• Reading Jackie

  • Her Autobiography in Books
  • By: William Kuhn
  • Narrated by: Susan Denaker
  • Length: 12 hrs and 31 mins
  • 3.8 out of 5 stars (58 ratings)

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Reading Jackie  By  cover art

Reading Jackie

By: William Kuhn
Narrated by: Susan Denaker
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Publisher's Summary

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis never wrote a memoir, but she told her life story and revealed herself in intimate ways through the nearly 100 books she brought into print during the last two decades of her life as an editor at Viking and Doubleday. Based on archives and interviews with Jackie's authors, colleagues, and friends, Reading Jackie mines this significant period of her life to reveal both the serious and the mischievous woman underneath the glamorous public image. 

Though Jackie had a reputation for avoiding publicity, she willingly courted controversy in her books. She was the first editor to commission a commercially successful book telling the story of Thomas Jefferson’s relationship with his female slave. Her publication of Gelsey Kirkland's attack on dance icon George Balanchine caused another storm. 

Jackie rarely spoke of her personal life, but many of her books ran parallel to, echoed, and emerged from her own experience. She was the editor behind best sellers on the assassinations of Tsar Nicholas II and John Lennon, and in another book, she paid tribute to the allure of Marilyn Monroe and Maria Callas. Her other projects take us into territory she knew well: journeys to Egypt and India, explorations of the mysteries of female beauty and media exploitation, into the minds of photographers, art historians, and the designers at Tiffany & Co. 

Many Americans regarded Jackie as the paragon of grace, but few knew her as the woman sitting on her office floor laying out illustrations or flying to California to persuade Michael Jackson to write his autobiography. 

Reading Jackie provides a compelling behind-the-scenes look at Jackie at work: how she commissioned books and nurtured authors, as well as how she helped to shape stories that spoke to her strongly. Jackie is remembered today for her marriages to JFK and to Aristotle Onassis, but her real legacy is the books that reveal the tastes, recollections, and passions of an independent woman.

©2010 William Kuhn (P)2010 Random House

Critic Reviews

"A clever, surprisingly substantial take on the life of Jaqueline Onassis... Both respectful and scintillating." (Kirkus Reviews)

What listeners say about Reading Jackie

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Very Interesting !!

What made the experience of listening to Reading Jackie the most enjoyable?

I could lie down on the bed, and just relax and listen.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Reading Jackie?

I learned alot about her editorial work, which I didn't know much about

What about Susan Denaker’s performance did you like?

She spoke loud enough to hear.

Any additional comments?

I wish all the audible books would be loud enough to hear them. The Lebavox recordings are hard to hear.

3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars

DIDN'T FINISH IT

This book should be more interesting than it was. I listened to about 2/3 of it and stopped. It just lacks Jackie's charisma, and somehow fails to provide the inspiration and character development of a good biography, as it somehow fails to create the respect and compassion for Jackie we know in our heart she deserves. I will probably pick it up again, though, as Jackie did some fabulous work, which deserves appreciation. And obviously, the world is a better place for her presence and contributions.

2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Non biased,'just the facts'.

This book was interesting for anyone who enjoys reading about J.Onassis.The information mainly stemmed from books she has read,as well as her excellent track record as an editor..which surprises people as she didnt use her name on the numerous books she has edited.

1 person found this helpful

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I love the narration

I truly enjoyed this book. I learned a lot about "Jackie O". Warm funny lady

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  • Jessica
  • 04-14-17

Love this audio book!

Jackie apparently came from a conservative background but had a very strong liberal streak based of what books, etc she chose to edit/work on. You would never realize from what you hear about her in passing that she never quite felt at home in the USA. She deeply loved Europe. So impressed with what she did with her life professionally, which is normally overshadowed by her husbands.

1 person found this helpful

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  • C
  • 07-09-14

Tiresome concept, woeful execution

What would have made Reading Jackie better?

I am not especially interested in Mrs JFK but as the number of interesting biographies available on audible is low. BUT - This is just a piece of fluff, a "concept book" rather than any sort of properly researched (or properly written) affair.
The leaps made to concoct its content are giant ones - but sadly not informative or entertaining. Nor are they relevant to its "you are what you edit" rubric. (I did listen to the entire book.)

What could William Kuhn have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

n/a

Who might you have cast as narrator instead of Susan Denaker?

A professional; the reader's voice adds to the problems.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from Reading Jackie?

n/a

Any additional comments?

I regret not knowing about the "don't like it, return it" function on the site.

1 person found this helpful