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A Lady, First: My Life in the Kennedy White House and the American Embassies of Paris and Rome

3.89 of 5 stars 3.89  ·  rating details  ·  139 ratings  ·  21 reviews
Letitia Baldrige is the woman best known as Jackie Kennedy's social secretary during the White House years. But in this fascinating memoir Baldrige reveals a career sparkling with a host of other achievements: embassy work in an era when women rarely were given jobs overseas, becoming the first female executive at Tiffany & Co., and founding one of the first companies ...more
Paperback, 304 pages
Published October 1st 2002 by Penguin Books (first published January 1st 2001)
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Community Reviews

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Adrianna
Very empowering book for women in a time they weren't allowed to be empowered. Baldridge shared enough of herself to satiate anyones peeked interest in the Kennedy affairs, and politics, while still remaining lady like in the sense of not divulging too many of her former employers secrets. However, the title leads you to believe the book centers around the White House. That is but a minor role in her life, spending far more time on her work abroad and in NYC. I would definitely recommend.
Meg
the chapters devoted to the kennedy years were pretty interesting. the rest was a little self-absorbed for me.
Daye
Her autobiography, "A lady, first", was very inspiring for me because she lived a life that I dream of.
Vasilena
Love this better, more filler version of Tish's autobiography. Gave a much clearer picture on her personal life and relationships, which I think the first book of the sorts (written in 1968) couldn't really do. You fill find some of the same anecdotes though!
I appreciated her sharing the reasons for quitting her White House job, something that was left out (or was at least vaguely described) in her first book. Tish is an inspiration for me, especially when talking about the women's movement ("di
...more
Helene Slowik
a summary of a life that shows the secret to success is to have a family with lots of connections. Yes, some hard work may be required but it's easier after the connections produced the opportunity.
Katie Clark
It's amazing how much she accomplished as a woman, without seeing herself as a feminist. She worked hard and paved the way for other women. Overall it was an enjoyable book but at times it dragged and there was quite a bit of name dropping.
Diana
Started out boring, got good then turned a little show-offy before ending boring.
Sunny
A nearly total retread of her much older book Diamonds & Diplomats which I preferred.
Name-obsessed-moron
Wonderful book & life.
Meg
This memoir reads as fantastic travel writing mixed with romance and business savvy. As a public relations practitioner, I was drawn to Baldrige's success stories as a female PR professional when the industry was first becoming mainstream. I found her stories about working in the Kennedy White House engaging, but felt the plot moved along more quickly in the beginning parts of the book when Baldrige moved to Europe and then back to the states to work at Tiffany's.
Jordyne
Really nice read. Baldridge is an engaging story teller with non-fussy prose. It's interesting to see how the world has changed in her lifetime-- diplomats were pivotal and now not really necessary (State Dept staff can get in touch directly, wars can be started over an email), and the profession of PR started and became irrelevant in her lifetime. Still, the career lessons and good behavior she espouses are timeless.
Noreen Rasmussen
I picked this up to gain insight into the Kennedy years but it wasn't until half way through the book before she got to that wonderful era of Camelot. That section was all together too short, so in that sense it was disappointing. But never the less, this was a very interesting recount of how the other half lives. By the end I got the impression the author's hubris got in the way a tad bit.
Tiffany
I honestly just couldn't get into this book. I love reading stuff on Jackie O and thought why not, she was her best friend but no matter what I did, I just couldnt keep reading it. Gonna try again in a few months.
Juli
Nov 26, 2007 Juli rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: random
Picked up this book out of boredom, but found it fascinating - it tells the behind-the-scenes story of the Kennedy years and life as an American in Europe post WWII.
Lauren
As anyone who knows me knows, I am a Kennedy freak. This was one of the first books I read on Jackie---really interesting whether you are a freak or not. =)
Jennifer
You definately want to read this when you are focused. Lots of names and places, so don't drag out getting through it. Unique look at DC and Europe
Autumn
I read this book the summer after graduating from college and it truly impacted my life. I found such courage in myself after reading.
Molly
Loved this book. Fascinating woman who has had an incredibly interesting career and life.
Kerry Kenney
She made quite a career out of her connection to the First Family didn't she?
Marlies
I read this a few years ago--very interesting life!
Kim
This was LOVELY.
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In the Kennedy Style: Magical Evenings in the Kennedy White House Letitia Baldrige's New Manners for New Times : A Complete Guide to Etiquette Taste: Acquiring What Money Can't Buy Letitia Balderige's New Complete Guide to Executive Manners Letitia Baldrige's Complete Guide to the New Manners for the '90s: A Complete Guide to Etiquette

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