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The Kennedy Wives: Triumph and Tragedy in America's Most Public Family

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  738 ratings  ·  64 reviews
The Kennedy Wives saw history up close—made history in some cases. They knew wealth and privilege but we are bonded to them by loss which are our losses too. The Kennedy women—fierce, intelligent, and very private—belong to us. Not because of their glamour, but because of their grief and misfortunes. 

The Kennedy Wives takes an unflinching look at the women who married into
Hardcover, 296 pages
Published December 2nd 2014 by Lyons Press
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Average rating 3.93  · 
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Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
Nov 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2014
The Kennedy Wives is a biographical book about the five Kennedy women that were married to Joe, Jack, Bobby and Edward Kennedy. Every woman gets her own chapter and in the chapters, their lives are described from their childhood to how they met their husband and how their lives turned out.

For me, this book didn't really contain much of new information when with it come to Ethel, Jackie or Joan since I have read Taraborrelli's Jackie Ethel Joan Women of Camelot. I have also read part of Rose Ken
Nov 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
Find this and other reviews at: http://flashlightcommentary.blogspot....

I have mixed feelings about Amber Hunt and David Batcher's The Kennedy Wives. A collected biography of one of America's most recognizable families, the book boasts obvious appeal and covers a lot of wonderful material, but the execution wasn't as even-handed as I envisioned going in and I must admit there were aspects of the book that left me wanting.

I appreciated the format in that each of the women had a section dedicated
Judy D Collins
A special thank you to Rowman & Littlefield and NetGalley for an ARC in exchange for an honest review.

A remarkable book and a captivating family of five distinct and inspiring women, The Kennedy Wives, "the woman behind each man". Each of these five special and unique women- an integral part of our US history. Kennedy Wives: Triumph and Tragedy in America's Most Public Family, is thought-provoking, well-researched, and elegantly portrayed with passion, honesty, and clarity – by talented authors
Nov 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I am going to tell you the truth. I read lots of biographies. I am interested in those that have come before. In this book the authors, have an investigative journalist advantage that many books do not.

I found out all I could possibly know about the wives who were married to the Kennedy men. They each have their own characteristics and Hunt gives them titles. Like Rose is "the matriarch", and Jackie "the icon." She has a very well put together way of telling you everything from their birth to wh
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
Is there a more intriguing American family than the Kennedy family? I don't think so; the Kennedys steal the show. The Kennedy Wives focuses on five Kennedy women and how their lives have been shaped by becoming apart of this famous clan. First, there's Rose Kennedy, the matriarch of the Kennedy family. Next is Ethel Kennedy, Robert Kennedy's wife. Of course, the authors focus on Jackie Kennedy, the famous wife of John F. Kennedy, and lastly, there's Joan Kennedy and Vicki Kennedy, both wives of ...more
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A very readable and entertaining biography of 5 Kennedy women - Rose, Ethel, Jackie, Joan and Vicki - whose lives were closely entwined with the wider Kennedy clan and as a result lived in a world of glamour, wealth and tragedy. Jackie Kennedy is the one we perhaps most readily recognise, but each of these women has an interesting story to learn about and the authors have done an excellent job of making their subjects come alive. Meticulously researched and narrated in a succinct and accessible ...more
May 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I chose this book because I wanted to know more about Vicki Reggie. A friend of mine was her roommate at Tulane, so I knew a very little, but not enough to really understand what she was like. Even though I'd read biographies about the Kennedys in the past, I did learn a few things about Rose, Ethel, and Jackie. I hadn't known much about Joan, so that was good.

This is a very readable book, with enough insightful narrative to carry the reader along. With 5 remarkable women to profile, it must hav
Shin Kuroi
Nov 12, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Interesting read. I've never been that familiar with the Kennedys except for JFK and Jackie so this had a lot of new information for me. ...more
Dec 14, 2014 rated it really liked it
Once upon a time, five beautiful and strong women married charismatic Kennedy men. They were called Rose, Ethel, Jackie, Joan and Vickie. Rose, the matriarch of the dynasty, had a steely inner-strength and toughness that helped her through her husband's infidelities, the loss of his reputation in the UK and terrible tragedy. She has often been thought of as fanatically religious and rather cruel to her daughter Kathleen, who fell in love with two Protestant men. However, she is more likeable and ...more
Jill Crosby
Jul 18, 2017 rated it did not like it
Reads like a high schooler's essay on "Great American Women Named Kennedy." Basic facts are WRONG, and the hagiographizing of five Kennedy wives (Rose to Vicki) is redundant and superficial. "Spunky" Ethel's section is swiped almost verbatim from Rory Kennedy's documentary of her mother, and if I had to read ONE. MORE. TIME. about the "beautiful Joan" I'd have dispatched a Thesaurus directly to the authors.
If you want definitive accounts of the Kennedy gals, check out Lawrence Leamer's comprehe
Oct 29, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Loved it. Really interesting and so well written that it reads like fiction. With that I mean that it's easy to read and flows well, but also that the Kennedy family's lives are like fiction. Full of larger than life characters, this book focuses on 5 of the wives. I haven't read much about any of them, so for me this was a treasure trove of information. Those women are were/are pretty amazing and lived through so many roller coasters. ...more
Carole M.
I really enjoyed this book. I learned a lot of new facts too.
Sep 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I borrowed this book from a friend who said she was enjoying the book. (She has yet to finish it. She knew I would read it before she would. She was right.) Turns out my Mum who was visiting me, read it, as I had to read two books for book club. I had started and had only two of the chapters (Joan and Vicki) left. In the meantime, my husband has also started reading it. Who doesn't want to read about the Kennedy's?

The chapters are broken down into the five woman who married into the Kennedy fam
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it
I ended up enjoying this book. It started out a little slow, concentrating on Rose. Ethel and Bobby were next, which was interesting since Jack was the older son and age order would have been a logical way to organize the chronology of the book. Jackie and Jack follow Ethel and probably occupy the majority of the book, which isn't surprising as Jackie was First Lady and their story is the most interesting/gut-wrenching. Next comes Joan and Teddy, which is a sad yet very relatable story given how ...more
Wendell Hennan
Sep 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have read several much longer more detailed accounts about the Kennedy family but this one was excellent in terms of detail and insight into the personalities of each of the wives. While it also spends time on the Kennedy men and is a bit repetitive, for example telling of the assassinations in each of the wives accounts, this is a very thorough and interesting read.
Gail O'Connor
Jul 06, 2017 rated it really liked it
It was a wonderful telling of the wives. It had to be very difficult to make an old subject interesting and vibrant but she did. Keeps your interest throughout the entire book and made the history so vivid and moving.
Oct 03, 2019 rated it liked it
This is an interesting overview. I've read more detailed bios of Rose, Ethel, Jackie, and Joan. Vicki didn't get much attention in this. Perhaps it's because her life hasn't been as long as the others. ...more
Mar 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing
A very interesting portrayal of the Kennedy wives. Reading this book gave me a view of the ladies’ childhood throughout their life as a politician’s wife. Each woman
Was unique in how they handled personal and family situations.
Five vignettes of the women who have shaped the Kennedy family. I knew very little about these women, but I have come to respect each of them.
Aug 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Great summary of each of the Kennedy wives lives.
Hank Pharis
Sep 11, 2017 rated it it was ok
I couldn't name 3 of these 5 so this was all pretty new to me. They all had interesting stories but bizarrely 4 of the 5 put up an incredible amount of philandering by their husbands. ...more
Erin Matson
Sep 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing
David Batcher should write more books.
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
This was an interesting read. I enjoyed learning about all of the wives - not just Jackie. A good read.
Kristin Kralovic
Sep 12, 2018 rated it liked it
Enjoyed learning about Joan and Vicki Kennedy
Jess Williams
Feb 02, 2019 rated it really liked it
these women are so inspiring, whatever your politics. so much I didn't know about the tragedy they were able to endure (and the ways they were able to endure them). ...more
May 04, 2019 rated it liked it
Nothing really in depth, just really a synopsis of the Kennedy Wives' lives, but a quick read nonetheless. ...more
Jul 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
A well written and well researched account of the women who had the misfortune to marry into this tragic family of degenerate men.
Jerry Servidio
Dec 04, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overall, I found this to be a good read. I came away with more respect for the Kennedy wives and a lot less respect for the Kennedy men.
Dec 22, 2014 rated it liked it
I have long been fascinated by the Kennedys, which I realize does not make me unique. Many of us are. I was born shortly after JFK was assassinated, was too young to remember Bobby, but recall Teddy's presidential runs and Jackie's marriage to Aristotle Onassis. And, of course, I remember John Kennedy, Jr., who was the object of a serious crush.

This book, focused on the wives of the Kennedy men - Joe senior, Jack, Bobby, and Teddy - brings nothing new to the conversation, but it is nonetheless i
Dec 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
It's hard to find a family in the world who can compare with the extremes of wealth, power, passion, drive, glamour, misfortune, corruption, and infidelity, as the Kennedys. From the patriarch Joe, with his nine children and his determination to put at least one of them into the position of the utmost power and influence on the planet, none of the ghastly happenings within the family could swerve them from the destiny Joe had in mind. Therefore, the women who became the wives of his sons had to ...more
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Amber Hunt is an award-winning journalist who works for the Cincinnati Enquirer as an investigative reporter. She's the co-creator and host of the podcast "Accused: The Unsolved Murder of Elizabeth Andes," which reached No. 1 on iTunes' U.S. and U.K. charts. She previously covered crime for the Detroit Free Press and the Dakotas for The Associated Press and was a 2011 Knight-Wallace Fellow at the ...more

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“could join his siblings in helping their mother. After a brief-but-publicized legal struggle, the children reached an agreement with Joan: Two financial professionals would watch over her estimated $9.5 million in assets while a guardian would monitor her and guide her medical decisions. The agreement stipulated that if Joan abused alcohol or endangered herself again, more control would be shifted away from her. Any rift caused by the legal proceedings had been long repaired by 2009, when Ted Kennedy died of brain cancer in the Hyannis Port home his family had owned since the 1920s. His new wife, Vicki, was by his side, as were his children. Joan quietly attended his funeral, her presence evoking a quarter-century of his life—both the highs of the long-lost Camelot days and the lows of two assassinations, a near-fatal plane crash, a son’s battle with cancer, and a political life nearly derailed. In 2011, her daughter, Kara, died suddenly of a heart” 0 likes
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