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)
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.
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.
Sensational. Jacqueline Kennedy in her own words - terrific. Fascinating and truly compelling to hear her perspective. I admire her tremendously.
The Rest of the Cast:
If you can get past Caroline Kennedy's delivery - her typical snooze-fest monotone - her introduction is interesting. Why on earth no one ever bothered to give her a speech lesson when her father was one of the greatest orators in modern history is beyond me. She's simply awful every time she opens her mouth.
Michael Beschloss is far more interesting to listen to. Quite nice.
Schlesinger reveals himself to be a pompous bore - pretentious and overbearing.
But Jackie . . . Oh, Jackie! Classy, funny, intelligent, candid, lovely.
I like memoirs. These particular interviews by Schlesinger were very timely, and I was happy to hear Jackie's voice express her understanding of what happened in the White House. Juxtaposed with what we now know about Jack's philandering, it was interesting to hear her criticize other roving fellas.It was a true time-capsule view of our culture and societal norms of the sixties. Obviously a "sharp" woman, Jackie never thought of stepping out of line, it seems. The problem with the book? I wanted her to answer the question of why in the world she married such a (seemingly) sleasy guy like Aristotle Onasis. Just kidding...please don't write to tell me I'm nuts...!
I don't think there is another book to compare. Many people write memoirs long after-the-fact; I don't know of any spoken narrative with such immediacy to such a wrenching crime as the murder of one's spouse.
It is too bad that it was recorded on equipment available, but the sound quality was necessarily below what we are today accustomed to hear.
“The world was hers for the reading.” - Betty Smith 'A Tree Grows in Brooklyn'
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.
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