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Publisher's Summary

What Remains is a vivid and haunting memoir about a girl from a working-class town who becomes an award-winning television producer and marries a prince, Anthony Radziwill, one of a long line of Polish royals and nephew of President John F. Kennedy. Carole Radziwill's story is part fairy tale, part tragedy. She tells both with great candor and wit.

Carole grew up in a small suburb with a large, eccentric cast of characters. She spent her childhood summers with her grandparents and an odd assortment of aunts and uncles in their poorly plumbed A-frame on the banks of a muddy creek in upstate New York.

At the age of 19, Carole struck out for New York City to find a different life. Her career at ABC News led her to the refugee camps of Cambodia, to a bunker in Tel Aviv, to the scene of the Menendez murders. Her marriage led her into the old world of European nobility and the newer world of American aristocracy.

What Remains begins with loss and returns to loss. A small plane plunges into the ocean, carrying John Kennedy, Anthony's cousin, and Carolyn Bessette Kennedy, Carole's closest friend. Three weeks later Anthony dies of cancer. The summer of the plane crash, the four friends were meant to be cherishing Anthony's last days. Instead, Carole and Anthony mourned John and Carolyn, even as Carole planned her husband's memorial.

Carole Radziwill has an anthropologist's sensibility and a journalist's eye. She writes about families, their customs, their secrets, and their tangled intimacies with remarkable acuity and humanity. She explores the complexities of marriage, the importance of friendship, and the challenges of self-invention with unflinching honesty. This is a compelling story of love, loss, and, ultimately, resilience.

©2005 Carole Radziwill (P)2005 Simon & Schuster Inc. All rights reserved. AUDIOWORKS is an imprint of Simon & Schuster Audio Division.

Critic Reviews

"Carole Radziwill, a wonderful writer...gets at the essence of what matters: friendship, compassion, destiny." (Oprah Winfrey)
"Carole Radziwill has written an unsparing, unsentimental, and inspiring memoir. A spirited journalist with a novelist's eye for detail, she delivers a stunningly honest story about life's great joys and deepest pain." (Christiane Amanpour)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Sbba
  • North Carolina
  • 09-21-16

Way more than a Real Housewive

This book is beautifully written and read, it is an incredible tale of love for more than one person. Carole Radziwell is such an incredible woman and she is way more than what you see on The Real Housewives of NY. She is a real person, who I admire and respect far more for her life than a Realty TV show. This book is wonderful !!

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Mary
  • augusta, GA, United States
  • 09-14-14

I also give this book What Remains 5 Stars.

I have listened to this book too many times to count. It is heartbreaking. Carole Radziwill tells the story of John Kennedy Jr's last flight. What draws me to this book is Carole's reading of her own story. She was a very close friend of John's wife. She and her husband the son of Lee Radzwill were enjoying the perfect life, a happy life. The he was stricken with Cancer. I don't want to tell you everything but this is a beautiful book. At one time I was a grief counselor trying to help people deal with loss. I Will admire Carole forever because of the things she did right and how like all of us who loose someone, what not to do. No it is not chock full of Kennedy stories, it is the story of 4 very good friends. So worth the listen.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Andrea
  • Cambridge, MA, USA
  • 10-05-05

Kept me listening!

This is a very good listen, read by the author. I found myself unable to stop and listened to the whole book during one day. It's very much about her life with Anthony Radziwill and how their life evolves in his bout with cancer. It's about their lives as related to their jobs, family life and how that world intersects sometimes with Carolyn Bessett and JFK, Jr. Carole describes Carolyn Bessett as her best friend. I found the book down to earth, heart-warming and was amazed at how she dealt with losing her beloved husband only days after the death of JFK, Jr. and Carolyn Bessett, her best friend.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Touching but keeps wondering what will happen next.

I felt like I was right there , imposing on some of the groups most private times in their lives.
It was so sweet to hear her friendship with Caroline , while their husbands were close friends and family since they were children.
To listen to carol go through her husbands illness to his death in such detail. I was so moved by their relationships.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Michelle
  • Mystic, CT, United States
  • 11-25-12

painfully good

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

yes. i wanted to drive just to hear more of this incredibly intimate and powerful story. you felt like you were there, in the room, listening to their conversation; it was amazing.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Tragedy and Immeasurable Courage

WHAT REMAINS is an amazing and heart wrenching account of real people, regardless of their fame or stature. The author clearly wrote it out of grief with no desire to capitalize on anyone's death. I was struck by the enormous weight placed on the shoulders of John Kenedy not just because of who he was but because of the part he played in his family. Always the one who new what to say or do to difuse tensions, bring people together, and comfort others; they waited for him to sweep in and make everything right in all situations. I could see why John loved Caroline over all others. She was an amazing and dynamic person with a heart the size of Alaska. She took it upon herself to adopt people she hardly knew and, like a rock, see them through to the very end. Tracing these individuals lives through tragedy, triumph and ultimate loss reminded me that it is no less difficult to be a human being regardless of one's station in life. I also realized that it had never crossed my mind that all these people had fascinating careers and personal aspirations seperate from their family fortunes. My heart was deeply touched and I now feel justified in my grief over the loss of these people I never knew.

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

I just couldn’t finish this book

Would you try another book from Carole Radziwill and/or Carole Radziwill?

Maybe yes if she didn't narrate her own book.

Would you recommend What Remains to your friends? Why or why not?

Yes, if it was not an audiobook or if it had a professional narrator.

Would you be willing to try another one of Carole Radziwill’s performances?

No! Not until she goes to Audiobook training School.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Raw, tragic and soulful

Carole Radziwill brilliantly narrates a sad chapter of his life inside one of the most famous American families. Even though the events taking place are tragic the author manages to keep her witty sense of humor across the pages of this memoir. Her ability to describe what she was thinking and feeling will bring you to tears. I admire Carole's strength and resilience after enduring such a loss and her generosity sharing her memories in this beautiful book.

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

What remains

This book caught me off guard. It centers on death and I presently have too many friends and Relatives dying. My mind centers on grief at the minute. I do not plan to have this grief for long but it took me a couple of years before I could reconcile my mother’s death.

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Intimate and honest

I really enjoyed this book. My mother passed about a year ago from lung cancer and the author is so candid and gives a realistic viewpoint of death and dying. She gives an insider view of family life when someone is dying and the impact that remains. Beautiful memoir.