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4.5 out of 5 stars
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4.5 out of 5 stars
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on 29 January 2002
This book never appealed to me because of the semi-fictional way it seemed portray the characters. However after reading through the first fe chapters I soon warmed to the writers style. This book is amazingly easy to read. I was reading on the way back from holiday on a 20 hour flight from Australia and at times I had to stop because I was crying so much. The descriptions of the consequences of the assasinations of Jack and Bobby on their wives lives was truly heart rending; and the book shone new light on the (often unhappy) relationship between Teddy and the lovely Joan.
Taraborelli compiled a fascinating and addictive book on three amazing women.
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on 23 June 2014
Of all the books about the Kennedys I've read over the years, this one is one of the most revelatory and personal that I've yet read. Jackie and Ethel Kennedy I had known about largely through the supportive roles both played for their husbands in the prime of their political careers. Then there was the "Jackie O" phase and Jackie Kennedy's later career as an associate editor for Doubleday in New York. Ethel Kennedy, for her part, became the keeper of her husband's legacy following his murder in 1968. And as for Joan, the wife of Senator Ted Kennedy, prior to reading this book, I knew very little about her. Of the 3 women, she was, by far, the most modest, shy, and self-effacing.

The book is well-researched and contains 68 pages of 'Acknowledgements and Source Notes.' I highly recommend it for any reader with an interest in the life and times of a family who had such a profound and lasting impact on the U.S. cultural and political landscape in the latter half of the 20th century.
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Dozens of books have been written about Jacqueline Kennedy, the stylish wife of the late president. At least this one has some new information -- J. Randy Taraborrelli also explores the other Kennedy wives in "Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot." The problem is Taraborrelli's talent for making stuff up.

Jackie was a confident debutante who impressed (or irritated) people with her charm and refined sensibiltiies. Ethel a religious, exuberant gal who fit in with the rough'n'tumble Kennedy family. And Joan was a fragile, confidence-free waif who was troubled by alcoholism and her perpetually philandering husband Ted.

Taraborrelli explores their childhoods, early relationships, marriages and lives with their husbands, which peaked in the glory years of the so-called "Camelot." Then everything went downhill: Jackie and Ethel's husbands were assassinated, Joan's was permanently disgraced, and the three women went through nightmares of publicity, family deaths, miscarriages, remarriages and alcoholism.

The Jackie stuff in here is nothing new, nor does Taraborrelli have any new spins on it. In fact, she seems a bit dull beside the vibrant Ethel and tragic Joan, both of whom are revealed in all their tarnished glory. In fact, it's the information about those two ladies that keep this book from being a total loss.

Unlike prior biographers have done, Taraborrelli seems interested in the many facets of Ethel and Joan's personalities: Ethel was both ruthless and compassionate, utterly loving and very rough. Rather than portraying the forceful woman as a harpy, as others have done, Taraborrelli focuses on her complexity. And Joan is shown as a sweet, almost ideal girl who succumbed to a family disease as she was humilated in front of the entire world.

So long as he sticks to the facts, Taraborrelli is a capable biographer. Unfortunately, he launches into obviously fictional anecdotes and conversations, scuppering much of his credibility, and often fiddles with the facts to make the Kennedys seem like one big happy family, despite all the cheating and infighting. Since when was everyone so fond of the prudish, cold Rose?

The information about Ethel and Joan Kennedy is outstanding, and actually makes these underrated ladies seem more interesting than their legendary sister-in-law. But Taraborrelli's little "conversations" should have been saved for a novel.
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on 28 July 2016
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It explained the relationships of the three women who married into the Kennedy family, their feelings, emotions and struggles. The journey this book takes you on helps you to understand the personalities of these fabulous women.
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on 29 March 2014
I enjoyed this book - it was an easy read, and although probably a bit "off the wall" at times the insight into the Kennedy set up was interesting and intriguing.
The Kennedy men certainly don't cover themselves in glory - Ted in particular treated Joan appallingly throughout their marriage - whilst they were all philanderers Ted comes across as being cruel and heartless. His attitude to the Chipaquadick incident is horrific! I would recommend this to anyone who is fascinated by the Kennedy enigma as it is a very easy book to dip in and out of without being too immersed in references and heavy factual details
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Dozens of books have been written about Jacqueline Kennedy, the stylish wife of the late president. At least this one has some new information -- J. Randy Taraborrelli also explores the other Kennedy wives in "Jackie, Ethel, Joan: Women of Camelot." The problem is Taraborrelli's talent for making stuff up.

Jackie was a confident debutante who impressed (or irritated) people with her charm and refined sensibiltiies. Ethel a religious, exuberant gal who fit in with the rough'n'tumble Kennedy family. And Joan was a fragile, confidence-free waif who was troubled by alcoholism and her perpetually philandering husband Ted.

Taraborrelli explores their childhoods, early relationships, marriages and lives with their husbands, which peaked in the glory years of the so-called "Camelot." Then everything went downhill: Jackie and Ethel's husbands were assassinated, Joan's was permanently disgraced, and the three women went through nightmares of publicity, family deaths, miscarriages, remarriages and alcoholism.

The Jackie stuff in here is nothing new, nor does Taraborrelli have any new spins on it. In fact, she seems a bit dull beside the vibrant Ethel and tragic Joan, both of whom are revealed in all their tarnished glory. In fact, it's the information about those two ladies that keep this book from being a total loss.

Unlike prior biographers have done, Taraborrelli seems interested in the many facets of Ethel and Joan's personalities: Ethel was both ruthless and compassionate, utterly loving and very rough. Rather than portraying the forceful woman as a harpy, as others have done, Taraborrelli focuses on her complexity. And Joan is shown as a sweet, almost ideal girl who succumbed to a family disease as she was humilated in front of the entire world.

So long as he sticks to the facts, Taraborrelli is a capable biographer. Unfortunately, he launches into obviously fictional anecdotes and conversations, scuppering much of his credibility, and often fiddles with the facts to make the Kennedys seem like one big happy family, despite all the cheating and infighting. Since when was everyone so fond of the prudish, cold Rose?

The information about Ethel and Joan Kennedy is outstanding, and actually makes these underrated ladies seem more interesting than their legendary sister-in-law. But Taraborrelli's little "conversations" should have been saved for a novel.
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on 4 February 2015
J. Randy Taraborrelli is one of my favourite biographers, I own nearly all of his books and I was not disappointed in this one. It's a big book, but I couldn't put it down and it read very easily so although long wasn't a chore but a real joy to read.
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on 25 September 2001
I've always been fascinated by the Kennedy's, and love a good gossipy read. So if you're like me, avoid this title! It doesn't reveal anything that hasn't already been hashed and rehashed over the years. The only - bizarre - difference is that Mr Taraborrelli simply speculates much of the story, and imagines thoughts and conversations that these women had. I was amazed - there is very little reported fact. Just acres of flimsy, unnecessary speculation.
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on 19 October 2014
A wonderful and enlightening read. My views of Jacqueline Kennedy were completely dispelled - through reading this book, i now see jackie as a special person who despite her own tragedy and the travesties against her was loyal, thoughtful, sympathetic and supportive of others. I knew little about Ethel - I now know more . I knew less about Joan and through the book now understand what a difficult life she had and the disappointments she suffered in her marriage.
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on 22 July 2014
This has been a great read. After reading " After Camelot", I was equally engrossed in the Kennedy history and I have gone on to buy more books about this fascinating period. This is one of my most favorite reads and I have no doubt that I will read it again in a few years time.
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