The best Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis books

2 authors have picked their favorite books about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and why they recommend each book.

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Book cover of Just Being Jackie

Just Being Jackie

By Margaret Cardillo, Julia Denos (illustrator),

Why this book?

This is the perfect companion book to my book When Jackie Saved Grand Central. Both books fill out the story of two important buildings that she restored - The White House and Grand Central Terminal. In this story, you learn more about Jackie as a child. And I’m IN LOVE with the illustrations! Denos captured Jackie’s beauty and strength in drawings that remind me of fashion sketches.

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Book cover of America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

By Sarah Bradford,

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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The best books on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

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

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

By Carl Sferrazza Anthony,

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.

From the list:

The best books on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Book cover of Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy

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

By Caroline Kennedy, Michael Beschloss,

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.

From the list:

The best books on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

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

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

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

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. 

From the list:

The best books on the life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

Book cover of The Power of Myth

The Power of Myth

By Joseph Campbell, Bill Moyers,

Why this book?

The essence of negotiation is being willing and able to challenge everything. This is the message of Campbell’s insightful work. The Power of Myth shows us how to negotiate with the system as it tries to manipulate us to behave in ways that do not always serve our interests. “It’s a very grim thing to be a modern human being,” Campbell says. I revisit this book every couple of years and always find new ways to make the world a better place to live.
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Book cover of Jackie and Maria: A Novel of Jackie Kennedy & Maria Callas

Jackie and Maria: A Novel of Jackie Kennedy & Maria Callas

By Gill Paul,

Why this book?

The most up-to-date of my choices, this fabulous book is about Jackie Kennedy and Maria Callas, who both had relationships with Ari Onassis. I had obviously heard of both women in their very different contexts as wife of the president and famous opera singer but didn’t know how intimately they were connected. I love the way Gill Paul’s sparky, pacey novel brings both women to life in all their flawed, fascinating glory. 

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