The best books on Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

The Books I Picked & Why

America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

By Sarah Bradford

America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Why this book?

Sarah Bradford also wrote one of the best biographies of Queen Elizabeth II. Her Jackie biography is authoritative. It covers everything from her parents' troubled marriage to Jackie’s own disappointing liaisons with powerful men. The life she built in New York after the death of Onassis is proof of what an extraordinary woman she was, perhaps the most important of America’s former first ladies. She was in a league with Eleanor Roosevelt and Abigail Adams. She had an intelligence and discernment equal to theirs but with style all her own.


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As We Remember Her: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the Words of Her Family and Friends

By Carl Sferrazza Anthony

As We Remember Her: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the Words of Her Family and Friends

Why this book?

This volume collects the memories of people who were close to Jackie. Carl Anthony met Jackie, and better, he was in touch with Jackie’s friend Nancy Tuckerman, who helped him with addresses and telephone numbers. These are people who were willing to speak about Jackie following her premature death at the age of 65. Anthony is also an expert on presidential wives and families.


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The Power of Myth

By Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers

The Power of Myth

Why this book?

Campbell studied religion and spirituality. This book originated with the TV interviews Campbell gave to Bill Moyers. Campbell talked about the origins of myths around the world. He also talked about how ordinary people, like Jackie Kennedy, could be transformed into mythic immortals. This happened due to her witnessing her husband’s death and her leading the world in mourning during his funeral. Jackie, who saw the interviews on television took the initiative to make them into a book. It was one of her bestsellers. Few people know how her passion for it arose from the way it shone a light on her own life.


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Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy

By Caroline Kennedy, Michael Beschloss

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy

Why this book?

In the year after JFK died, Jackie sat down with the historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., to record her recollections of life with her husband. They came soon after the events they recall. She trusted Schlesinger, who was a special assistant in the White House to her husband. The recordings give a special sense of who she was because you can hear her voice. They are also time capsules of another era when smoking and drinking were more common. You can hear ice cubes in glasses and cigarettes being lighted.


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Jacqueline Kennedy : The White House Years: Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum

By Hamish Bowles, Arthur M. Schlesinger, Rachael Lambert Mellon

Jacqueline Kennedy : The White House Years: Selections from the John F. Kennedy Library and Museum

Why this book?

This is an exhibition catalogue that began with a show at the Kennedy Library: the clothes Jackie wore in the White House. It has a smart introduction by Hamish Bowles, an editor at Vogue. He shows how her clothing choices were not just about looking pretty. They were about her historical vision for the role of the president’s wife, her sense of the women who had come before her, and of the American craftsmen at work in the fashion industry. The pictures are ravishing. 


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