New book shows another side to Jackie Kennedy

2011-09-12 07:55

New York – It’s a side of Jacqueline Kennedy only friends and family knew.

Funny and inquisitive, canny and cutting.

In Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F Kennedy, the former first lady was not yet the jet-setting celebrity of the late 1960s or the literary editor of the 70s and 80s.

But she was also nothing like the soft-spoken fashion icon of the three previous years.

She was in her mid-30s, recently widowed, but dry-eyed and determined to set down her thoughts for history.

Kennedy met with historian and former White House aide Arthur M Schlesinger Jr in her 18th century Washington house in the spring and early summer of 1964.

At home and at ease, as if receiving a guest for afternoon tea, she chatted about her husband and their time in the White House.

There are no spectacular revelations in the Schlesinger discussions and virtually nothing about JFK’s assassination.

John F Kennedy’s health problems and his extra-marital affairs were still years from public knowledge and from the knowledge of aides such as Schlesinger, who would often say he saw no “bimbos” in the White House halls.

Jacqueline Kennedy speaks warmly throughout of her husband, remembering him as dynamic and perceptive and free of grudges, an assignment his wife and others took on for him.

The book is coming out on Wednesday as part of an ongoing celebration of the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy’s first year in office.

Jacqueline Kennedy died in 1994, and Schlesinger in 2007.

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