I was excited to review this book for several reasons:
1) I’ve always admired Jackie. (Someone made a comment when I was in first grade that I resembled her. And from that point forward, I was keenly aware of who she was.)
2) Jackie captivated the world long before I paid attention to it, so her timeline was blurred for me. My knowledge started at the end of her life; after many of her secrets were already public knowledge. I never had a firm grasp on the changes she went through, and when.
3) I’ve always believed that she was a chosen leader, without carrying the title. I can’t imagine anyone else being the face of America in mourning. She is someone worth studying for that reason alone.
Tina Cassidy does not disappoint in writing this book. She fills in the gaps and ties up the loose ends as to who the movers and shakers were in her world. Though it claims to cover one remarkable year of her life, it really goes from beginning to end, to help the reader understand who she was, and why.
Graceful in the midst of tragedy. Strength masked by gentleness. Brilliance matched by determination. Persuasive, when needed. Talented in ways even she did not realize. Jackie fully understood the art of presentation, and it carried over into all aspects of her life, long before she knew how much she would need this skill.
In many ways, it’s what allowed her to lead a nation through grief. She valued her privacy and stability, but knew when to dangle a few photo opportunities to spotlight a worthy cause. She won support for many by saying very little. Her presence was enough and spoke volumes. She lived a life of class, even though the media, after a period of years where any negative publicity was off limits, publicized many truths she would have preferred to keep quiet. Jackie loved the fairy-tale version of her story as much as her adoring public.
I am thankful this book did not specifically focus on this one year in 1975, with the death of Onassis. Jackie’s strengths were apparent before, during and after this particular year. She deepened all that she stood for, and discovered many things about herself she may not have, had she not lived such a life where tragedy and luxury collided.
I learned several facts about Jackie that I had not known before. Most daunting was that there was a threat of assassination against John before he even took office; a plot to blow up the President Elect in Florida, but the suspect changed his plans when he saw Jackie withe the children, as they attended church.
This fact alone reveals the depths of the public life Jackie chose to live. How she did it with such class raises my respect for her even more.
I do recommend this book. The history of Jackie Kennedy Onassis cannot help but be an intriguing read.
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