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Publisher's Summary

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)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

In Her Lovely Voice- Jackie Oh!!!! A Real Treat

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this to anyone familiar with the Kennedys who was as caught up in all the glamour of the Kennedy White House years as I was.( a young, impressionable girl).<br/><br/>I was simply obsessed with Jackie,( along with a lot of the others in that family) until she died.There was something very special about this woman. I've done lots of reading about her but this collection of tapes was very different and something I didn't think existed, given how little she ever interviewed. <br/><br/>I'm also very tired of all the trash that's been written about the Kennedys. This was so different and very refreshing.While the quality of the tapes is primitive compared to the technology of today I don't feel it detracted from 9 solid hours of the lovely Jackie and Arthur Schlesinger.I was very interested in her perspective of her place in the Kennedy administration and in JFK's life.<br/><br/> Some of her feelings, especially on women's roles are outdated, but very quaint and adorable.Those were very different times. I do wonder though, if she ever changed a diaper, as most mothers back then did!!!<br/><br/>She was very protective of her husband, and while he may not have been as we all thought back then, she shows a warm and sweet side to him I was unaware of.I was quite young during the Kennedy years so I learned some things I didn't know about JFK's presidency and the climate of our country and around the world.<br/><br/>I am so grateful to Caroline for releasing these tapes to the public for the historical significance and the joy of hearing Jackie.<br/><br/>Wonderful experience that I will revisit again and again!

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  • Performance
  • Story

Not enough content for a book.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

More content.

What do you think your next listen will be?

A novel.

Would you listen to another book narrated by the narrators?

No. Also, parts were very hard to hear.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

I loved hearing Jackie's voice for a while.

  • Overall

Camelot indeed

I loved her telling the story of some of her beloveds most incredible stories that matter so much to our nation today. My only objection was that Caroline said of her amazing mother, that perhaps women weren't as interesting or there weren't as many autobiographies of women.. Perhaps because of her living in a whole different world growing up... Because there were some extraordinary women as well as men... But I'm touched and glad I have them for such a historical time!

  • Overall
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Amazing

Where does Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

One of the best.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy?

When JFK Jr talks in the background...very touching.

Which character – as performed by the narrators – was your favorite?

N/A

If you were to make a film of this book, what would the tag line be?

N/A

Any additional comments?

This was like eavesdropping on history...amazing.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Couldn't hear very well

What would have made Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy better?

Since it was actual tape from the interviews, it was quite hard to hear what was being said. I felt like I had the radio turned up as loud as it could go to hear.

Has Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy turned you off from other books in this genre?

somewhat, more due to the audio quality.

What three words best describe the narrators’s performance?

N/A

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

N/A

Any additional comments?

N/A

  • Overall
  • Performance
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  • David
  • San Jose, CA United States
  • 02-21-14

Worth selecting the audio version.

Absolutely delightful. I highly recommend the audiobook version as you get to listen to the real original tapes. It's interesting to see how she saw her husband, politics, and the events of the time. It's not the greatest historical material as the interviewer is a friend, and had worked for Kennedy and been his friend. Still lovely.

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  • Patti
  • Chittenango, NY, United States
  • 02-04-14

Boring

I admit I could not finish this listen. The most interesting part was Caroline Kennedy's introduction. The remainder did not hold my interest. One fascinating aspect was how much society has really changed since the tapes were made. The wife of that era has long gone. Secondly, Jacqueline's perspective is so tilted to protecting the legacy of her husband that I found her musings unrealistic. Thirdly, I still cannot place myself in her life. What she is talking about differs so from my world, with all the money and connections that was second nature for her. I just had to stop. I'm sad I bothered buying it.

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She pulls no punches

What did you love best about Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy?

I loved Mrs. Kennedy's honesty. I understand why she did not want these recordings released for 50 years. There were powerful people mentioned in the story in a not very flattering way.

Any additional comments?

I was disappointed that the death of JFK was not covered in this book. It had apparently been covered recently with another reporter and so that Mrs. Kennedy would not have to relive that horrible event again, it was agreed that it would not be covered in these conversations. I wish I had known that before I purchased the book but I might not have purchased the book knowing that and I am certainly glad that I did.

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disappointing

Would you try another book from Caroline Kennedy (foreword) and Michael Beschloss (introduction) and/or the narrators?

No I would not. She may have something interesting to say, but this narrative was over protected.

Would you be willing to try another book from Caroline Kennedy (foreword) and Michael Beschloss (introduction) ? Why or why not?

Probably not. I purchased this thinking it would be far more informative than it was.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

I got to know Jacqueline better and to see how sexist and gullible she was.

Was Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy worth the listening time?

Definately not. I only finished it because it was so expensive. Half way through I realized it would probably not get more interesting but until it was finished I still reserved some hope.

Any additional comments?

why in the world was this "In a vault" and on hold for 50 years? I knew more than she did 50 years ago.

  • Overall
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Disappointing but still interesting

What made the experience of listening to Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy the most enjoyable?

Hearing her actual voice, intonations, inflections, and perspective.

What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?

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.

What does the narrators bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

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.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

The times I laughed were the few times the children came in and pirated the microphone.

Any additional comments?

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. <br/><br/>Although I was disappointed in the overall content of the book, I have to say it was a good listen and worth my time.