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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

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3.92 of 5 stars 3.92  ·  rating details  ·  657 ratings  ·  53 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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(showing 1-30 of 1,334)
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Caroline
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
Matt
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...more
Sommer
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 cry...you 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.
Linda
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.
Pat
I listened to the audio version, very long (20+hours). It was a very interesting perspective and had quite a bit of information I didn't know. There's a lot of detail about their "inner circle" of friends which for me helped how me to understand just how intricate all plannings had to be. I was never that interested in reading the inside story of Jack and Jackie until I read Clint Hill's "Me and Mrs. Kennedy". That left me wanting to know more. The author gives sources for her information, and t...more
Buck Jones
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...more
Lee
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
LaurieH118
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
Teri Citterman
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.
Judy
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...more
Whitney
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...more
Sherri Wetsch
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.
Nathan
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
Catherine
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
Alison
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.
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
Ann
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.
Kristina
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.
Brianna
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.
Lori
Jan 01, 2009 Lori rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People interested in the Kennedys
Shelves: books-i-own
I really liked this book. It didn't focus on the Marilyn Monroe aspect of the marriage as much as it could have and probably should have. The book solely focused on the White House years. I learned a lot about them and their personalities. The book mentioned a few books they read, so now I want to go find them. Overall, a good read.
Michelle Krasovich
This book was amazing. It brings fresh insight into the complex relationship between Jack and Jacqueline during their years in the White House. From the memories and stories relayed in the pages of this book it is easy to understand how this couple mesmerized a nation and captivated the imaginations of an international audience.
bethany
This was the single best biography I've read on the Kennedys while they were in the White House. If you know me, you understand what a high honour it is for me to say that. This book gives a glimpse of the day to day life in an extraordinary marriage that helped shape one of the best times this country has ever seen.
Lucy Carrion-Barnes
This was a great read. Wonderful look at the time Camelot.
Ray
I thought this book was well written, and did not pull any punches. It dealt with all of JFK and Jackies' foibles very honestly. I saw a side of the Kennedy family in general that I had never really seen before. I heartily recommend this book to all people interested in JFK's brief Presidential career.
Biscuits
May 08, 2007 Biscuits rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: jackie o buffs
Shelves: bios
I've always been quite fascinated with the kennedys. This was an interesting look at the kennedy white house. I first read an excerpt in vogue. Later read the biography. Even though I knew he was going to get killed in the end - I still cried. What a novelty to have a thinking president.
Julie
I liked this one a lot. It only takes place during the White House years, but it goes into detail about both the President and First Lady during that time. It had a good balance of personal life and politics. I learned a lot about both of them and I enjoyed the book.
SweetPea
A well written, insightful look into the Kennedy White House years. So many interesting details - I wonder if a First Family could do today what was done then. So much time spent away from the White House by Jackie - and not on official business. Fascinating.
Bobbie Rathjens
This book was okay... The problem I had with it is that it seemed very tabloid like. No one really knows what someone's marriage is like unless they are one of the participants. Otherwise, the stories that are backed up by facts are worthwhile.
Jeff
Didn't really like this one. Was a look the social side of Camelot but there was too much focus on decorating the White House and the affairs of JFK and his staff for my taste. If you are into that then this would be a good book for you.
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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
More about Sally Bedell Smith...
Elizabeth the Queen: The Life of a Modern Monarch Diana in Search of Herself: Portrait of a Troubled Princess For Love of Politics: Bill and Hillary Clinton: The White House Years Reflected Glory: The Life of Pamela Churchill Harriman In All His Glory: The Life and Times of William S. Paley and the Birth of Modern Broadcasting

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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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