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America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Paperback – 27 Sep 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin; New Ed edition (27 Sept. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140264108
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140264104
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 4.1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 310,221 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Product Description

Amazon Review

Fresh from her well-received life of Queen Elizabeth II, the historian and biographer Sarah Bradford turns her hand to America's own answer to royalty, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Painstakingly detailed, impressively fair, the result is the most definitive account yet of a woman who captured the imagination of the American public like no First Lady before or after her. Bradford seems to have interviewed almost everyone who had ever been intimate with Onassis, including George Plimpton, Gore Vidal, Joan Kennedy and even a few ex-lovers. Most notably of all, Jackie's sister Lee Radziwill speaks with unexpected frankness about the mixture of rivalry and affection that marked their relationship since childhood. Jackie-lovers, take note: this is no hagiography, and its subject certainly comes off as no saint. As gracious as this American icon could be, she also had moments of coldness and even greed, including a particularly shocking moment by the bedside of Aristotle Onassis's dying son. Yet, in the end, non-airbrushed anecdotes like these only serve to make this most private of public figures even more fascinating.

Jackie was, as Bradford writes, "a complex woman of many facets, concealed insecurities and intricate defence mechanisms, a strong urge toward the limelight contrasting with a desire for privacy and concealment.... Behind the mask of beauty and fame lay a shrewd mind, a ruthless judgment of people, antennae finely turned to any sign of pretentiousness or pomposity, and a wry, even raunchy sense of humour". The figure who emerges from subsequent pages is as compelling as the heroine of any novel, and it is to Bradford's credit that she doesn't seem to have fallen completely under her subject's spell. Her approach is sympathetic, but never fawning; candid, but never sensationalist. For those who are curious not about Jackie's glamour but about its source, America's Queen offers an unprecedented look at the flesh-and-blood woman behind the Camelot myth. --Carlotta DeWitt --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Exceptionally intelligent and well-written . . . a thumping good read (Daily Mail)

Bradford has a real grasp of history and the ability to make it spark into new life (Anne Chisholm Sunday Telegraph)

Bradford's forte, ever since she was a history-mad girl, is thinking herself into other lives (Daily Telegraph)

Long before Diana Spencer, Jacqueline Kennedy was the world's ultimate fantasy princess . . . In public, at JFK's side, Jackie's air of breathless sophistication, her chic cultural warmth complemented [him] perfectly. In private she could be softly malicious . . . scurrilously funny, and full of the entertaining intolerance of those who are young, rich, beautiful . . . a lucid, well-written new biography (Guardian)

There has not been, nor will there be, a better biography of Jackie (Times Literary Supplement)

The definitive biography (Anthony Howard Sunday Times)

A masterly biography (Daily Telegraph)

A timely reminder of the contradictory and complicated character of the First Lady . . . a revealing portrait (Daily Mail)

Sarah Bradford is very good, and very detailed, about the Kennedys. A good biography, and a good history (Evening Standard) --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 3 July 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a book that I would normally give a wide berth. I received this as a Christmas pressie and I have to say that I was for the most time, thoroughly absorbed in a candid text that sought to deconstruct the myth that was Jackie. Some chapters of the book offered little new - her early life and her craving for validation particularly from powerful men. The book confirmed some of my worst suspiscions about the lady herself, and the mass of contradiction that made up her character and influenced her life; Her fear of poverty ran counter to an almost insatiable desire to spend. Her emotional warmth, beguiling wit and intelligence were coupled with a scheming edginess and skittish treatment of people she would often mistakenly class as minions. I found the book intriuging; as it drew to a close I felt little envy towards the women who on several occasions appeared to have held the world in the palm of her hand. Rather I had sympathy and a sense of frustration towards the icon of American Dreams. Sarah Bradford has done her research well and the title of the book is a retrospective challenge to the sad and tortuous underbelly of Jackie O's life. I felt there could have been less attention to financial fripperies and more serious reflection on the psychology of someone such as Jackie who was driven in all aspects of her life. This was what I wanted to know more of. Nevertheless I felt that the writer managed to balance all elements of a fascinating life without descending in mawkish sentimentality. Incidentally I was impressed with her deft handling of the momentous political events taking place around Jackie, and her ability to demonstrate chameleon like qualities in such serious backdrops, uber-charming campaigning for JFK's Presidency in the aftermath of miscarriage and infidelity.Read more ›
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Williams on 24 Aug. 2007
Format: Paperback
Although not perhaps what could be called a 'scholarly' account of Jackie's life, Bradford's light and chatty prose makes for very easy yet satisfying reading - like the best kind of gossip, I was frequently agog to know what would happen next. Bradford succeeds brilliantly in conveying the glamour and allure of the White House years, as well as the horror and sorrow of November, 1963. Nor does the light-weight tone suggested by the bright pink cover mean that Bradford hasn't done her homework. She uses an incredibly wide variety of source material and seems to have identified and interviewed many of those who were closest to Jackie, JFK and Onassis during their life-times.

This chunky biography is one of the most beguiling and effective 'page turners' I've ever come across and I would unhesitatingly recommend it as a beach or pool-side companion.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By C on 30 Jun. 2003
Format: Paperback
I found this book to be very well written and really gave an insight to the life and personality of Jackie Kennedy. It did not take on the usual style of some biographies of literally being a linear account of someone's life. Having known practically nothing about Jackie Kennedy prior to reading this I thought it was a vivid portayal.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Thea Schoeman on 5 Dec. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I was very shocked - it seems to me that sex and money was the no. 1 thing on that high class people's list.
And then power and corruption. I could not put the kindle down. And I learn a lot about the politics and in-fights.
I feel sorry for Jackie must of the times - just show that money don't buy love and a happy life.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By ccbergeruk@wanadoo.fr on 26 Jan. 2002
Format: Paperback
I enjoyed this book so much. It is well written, full of startling facts. My husband begged me to get my face out of this book! I finished the book wondering do i like Jackie O, admire her or just feel sad for all she and her family endured. The effort that must have gone into this book by the author is amazing.
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12 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 21 Jan. 2001
Format: Hardcover
.I have just read this book and am left with a mixture of thoughts about Jackie. She was obviously a very intelligent and perceptive woman. She had great style and elegance which has inspired women ever since. She seemed to be highly sensitive and on occasions individuals could be 'frozen out' if they said the 'wrong thing'! She was a very complex woman and I am sure there were unresolved areas in her emotional life that drove the extremely ambitious side of her nature and also gave her the intense desire for copious wealth. Having read about Jackie, warts and all, I still feel admiration for her. I still like her.
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Format: Audio Cassette Verified Purchase
I knew very little about Jacqueline Kennedy and this book has not increased my knowledge. I still have no idea as to why she stayed with a serially unfaithful husband was it for position, power and money or was there any love? Why the affair with her brother in law, Robert Kennedy? Onassis was a very wealthy man but after her breathy excitement of reburbishing the White House and entertaining all the talented people of the time, why marry a very ill educated, unattractive vulgar man? How did she cope with a menage a trois and the field day the press had. Mrs Kennedy Onassis must have had so little self esteem to be ill treated by these men. Very little is said about Templeman and why there was no marriage? A sad life.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 27 Nov. 2001
Format: Audio Cassette
This is probably the most thorough biography of Jackie Kennedy. It starts from her birth on Long Island in 1929 and ends with her death in May 1994. It is very detailed, with great emphasis and many pages dedicated to JFKs rise to power. It is facinating but left me wondering how much of it was true...
Definately a good book to read if you know nothing about the Kennedy's - you do form a pretty colourful picture of the cliquey clan when you have read this book.
It is possibly slightly too long - being 603 pages long - you need a strong bag to carry it around with you! I am glad I have read it, but it left me slightly cold.
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