great, and the content sometimes rambled, but the overall experience was a sense of intimacy with a historic person. I got much more insight to the times and person--there were interruptions by her children--very poignant and reminder that our icons were real people living both a daily and yet extrordinary life. Biggest aha for me was Jacqueline's undeveloped sense of feminism and a "woman's role"--which Carolyn notes in the forward she subsequently changed. All in-- a unique experience for a person who enjoys history.
I very much enjoyed listening to this audio book. I was very excited when I saw that audible had added it. I consumed it, much like a starving man at the end of a fast. For history buffs it will be thrilling to hear a first hand account of things through the eyes of Jacqueline Kennedy. I learned things I didn't know and was surprised to learn for example that Mrs. Kennedy did not care for France or the French. I guess I assumed (possibly because of her maiden name) that she was somewhat enchanted with all things French. I was not born during the Kennedy presidency so some of the people that were discussed were unfamiliar to me and therefore not as interesting to hear about as they might be for others who are more informed. I think anyone who is a fan of, or interested in the Kennedy family will want to add this audible book to their library.
I LOVE books. And dogs & quilting & beading & volunteering.
I was voting in my first election and had spent 6 months working at the Democratic Headquarters in Hollywood the year of Kennedy's election.
It was definitely Camelot for many of us...a young couple leading the nation after growing up with older men, a man who wanted we young adults to take our lives in our hands and do better for the world.
It's hard to believe that 11 months from now will be the 50th Anniversary of Dallas and the day that that "Brief and Timeless Place called Camelot"Died.
Hearing the First Lady's voice made me cry at times as she spoke about how her place was to help her husband and raise the children and not to be involved in politics and how she changed over the next decade...and how sad she was that Jack never saw her grow as a woman from helpmate to self directing woman.
Still, the casual conversations she recorded here are a wonderful look into the family life and political life of the man who is still in presidential candidates minds...and there was just ONE Jack Kennedy! NO!he wasn't Dan Quayle either.
I recommend this book if you were part of this era, as I am, if you're interested in political machinations, and if you are looking for history of those times from the viewpoint of wealthy east coasters.
The background sounds are charming-you hear a childs voice singing, cigarettes being lit and ice cubes rattled----it must have been recorded in a room with a wood floor as shoe heels click clack quite a bit. It's all so casual and you can tell it was so very difficult for Jacqueline to do-just about 5 months after Dallas.
I encourage this especially for young women-you can get a good overviews of what it was like when your grandmother was a youngster, Jackie tells of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and of encouraging congress to not tear down the Dolly Madison House to put up an office building. She began bringing class into the white house, getting former presidents families to donate furniture so the styles could be true to the era. She designed the Oval Office as it is today--changed it from an austere cold room to a warm parlor where the President can meet with anyone. She picked the blues and golds that dominate the room and designed the rug in the oval office. She designed the decore for the first Air Force 1 "
Over those 1000+ days she says they were the happiest in her life, even though she lost a child. Then it was over.
This is a book that is meant to be listened to-the nuances are priceless and so is Jackie. I remember watching her show off the redecorating of the white house-a 90 minute CBS special that took hundreds of thousands of people of many countries thru the National House. I remember when she spoke then that her voice was very whispy and breathy but she isn't so much in this collection of 6 interviews.
Sorry-this isn't a good review--I just can't forget this book and I know it will be on my mind for days.
Please excuse....but I did love it all.
“I discovered books and read forever,” - John Adams
The audio recording of these interviews gave such a glimpse into Mrs. Kennedy's life at the time. The tape recorder stops and starts, kids come into the room, planes fly over, Mrs. Kennedy sips her drink. It makes it so much richer to hear little pieces of the world around her as she recounts her life with the President and her time in the White House.
Her quiet voice recounts such a different side of the important people we read about in history books. In this recording we get snippets of people's personalities, gossips about state dinners and ex-first ladies, and views on marriage, family and women from such a classy lady. It was interesting to hear her daughter in the intro talk about how her views changed over time, but I enjoyed hearing the candid and contemporary 60s views Mrs. Kennedy had at the time.
So thankful that Jackie chose to record her thoughts on the presidency. Her commitment to the preservation of history is very clear, even amidst her grief at the time. Really fascinating insights on history and her personality. Although, I could listen to her read the phone book.
How she stated that she hated the French! So candid.
"Buy this - you cannot miss this one!"
The beauty of audiobooks especially biographies, is that many these days are narrated by the person its about, and no matter how much you like to read, you cannot get closer to the subject than when they tell you the story themselves. Even though Jackie Kennedy has been dead for nearly 10 years, the Schlesinger taped interviews bring her alive to help with the narration of this book. After I got over hearing her voice (not what I thought it would sound like), and the candor to which she spoke, I was captivated at this fly on the wall chance to hear her tell her story about her life with JFK in the white House. Her amazing recall and openness about the people that were involved in history is endearing. I was surprised how given the fact that her husband was recently shot down in the prime of his life, she does not shy away from any subject. I could not put it down. You may think you have heard it all about JFK, I guarantee you have not.
This book is very, very interesting.I never knew what Jacqueline Kennedy sounded like and I was very suprised. She is so gentle, slow and careful in the way she speaks. I cant decide if she was naive or very clever in pretending not to know about things that happened. Its brilliant to hear her in her own words and the part where JFK Jr talks is very touching considering his father had only been killed a few months previously. Jacqueline Kennedy did lots of things during her time as The First Lady that I did'nt know about so I have learned new things from this book. I would recommed this book to anyone especially history fans.
More interesting content would have elevated this very pedestrian and repetitive waste of time
She could, perhaps, have set the bar a lot lower for one's expectations. Her emphasis on the great historical value of the interviews, and her decision to publish them as some sort of historical contribution to the world was plainly absurd.
Appalling sound quality meant that I couldn't understand half of what Mr. Schlesinger said. Going by the answers it seems that I didn't miss much.
Disappointment at the utterly banal level of conversation in which very little of interest or importance was revealed. Goodness knows why anybody went to the trouble to record this drivel, let alone why Mrs. Kennedy imposed a 50 year ban on its release. Pity they didn't lose the key!
History is not served by this dreadfully recorded, uninspired, over promoted empty vessel.
"HISTORIC DOCUMENTARY ON A BRILLIANT FIGURE"
These conversations with the former First Lady are spell-binding, to hear her voice again was extraordinary. My family were stationed in Germany during the Kennedy Presidency and these conversations with Jacqueline Kennedy bring that period so vividly to life. I am still working my way through this wonderful audiobook. In addition to the book there is a separate pdf with many wonderful and memorable photographs.
The conversations flow wonderfully well adding vibrancy to the historic events of the time.
For me it has to be Jacqueline Kennedy.
There are so many "moments" it would be extremely difficult to pick a special one.
This is a very special audiobook which for me is a living breathing history of probably one of the most powerful families in the United States and of a hugely respected President and First Lady at a critical point in history.
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