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

3.88  ·  Rating Details  ·  3,016 Ratings  ·  400 Reviews
In 1964, Jacqueline Kennedy recorded seven historic interviews about her life with John F. Kennedy. Now, decades later, these conversations can be heard in this digitally re-mastered eight and a half hour audio program. This audiobook includes the foreword written and read by Caroline Kennedy; introduction written and read by historian Michael Beschloss; and the photos fro ...more
Published December 27th 2011 by Hyperion AudioBooks (first published January 1st 2011)
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Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Whatever you may think of Jack's politics or his performance as president, you have to marvel at his mastery of personal interaction.

Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr. was a devoted historian with a specific agenda for these interviews. He was the orchestrator, with a list of questions to which he doggedly adhered. He wanted to know what Jack thought of this or that politician, how Jack felt during certain crises such as Cuba One and Cuba Two, and generally what life was like in the White House for the
Dec 08, 2011 Roxanne rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I can't imagine why Caroline Kennedy published this material. Her mother gave vague instructions on these particular taped conversations with Schlesinger. In Caroline's forward to the book she indicates her reasoning as to why she decided to go ahead with the book. I think Caroline made a big mistake.

First, you have got to be an older adult (at least 60 years old) to even know who all of the people are that are discussed. Jackie's answers to questions are choppy and it is very difficult to foll
I will miss driving around in my car without Jackie Kennedy to keep me company. Not being a huge fan of audio books this one was rather unique in that Jackie was the speaker. A series of conversations she did with Schlesinger, not long after the assassination of JFK are fascinating. Jackie speaks about many of JFK's contemporaries and what he thought of them. We also get some snippets of their personal life in the White House. Although personally I would have liked more of the personal and less ...more
Julie Ekkers
Oct 15, 2011 Julie Ekkers rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audio-book, history
Fascinating! Arthur Schlesinger Jr. recorded these interviews with Jacqueline Kennedy about four months after her husband was assasinated. I think the timing is important because I thought Jackie's desire to shape JFK's legacy was very apparent in these interviews. That doesn't mean that what she says is inaccurate, only that I found her to be very much aware of what she was saying and how it could impact the image she was trying to shape that would endure. The interviews are also a timepiece in ...more
janet Burke
Dec 06, 2011 janet Burke rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the book and 8 cd collection of Jacqueline Kennedy's historic interview with historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr. that took place in January, 1964, just a couple of months after JFK's assassination, and were locked away for 50 years until their release this year. Without going into great detail about this book/cd collection, which would take pages of writing, I will just say that I was very surprised by just how informed and involved Mrs. Kennedy turned out to be. In spite of her own claim ...more
May 18, 2012 Mari rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Favorite qutoes from the book by Jackie:

"He (JFK) was looking for something in books."

"He could always go to sleep, too, which I thought was so important. he could just turn it off."

"I think he found his heroes more in the past."

"(Jack believed) you must always leave the way open for conciliation. Everything changes in politics--your friends are your enemies next weed and vice versa."

"Always have impeccable manners and leave the possibility of conciliation open."

"Jack forgave so quickly."

"He alw
Linda Appelbaum
Oct 13, 2012 Linda Appelbaum rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Listening to Jackie Kennedy's breathy, whispery voice reminisce about her life with her husband was like being a fly on the wall! She was such a private person that hearing her talk for hours was startling! The questions and proddings by Mr. Schlesinger were rather banal and not terribly interesting when you think of all the questions he could have asked like what did Jackie think of this person or that event as well as what her husband thought. What I learned was that we really was a lady, some ...more
False Millennium
I read the book and didn't listen to the tapes. The book had footnotes on the bottom of each page, which was helpful when you are discussing lesser known (or forgotten) people of the past.

I understand her wish to remember while the memories are fresh, but I wish in her lifetime she had gone back and amended or added to, given the wisdom of time and age.

Her more interesting comments were on the personal quirks of people, and her understanding of her role as "wife." She had little respect for femi
Aug 01, 2012 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Kennedy era was before my time, and I think that might be why I enjoyed listening to this book so much. Hearing Jackie's experiences and thoughts in her own voice was fascinating for me. The background noises--ice clinking in glasses, road noise, planes flying overhead and John Jr interrupting the interviews--added to the experience and the casualness with which the interviews took place.

Frustrating, though, was how often Schlesinger needed to prompt Jackie's memories, which made me question
Mar 01, 2012 Joe rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
These candid and "off-the-record" interviews done only four or five months after JFK's assassination offer not only an incredibly intimate glimpse into the perspective of Jacqueline Kennedy, but also a second-hand glimpse into the President's own perspective. While her own opinions about the issues of her husband's presidency and about the many individuals surrounding are very interesting, I found the moments in which she spoke of her husband's private opinions even more fascinating. (For exampl ...more
Dee Kridel
Nov 01, 2011 Dee Kridel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was a really bittersweet reading experience for anyone my age who remembers the excitement, hope and optimism of the years of the Kennedy administration. I expected to love it and I did.

This is a priceless gift from Caroline Kennedy and her family. I'm sure there were passages her mother would have winced at becoming public (hilarious opinions on some public figures, especially Lyndon Johnson and Charles de Gaulle), but Mrs. Kennedy's insights into the campaigns and actual governing are inv
Hayley Kemp
Feb 04, 2016 Hayley Kemp rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This gives a very interesting perspective to the Kennedy years in the White House. Arthur S. and Jackie discuss meetings with world leaders, what the environment was like in the White House during the Cuban Missile Crisis, their marriage and daily routine as the first family. This interview took place a few months after Kennedy was assassinated. I listened to the audio and felt like I was in the room with them. The recording picks up Jackie lighting her cigarette, exhaling smoke, ice cubes in he ...more
Feb 27, 2016 Lisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Informative unedited conversations with former first lady, Jackie Kennedy and Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in the months following Kennedy's assassination. I was stunned at how scornful Jackie comes across in these interviews, as she attacks "masculine women" (any woman who works beyond a secretarial role) and describes her marriage as "Victorian" whereby the wife's sole purpose in life is to make her husband happy and create a pleasant environment at home. She maintains that she never read White Hous ...more
Dec 03, 2012 Alicia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
These conversations are an incredible piece of history. JFK may not have confided every policy detail to his wife. But, what he did share, Jackie had a unique perspective and insight on how and why he dealt with a particular issue. I think these recordings, along with the work of reputable historians, add a lot to the historical record.

I also developed much more respect for the woman that Jackie Kennedy was. She lived in a time when women were supposed to know their place. But, by carving out a
Sherry (sethurner)
I might not have listened to these oral history interviews with JFK's widow if a good friend hadn't loaned the set to me and suggested I'd like it. So, over about a month I listened in fascination to a series of interviews Jackie did with Arthur M. Schlesinger Jr., in 1964. Jackie was remarkably candid in the conversations, revealing all sorts of details about the First Family's life in the White House, insights into her husband's personality and approach to the challenges of the Presidency. The ...more
Jan 31, 2012 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listen to the audible version of this book and enjoyed it immensely. I was just a child when JFK was assassinated and I found this very historically interesting. It's an interesting perspective of what life is like both getting to and once in the White House. Politics are politics no matter if it is now or half a century ago.

It really is amazing that Mrs. Kennedy was able to sit down and start having these conversations about four months after sitting next to her husband and having him killed
Oct 29, 2011 Julie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I picked this up after hearing a few excerpts on various new shows. I wasn't really sure I would make it through all of it because while I am generally interested in history, the Kennedy era has never been one of my focuses. That may change, now.

It would have been interesting to read what Jacqueline Kennedy said if this were only a book. But to hear it in her own voice, with glasses tinkling, children playing and airplanes flying overhead was fascinating. It added a depth and clarity that I don
Leah K
May 21, 2012 Leah K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, interviews by Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.

These interviews took place only months after the assassination of JFK. But you won't hear about the assassination in these interviews (the interviewer chose to steer away from that since she was also doing the Manchester interviews at the same time which did focus on the assassinations. The interviewer had no urge to make her relive the horrific day m
Mar 20, 2012 Tobinsfavorite rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I borrowed this from the library and listened to the CDs. I hope, one day, to have time to read through the transcriptions because I know there are footnotes in the book that may be very interesting. (The few that I looked at were.) I liked this as a slice-of-life memoir, although it is not a memoir. I liked it as a peek into politics in the decade before I was born. I would really like to be able to ask Mrs Kennedy of 1964 whether, when she she said she would never think of voting differently f ...more
Sep 22, 2011 Max rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The great thing about this book is the story of a young idealistic couple who made it to the white house did politics in a world dominated by the old war-burned men. The interesting thing about this book is the recount that Jacqueline (Kennedy at that time) about her life just a few months after her husband's dead. Now, the e-book edition includes the original sound recordings and some introductory videos which are really very helpful when trying to understanding the politic atmosphere back then ...more
Dec 16, 2012 Patty rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the audio 8 CD interview/conversations that Jacqueline Kennedy had with historian Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., in 1964,4 months after the assassination of her husband. The book is the transcript of that historical recording. You really need to hear Jacqueline Kennedy telling the story rather than just reading what was said. I gave the audio oral history 5 stars because it felt just really "amazing". I don't think the written recollections would give me that special personal insite....althoug ...more
Tom Mueller
Feb 22, 2012 Tom Mueller rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: All Folks who have an interest in 20th Century History
I just finished listening to this wonderful series of seven interviews of Jackie Kennedy, as interviewed by Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., just months after JFK's death. This is critical reading for all who have an interest in Camelot or the era.
Caroline Kennedy has published the recordings and transcripts (Caroline also wrote and read the Preface) to coincide with the 50th anniversary of President Kennedy's inauguration. Jacqueline stipulated the recordings not be published until after her death. Mrs
Luis Rider
Como documento histórico y para conocer más acerca del entorno Kennedy maravilloso, pero algo denso y pesado. Se centra principalmente en Jackie como mujer de JFK y no como Primera Dama y su papel durante el mandato, lo que verdaderamente interesa y se quiere leer a la hora de comprar un libro sobre ella y no sobre el.
Aug 09, 2013 Dawn rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Moments of sweetness, moments of nostalgia, followed by moments of "OMG, I can't believe she said that!" followed by interminable sections of "I'm really not that interested in 1963 White House politics." If you are a political history fan, or a Kennedy White House fanatic, you'll really love these tapes. While I was fascinated with Jacqueline Kennedy's willingness to share her impressions and how she felt about people, the majority of the time was spent talking about people I wasn't familiar wi ...more
May 05, 2013 Kristine rated it really liked it
Several months after President Kennedy was assassinated, Jacqueline Kennedy was interviewed on tape about her life with the president and her recollections of how he viewed world leaders, current events, and the issues of the day. These were sealed away in a vault for 50 years, then opened and produced by her daughter, Caroline Kennedy. I enjoyed hearing the voice of Jacqueline Kennedy and even John Jr a couple times, but often didn't know what she was talking about due to not being born until a ...more
Jan 05, 2012 DJ rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I listened to the discs while driving to work. I was stunned at Mrs. Kennedy's perceptions of history making public figures. It was moving to hear a 3 year old John jr. burst into the room while taping and his brief exchange with the interviewer. The book which is a transcription of the taped interviews is fascinating too, because in the book you see candid photographs, and the footnotes clear up the confusion I had while listening to descriptions. I voted this book my favorite read of 2011 at m ...more
Dec 26, 2012 Christi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found this book to be fascinating, if a bit slow going. I thoroughly enjoyed hearing all the 'dirt' and behind the scenes views on everyone from Johnson to de Gaulle and cabinet members. Views on inauguration and campaigning were so interesting -- it's a view that is rarely seen. I wish more audio histories were available to get candid views on the issues rather than the editing and rehearsed politically correct views seen in most memoirs or autobiographies released by first families. Regardle ...more
Amy Paget
Jun 13, 2015 Amy Paget rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My political awareness truly began in February 1963, when as a Canadian youngster, I remember my father telling me "the government has fallen". I asked him, "Does that mean there aren't any laws anymore?" and hearing his careful explanation about the rule of law and parliamentary politics.

Like many youngsters around the world, I was enthralled with the Kennedy magic and this week I have gone back 50 years in time listening to Jackie Kennedy's voice as recorded during 7 conversations with Arthur
Rose Waterrose
May 06, 2014 Rose Waterrose rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm glad that Caroline released these interviews. I was very young when Kennedy was assassinated, but I remember the shock of everyone around me. I remember watching the funeral and seeing their children standing there as the funeral procession passed. I'm sad that the interviews done later will not be available until 2067...long after I'm gone. Much of the politics of the time and later are put into a perspective that makes a light bulb go off realizing why certain things happened as they did. ...more
Dec 22, 2011 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I listened to this in the car. There were a lot of interesting things and there some boring things. One thing that I took from this is that every First Lady witnesses A LOT of conversations, meetings and historical events. Of course I have always known that the First Lady is there and a part of the President's life. But I never put much thought into the First Lady being an asset to negotiations or that she intimately knew so many statesmen. It was insightful and well worth the time.
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Librarian’s note: There is more than one author in the Goodreads database with this name.

Caroline Bouvier Kennedy is an American author and attorney. She is the daughter and only surviving child of U.S. President John F. Kennedy and his wife, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis. An older sister, Arabella, died shortly after her birth in 1956. Brother John F. Kennedy, Jr. died in a plane crash in 19
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“During this and the next six sittings, starting with a quavering voice that grew stronger with time, Jacqueline unburdened herself as the tape machine also picked up the sounds of her lighting cigarettes, of ice cubes in glasses, dogs barking in the distance, trucks rumbling down N Street, and jets roaring overhead.” 0 likes
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