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Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House
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Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House

3.93  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,088 Ratings  ·  65 Reviews
In GRACE & POWER: THE PRIVATE WORLD OF THE KENNEDY WHITE HOUSE, New York Times bestselling author Sally Bedell Smith takes us inside the Kennedy White House with unparalleled access and insight. Having interviewed scores of Kennedy intimates, including many who have never spoken before, and drawing on letters and personal papers made available for the first time, Smith ...more
Paperback, 640 pages
Published May 10th 2005 by Random House Trade Paperbacks (first published 2004)
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Having finished this book a short time ago, I feel as if I've been put through the wringer emotionally. The lives of President Kennedy and the First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy seem to be the stuff of which epic novels and poems are made. Yet, they were very real people faced with many difficult challenges and tragedies. By her own admission, Jackie Kennedy once confided to a close friend that life without JFK would have "all been a wasteland, and I would have known it every step of the way."

The boo
I've always had a thing for the Kennedys. I was a huge assassination buff in my teens and whilst I've grown out of that I'm still fascinated by the image of glamour and youth and excitement that they projected. I think America lost something the day JFK was assassinated and they've not got it back yet. But anyway, I digress. This is very good book, nothing earth-shattering or ground-breaking, but it focuses much more on Jack and Jackie's private life, their relationships with their friends, fami ...more
Crystal Hammon
When John F. Kennedy was assassinated, I was three years old—too young to really remember the tragedy or study his legacy in school, too old to be ignorant of the influence he and his wife had on Americans. Grace and Power reveals how history intersected with the couple’s relationship to a coterie of intellectuals, policy makers, family, friends and each other. If you enjoy history and biographies and like having a book on your nightstand that is easily sandwiched between other books you’re read ...more
Jul 03, 2012 Matt rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
Never have I read so strong and thorough a biography of the Kennedys as the one Bedell-Smith put forth in this book. Not only does it touch on the key aspects of the presidency (the numerous women, Cuban Missile Crisis, and assassination), but it also delves into the lives of the POTUS and FLOTUS and their rocky marriage. She takes many interviews and spins them into strong stories, tied together with excellent narration.

So strong a book yet filled with the good and bad of the Kennedys, it leave
David Elliott
Jan 05, 2015 David Elliott rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I knew Jack was a ladies man, but I had no idea to this extent. Still considered him a very good president. Very impressed with Jackie also. Quite a lady.
May 19, 2008 Sommer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a well researched and interesting account of the Kennedy Administration. It also deals a lot with the complex relationship between Jackie and JFK. I would recommend it for anyone wanting an intimate glimpse into the Kennedy years. Just be prepared to know the end, but it still gets you. The author spares no detail in describing the death of JFK and it breaks your heart all over again.
Jun 30, 2010 Linda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book gave me a new admiration particularly for Jacqueline Kennedy and what she accomplished in restoring some of the grandeur and history to the White House rooms - and at such a young age.
Buck Jones
Jun 06, 2014 Buck Jones rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Really enjoyed this book - I think it was an honest recounting of what JFK and Jackie were like during their time together in the White House.

The author portrayed Jackie as a complex figure - brilliant, moody, cultured, pampered, driven, and lazy - all wrapped up into this branded image we now know as "Jacqueline Kennedy". It was amazing how little time she actually spent in the White House doing First Lady type of events and functions. And yet, we still associate her as the quintessential icon
Jan 27, 2014 Lee rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: john-f-kennedy
Well this book is certainly taking me a while to finish. I was surprised at the amount of little details in this book that I did not know about. For example, I remember something about the size of shoe Jackie wore. Also it was amazing to see Jackie's detailed oriented character and impeccable taste throughout the book. In addition, you also saw the private side of Jackie meaning how she would pick and choose the different events that she attended or did not attend during her tenure in the White ...more
Bookmarks Magazine

Vanity Fair contributing editor Smith has written a glossy, gossipy, but serious account of the Kennedys' White House Years. If you're looking for analysis of the Bay of Pigs or Cuban missile crisis, turn to one of the other thousand Kennedy books (see below). Grace and Power, a social history of the Camelot couple, contains just enough political asides to interest history buffs. But Smith, a consummate researcher and reporter, focuses mainly on minutiae, from Jackie's Cassini-designed wardrobe

Jul 16, 2015 Justin rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I haven't researched the politics of the author, and I believe while this was largely meant to be a positive spin on JFK's time in the white house, it left with with a strong impression that JFK was not a good man morally, and was a pretty poor president. The analysis was thorough, though at times a few sections felt like a tabloid. I don't believe my historical training as a child really taught me accurately about the Kennedy administration.
Jul 14, 2010 LaurieH118 rated it it was amazing
All the well-known incidents of Kennedy's 1000 Days are here, but I don't think you'll find anything substantial you didn't know about The Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missle Crisis, Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, etc. What makes this book special are the highly credible anecdotes about the President and First Lady, the little things that make them come to life. I enjoyed reading about President Kennedy's complicated relationship with Adlai Stevenson and his fascination with the men women found attractive, ...more
Jan 07, 2015 Tamara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting read as it really delved into a lot of the details of their relationship while in the White House. I especially enjoyed the parts that detailed how and why certain designers were involved in the restoration of the White House.
Teri Citterman
Mar 08, 2014 Teri Citterman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bio
House of Cards in the 60s. What an era! My obsession with the Kennedy's continues and this is a book full of insight in terms of high drama, who'sleeping with whom, who's covering up. This is negotiation at the highest levels.
Apr 18, 2015 Jean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very personal, intimate book about Jackie and JFK ; some of it painful; much of it reminded me of the TV series "Mad Men" which was a bit disconcerting. Nonetheless, a compelling read.
Jan 19, 2014 Judy rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Some great insights into Jackie's life as First Lady. Also provided quite a contrast with the way the First Family now lives...with so little privacy and so many official duties that a private life is almost non-existent.

I remember hearing that Jackie told Hillary that if she didn't raise Chelsea right the rest of it wouldn't matter. I think Hillary probably passed that advice on to Michelle Obama. Much harder to do now...than it was then when Jackie set up a proper school in the WH for Carolin
This was a Christmas gift from Sean, which is sort of funny to me. I'm not a huge Kennedy fan/freak and he said he more wanted to buy me a gossipy book than a Kennedy book.

Anyway. It's a social history of their White House and it's been kind of fun to read it with all the Obama transition. The chapters on Kennedy's affairs and his professional/personal attitudes towards women sort of make me hate him.

I'm about halfway through and have been picking it up here and there--little pieces of sugary g
Sherri Wetsch
Mar 10, 2014 Sherri Wetsch rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hard to put down.

learned a lot of things I never knew about their years in the White House. Was a fascinating read from start to finish.
Diane Heath
May 13, 2013 Diane Heath rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: biography
This was an interesting look at the Kennedy White House Years. (1960-1963). It does not go overboard in gossip/tabloid type coverage but it does tend toward that direction. More is made of JFK's pursuit of other women than of his political legacy. The "inner circle" is identified/defined and there is a wrap up epilogue which tells of their fates after the White House years. The author comments that many were "speaking for the record" and one person is quoted as saying that many people claim that ...more
Jul 15, 2010 Nathan rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
A trifling, gossipy gabfest with sporadic episodes of political/historical reportage. Given the Kennedys' reputation for regality, I wasn't surprised at the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous shtick, but I was disappointed that this more superficial aspect wasn't connected in any meaningful way to what little historical narrative there was. I learned some things (precious few, given the bulk of the book) that I didn't know (details of JFK's several affairs and physical ailments), but the new info ...more
Dec 23, 2011 Catherine rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was amazed at the intelligence, sensitivity and melancholy of Jacdqueline, and at the social whirlwind they both could maintain every day. Jack was a womanizer (and every woman is mentioned), but he apparently was good at compartmentalizing and definitely adored his wife. Meanwhile the power of his position, and the power he held over the press will never be repeated. The gruesome assassination left the whole world grieving, and the imprint they both made on the White House and their unique st ...more
May 16, 2014 Alison rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
You don't have to be especially interested in history or the Kennedy years to enjoy this well written book. Much of the information is directly from the people who were there, and the book avoids gossip, rumour and speculation.
Jun 25, 2016 Corey rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some interesting insights into Camelot I had not read anywhere else.
Tracy Hackney
This book was interesting at times, but not really well written. It seemed a little bit like I was reading a gossip magazine rather than history. The emphasis in this book is on the relationship between JFK and Jackie, which I enjoyed to a certain extent; however, I would have enjoyed more details on some of the historic events that took place during JFK's presidency such as the Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missile Crisis,etc. These things are mentioned and some information is given concerning them, b ...more
Sep 17, 2015 Domi rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A bit too focused on Jackie for my liking, but otherwise quite a solid book.
Doris Raines
Apr 19, 2016 Doris Raines rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: doris-shelf
Great. Love. Story.
Nov 29, 2011 Ann rated it it was ok
Shelves: stopped-reading
Some of the stories/facts were interesting -- especially the origin of the Arthurian myth comparison to the Kennedys in the White House. However, much of later chapters felt like gossip. So much of the information and one-liners felt like name-dropping, or showing off the number of sources garnered for this book. There was little flow because of the multiple references made on every page. I stopped reading it after five chapters. Disappointed.
Jan 24, 2012 Kristina rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I FINALLY finished this book-nearly one year after I started it. I really enjoyed it. I bought this after I finished watching the Kennedy Miniseries. I picked this one because it included the right balance of history and the family/social dynamic of the White House. Let's be honest-I really liked the parts that read like a soap opera. If you are looking for more history-this is not for you.
Jim Savage
If I go 3 days without picking up this book I get a headache.
Dec 25, 2012 Brianna rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Its really good for a book to go into detail about a presidential administration and also to tell about the President and the First Lady.
Even though I have read a lot of books about the Kennedy family, especially in particular JFK, I have found that this book had included some information that I have not known about him and/or the family.
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Author of six biographies: Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch (Random House 2102); For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years (Random House 2007); Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House (Random House 2004); Diana In Search of Herself: Portrait of a Troubled Princess (Random House 2004); Reflected Glory: The Life of Pamela Churchill H ...more
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“Asked to explain how he became a war hero he (Kennedy) responded, "It was involuntary. They think my boat.” 0 likes
“Jack Kennedy brought an "intense concentration" and a "gently teasing humor" to the dinner table, along with what Katherine Graham called his habit of "vacuum cleaning your brain.” 0 likes
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