Read Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life by Donald Spoto Online


She was America's sweetheart; the embodiment of grace, elegance, style, charm, and-as the world discovered in late 1963-bravery. And though much has been written about the most famous woman of the 20th century, no biography has revealed the true Jackie; none has successfully separated the truth from the lies, or portrayed the Queen of Camelot in all her complexity-until noShe was America's sweetheart; the embodiment of grace, elegance, style, charm, and-as the world discovered in late 1963-bravery. And though much has been written about the most famous woman of the 20th century, no biography has revealed the true Jackie; none has successfully separated the truth from the lies, or portrayed the Queen of Camelot in all her complexity-until now. With access to Jackie's own writings, the archives of the John F. Kennedy Library, and those who knew her best, bestselling celebrity biographer Donald Spoto illuminates Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis and the sixty-five years of her life with candor, compassion and compelling detail. Readers will discover:* The early years: a privileged but lonely childhood that shaped Jackie's resilience and poise, working as a photojournalist for the Washington Times-Herald, and meeting a handsome congressman named Kennedy* Life as the first lady: dealing with Jack's infidelity, adjusting to life in the spotlight, and her influence on the policies of the Kennedy Administration* Mrs. Onassis: life after Jack, marrying the Greek tycoon, her accomplished career as a book editor, her final days, and much more...

Title : Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312977078
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 400 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life Reviews

  • Tonya
    2018-11-28 21:02

    Everybody knows Jackie. Except not really. This is an endlessly fascinating woman simply because she refused to reveal herself to strangers - which include, most likely, everyone reading this review. For all we think we know about her, I think we really know nothing - which is how she wanted it. Scrupulously private, she revealed almost nothing to the world other than the causes she leant her name to, the books she edited, whatever glimpses could be gleaned from the life she lived and the few public statements she made after the assassination, for the benefit of history and her obligation to it and her husband. Otherwise, she left no commentary for us, no memoirs, no diaries - she didn't think it was necessary and she never sold her soul for the celebrity that she neither sought nor wanted. I wanted to read a balanced book about Mrs. Onassis and I'm not sure if that's possible. JFK died without ever revealing anything personal about his marriage and Mrs. Onassis kept his legacy alive but was, in the end, almost a silent as he. She leaves us indelible images of grace in the face of unimaginable horror and grief and an example of a dignified life. She loved her children, her country, her books, her horses and the ocean. And that's about all we can know for certain.

  • Judith
    2018-11-22 19:51

    One of the better ones about Jackie that I have read.

  • Judy
    2018-12-02 22:03

    This biography of Jackie Kennedy Onassis was overly fawning, which is why I only gave it 3 stars. Donald Spoto's research was impressive if selective, and I ended up skipping a fair amount of material especially in his first section detailing her early years. I just didn't need to know what time the young Jacqueline Bouvier had French class in 8th grade, and other such details. Still, I gained a great deal of appreciation for this First Lady's intellectual sophistication, self-discipline in many areas, and of course, her famous composure at the funeral of her husband, whose head was almost literally shot off right next to her. Her emotional trauma was unimaginable.If the author hadn't overdone his praise of her on nearly every page, I could have taken much more of what he wrote about her at face value, particularly her abilities, talents and personal attributes, which he lauds to excess. I was intrigued, though, to learn that beyond her fashion-driven sense, Jackie also had good political instincts, providing the president with apt phrases to use in his speeches from Churchill as well as famed French philosophers, but it was Jackie who had read these books, not JFK. According to one source, it was Jackie who urged the president to sell wheat to the Russians in 1963, and it was Jackie who was credited (even by Arthur Schlesinger Jr, who worked as a special assistant to the president and later became JFK's official biographer) with having the unerring sense of the right next political step to take. I also hadn't realized Jackie's fluency with several languages. On the campaign trail in 1960, she spoke French at a Cajun festival in Louisiana, Italian to immigrants in Boston, and Spanish to Puerto Ricans in New York. Her charm, youth, and elegance became enormous political assets to John Kennedy, and his razor-thin electoral victory may well have been cinched by his wife's appeal. Her husband was a notorious womanizer, though, (the apple doesn't fall far from the tree), and clearly had no concept of sexual fidelity. Given his frequent bouts of illness due to his Addision's disease, as well as his frequent, severe back pain, it is astonishing how rabidly he pursued and bedded other women. He clearly did not fear exposure, even brazenly having one of his mistresses sign in as a White House visitor dozens of times while Jackie spent long weekends at one of their vacation homes. These frequent separations, along with Jackie's mind-boggling spending sprees on clothing (in 1962 she spent more than $121,400 on clothing, $21,000 more than JFK earned as president), may have been one way for her to cope with the loneliness of her marriage.Though only First Lady for less than 3 years, Jackie undertook a huge job of "restoring" the White House to a former state of elegance. When she first toured her new home at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue at just 31 years old, she described the bedroom curtains as "seasick green," the first floor hallway like "a dentist's office in bomb shelter." Raised in elegance and an avid admirer of the elegance of 18th century Europe, Mrs. Kennedy returned Thomas Jefferson's inkwell, Van Buren's Empire chairs, Washington's armchair, and Mrs. Grant's writing desk their rightful places in the White House. Her glamour made the press go wild for any and all news about her, though she valued her privacy even as it slipped away. "Publicity in this era has gotten completely out of hand," she told press secretary Pierre Salinger, begging him to do a better job of protecting her and her children from the press.The Kennedys lost their first baby to a stillbirth; a second pregnancy ended in miscarriage. Fortunately, Caroline and John were born healthy, but their last baby, Patrick, died just days after his premature birth. This additional loss seemed to devastate the president like nothing ever had before, and the author writes that this emotional trauma brought the couple to an emotional closeness that had so far eluded them. Tragically, it was just weeks before the assassination. Jackie Kennedy had also met her second husband, the Greek billionaire Aristotle Onassis, in the 1950's, though Jackie's sister, Lee. The sisters accepted invitations to sail with the shipping tycoon on his gilded yacht, staffed with 60 servants. Yet one example of how Spoto protects Jackie's reputation is when he writes about her accepting an invitation from Onassis to spend a few weeks on the yacht with him just a few weeks after Patrick's death. JFK was against it for many reasons, not the least of which was how this would appear to the public if she indulged in such fabulous opulence at such a tender time. What Spoto doesn't write was that during this trip, the first photographs of Mrs. Kennedy sunbathing in a bikini were published by the foreign press, a groundbreaking image of a first lady that made the president livid. Spoto does acknowledge, however, that Jackie couldn't seem to resist the world of luxury, spending several aimless years after her husband's assassination immersed "in a world of luxurious indolence," going from resort to resort, in search of some form of escape. It was sad to think how empty her inner life must have been to have sought refuge in the world of materialism.I never understood what made this still young, still vibrant woman marry the pudgy, unattractive, much older Onassis five years after losing John F. Kennedy. But Spoto's theory makes sense: Bobby Kennedy's assassination may have been the bridge too far for Jackie. She had been very close to Bobby, and seemed to want to escape America totally after losing her brother-in-law. But when Onassis himself died after only 6 years of marriage, Jackie acknowledged she could no longer live through men and needed to live her own authentic life.This is when her early journalism training and insatiable appetite for reading became a saving grace, and Jackie O became an assistant editor at a New York publishing house. Spoto goes overboard here, though, quoting ad nauseum anyone who had worked with her who noted that she was a modest, hardworking woman who expected no favors and made her own coffee. "Jackie was, to put the matter briefly, a woman with an enormous capacity for learning, for appreciation, for hard work, for sheer elation -- she was, in other words, someone with a great soul." You have to get through quite a lot of this sugary writing, and there are surely more balanced biographies of Jackie Kennedy Onassis, but I learned to appreciate this woman and her intelligence, complexity, and devotion to her children, Caroline and John. I also admired her love for the written word and her skill as an editor, pushing beyond her identity as one of the world's most famous and richest widows, but also a career woman in her own right.

  • Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
    2018-11-26 18:03

    I love a good biography and after reading about the new show based on The Kennedy family, I wanted to learn more about Jackie. This biography covers her entire life, not just her time as First Lady, and it is well-researched, informative, interesting, and fascinating. Through Jackie's life, readers will learn and come to admire the way she handled herself in the face of disaster and tragedy. She is truly a remarkable person and Donald Spoto does a wonderful job portraying her as such in his biography, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis - A Life.I loved learning more about Jackie and her childhood and her young adult life. I found myself relating to her in more ways than I ever thought possible; for example, she LOVES to read, enjoys spending time by the sea, adores the arts and is an avid traveler. Any bookish person would appreciate her as she is truly a voracious reader. In fact, Truman Capote went on record saying that "she reads as much as anybody I know and a book a day isn't unusual for her." The biography is detailed throughout the Kennedy years and I was intrigued to learn about her influence over JFK regarding many intelligent matters. Not only was she charismatic, clever, and adored my many, her fashion sense was also idolized. In fact, I feel even today we are influenced by Jackie's impeccable style with her oversized sunglasses, pants with flats, and scarfs. I was also impressed with her interest in politics. She helped JFK win over many important people as she was so knowledgable of foreign rulers, political history, and many cultures outside of JFK's comfort zone. Jackie dealt with many tragedies in her time and not just the infamous death of her husband, but also an early miscarriage, a stillborn, and after Caroline and John's birth, the death of Patrick, who died only a few days old. How could someone endure such heartache so admirably? And I am not even taking into consideration the many things that occurred afterwards, which many people feel is a result of the Kennedy curse. I admire someone who can carry herself with such class and poise. This is rare since we currently live in a world that glorifies outlandish "Real Housewives" that are famous for behaving poorly. I find her to be not only a role model, but also refreshing and I can see why they referred to her as American royalty.Jackie also decided, after the death of JFK and her second husband, she would pursue her dream of becoming a book editor. Wow! She certainly didn't need to work, but chose to anyway and be a part of something interesting and fun. Once again, I admire that as many people her age, and with everything she has gone through, would just fade into the sunset and perhaps spend their days shopping and living the good life, but she chose to work and keep busy. How could you not respect that?Spoto's writing is captivating. He brings Jackie to life without ever embellishing too much. In fact, reading this biography has sparked an interest in me. I want to read more biographies and I am definitely going to check his biographies on Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Elizabeth Taylor and Princess Diana. If, like me, you have recently become even more interested in the Kennedy family due to the much talked about mini-series or you simply enjoy biographies, you must not miss this gem. Afterwards, I guarantee you find yourself in awe of Jackie's life and her many ups and downs. I think we all have something to learn from Jackie. I leave you with one powerful quote from the biography that resonated with me:"The good, the bad, the hardship, the joy, the tragedy, love and happiness are all interwoven into one single indescribably whole that is called life. You cannot separate the good from the bad--and perhaps there is no need to do so. After all, I have been through a lot and I have suffered a great deal. But I have had lots of happy moments. And so I have come to the conclusion that we must not expect too much from life, and we must not take things for granted" (page 273).

  • Nancy
    2018-12-07 20:45

    This book was a very interesting read. It portrayed Jackie as a lady, but also made you realize she was a person. She was not perfect although people held her to different standards. It was interesting to see how you think that people who are well off live happy, healthy lives, but it made me realize that they too have problems. I learned so much about this graceful, intelligent, graceful woman, and how much she changed from the time she married John F. Kennedy to her death. The biggest thing that resonanted with me was how well she raised her children. In the book she discusses that the most important thing you can do is to raise your children right. You might be the most accomplished person in the world, but your children are your biggest accomplishments. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys history, or is just interested in the life of this amazing woman.

  • Lisa
    2018-11-21 17:40

    When I first started reading this book my first thought was that the author was giving too much opinion & not enough facts. I kept reading (mainly because I admire Jackie O.) and was pleased that I did finish the book. Overall a good read and I did learn some interesting things about her life that I had not known before.

  • K
    2018-11-20 17:58

    A thorough and expansive look into Jackie Kennedy Onassis' inner life. An entirely comprehensive biography, the book circles both Jackie's and JFK's families and the forces that drove them together. Most significantly, the book views Jackie's life after the Kennedy assassination through the lens of PTSD. For all that had been written about "Jackie O's" glamour, style, and relationships, not much has been written about *her* inner life and the most primal, intimate factors that both plagued much of her life and ultimately served as a mountain she had to climb and cross in order to realize her true self. It is a story of survival, and of an individual molding and developing around her circumstances. The account of the Kennedy years is not as detailed as you might find in other books about JFK and Jackie. Similarly, the author gives the basic contours of, but not a swimmingly deep exploration of her marriage to Aristotle Onassis. (In fact, we, who are supposed to be confidantes in Jackie's biography, are rather blindsided by the news. ) But the reason for this is that the story unabashedly focuses on Jacqueline, not on the men in her life or on the families into which she married. It is a highly personalized account of a woman whom we often regard as a national treasure: adored, but stylized, always attractive, and therefore one-dimensional. This misses the utterly human portrait of an Everywoman (with some social benefits, of course), reacting as any reasomable person might to two assassinations of loved ones, of attempting to escape danger and fear, of suffering depression and suicidation, and of working for years to survive, of discovering purpose and stability in working as an editor, and of ultimately living in relative peace.A very human biography, and a true tribute to Jacqueline Bouvier.

  • Robyn
    2018-12-07 18:00

    This was an excellent biography. I loved learning about Mrs. Onassis. She was a very interesting and admirable lady. Not without faults, though, but that just made her more admirable in my opinion. Interesting things I learned from this book were that President Kennedy was incredibly unfaithful (more than I realized), but Jackie put up with it and that the reason for the famous photo of Jackie scrambling up on the back of the convertible after Kennedy was shot was not because she was scared and trying to get away, but because she was trying to get pieces of his brain that had been blown out. She succeeded.I also enjoyed reading about her job in the publishing world. That was not something I had heard a lot about in regards to her.I highly recommend this book.

  • Kokomo Princess
    2018-12-05 02:00

    Jackie was a fascinating person, and the book does a good job of portraying her life. However, "A Life" is a bit blinded by admiration; everything is written in a positive, flattering light. It would have been nice to learn the unflattering side as well, to contrast to the positive side. On the bright side, "A Life" is very well researched and written, especially since Jackie was such a private person. A good, insightful read, I just wish it had presented contrasting sides of Jackie's story, instead of documenting only the good.

  • Shanna Coleman
    2018-11-19 19:06

    I considered this a well-rounded overview of her life. I wanted to read it because I was always curious as to how much she really knew about her husband's infidelities and how she dealt with it. I was actually really surprised with the stories of her relatioships and life after the death of JFK. This book also gave a wonderful insight into the very different role that Jacquline Kennedy played as a first lady.

  • Helen Johnson
    2018-12-01 23:49

    This was a pretty interesting read however I felt like the author was definitely a fan of Jacqueline and didn't think much of the Kennedy family or of her own family. As you read it you wonder about some of the "facts" he presents, but at the back of the book are pages and pages of references, so you get the idea that it was very well researched.

  • Bonnie G
    2018-11-13 22:45

    The author presents her in a respectful, not worshipful way. She was amazing! Very intelligent and concerned for others, never for herself. Great role model for women, don't need to be as rich as she was to be as good a person as she was. The fictional account of her life that I read earlier was more exciting, but this one includes a lot of her later years which I found the most inspiring.

  • Catherine
    2018-11-30 00:01

    I've read a number of books about the Kennedy family, and in my opinion this is far the best biography of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis that I've read. Thoughtful, well-researched and carefully written, it is not in the least salacious. If you're curious about this interesting lady, I recommend this biography above all others.

  • cheri
    2018-11-14 01:00

    After reading Katherine Graham's book I just had to go read something on the Kennedy's to see if there were connections. Barely. Jacquline's book reference's the Graham's but not so much. Oh well, I liked this book too. Although, you begin to see such a dark cloud over that whole family.

  • Tracy
    2018-11-30 00:48

    Mr. Spoto liked to use big words to impress me. I wasn't impressed by him, but I was very interest to learn more about Jackie Kennedy. She was one tough lady and did some good things with her life. I didn't realize she was an editor, and some of the aspects that being an editor include.

  • David
    2018-12-05 01:01

    Detailed biography of Jackie Kennedy. Definitely shows how she was a deep-thinking and independent woman. Doesn't really get into any of the rumored affairs so the book was definitely pro-Jackie. Very interesting

  • Marianne Ogden
    2018-11-23 01:42

    Very well written and interesting. It left me feeling sad. I learned that the notion of Kennedy's Presidency being an American Camelot was totally based on the spin she initiated. She was a brilliant marketer.

  • Debbie Duran
    2018-12-02 19:50

    What an amazing woman she was & so intelligent. She read books ALL the time & taught herself a lot. Too bad her first husband was such a womanizer. I lost a lot of respect for him after reading this book.

  • jeanne
    2018-11-23 19:06

    Enjoyed this very muchWould recommend this to anyone who rememberscamelot An extraordinary woman. Helped me to understand the remarkable mother that she was and the reason for her marriage to onassis

  • Denise
    2018-12-06 22:07

    Loved it--although it reads like a history book at times, her life none the less is inspiring. Her courage and poise as well as beauty,fashion can never be replaced in American history, she will always be unique and loved by the American people.

  • Joan
    2018-11-19 17:56

    Fascinating account of her life - explains a lot about her relationship with JFK and his family based on her own family.

  • Kristi
    2018-11-14 19:41

    Well done bio on Jacki O. Very honest but portrays her in a good light. I learned a lot about her.

  • Rejean Vaillancourt
    2018-12-07 17:39

    Enjoyed it ,passed it on to a friend,This friend of mine enjoyed it and I gave the book to someone else.

  • Suzanna Irving
    2018-11-30 02:06

    Jacky lived an incredible life pre, during her First Lady tenor and post president Kennedy. An amazing woman with style and elegance which can't be rivaled by any First Ladies yet.

  • Susan
    2018-11-11 21:53

    A look back in time. Interesting details about her intellectual life.

  • Rita Higgins
    2018-12-05 01:47

    A very interesting book. It shows a different side of Jackie. We didn't hear how she suffered after the tragic lose of her husband. This captures it very well

  • Joy
    2018-11-22 20:56

    I would love to read this book on Jackie Kennedy.

  • Kristy
    2018-12-03 19:59

    I realized I didn't know much about Jackie O's life and didn't know how much heartache she went through.

  • Raechal
    2018-11-11 22:04

    You learn a lot more then you expected.

  • Angela Carter
    2018-11-22 02:09

    This was an entertaining book full of lots of information about Jackie's life from early childhood on. Even information about her parents. It was an easy read, and I enjoyed it. But I couldn't help but wonder where Donald Spot got his information.....did he really know exactly how she felt at specific times in her life? I don't know, maybe.