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Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis: A Life

really liked it 4.0  ·  Rating details ·  936 Ratings  ·  34 Reviews
She was America's sweetheart; the embodiment of grace, elegance, style, charm, and-as the world discovered in late 1963-bravery. And though much has been written about the most famous woman of the 20th century, no biography has revealed the true Jackie; none has successfully separated the truth from the lies, or portrayed the Queen of Camelot in all her complexity-until no ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published October 15th 2000 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published January 1st 2000)
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Oct 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Everybody knows Jackie. Except not really. This is an endlessly fascinating woman simply because she refused to reveal herself to strangers - which include, most likely, everyone reading this review. For all we think we know about her, I think we really know nothing - which is how she wanted it. Scrupulously private, she revealed almost nothing to the world other than the causes she leant her name to, the books she edited, whatever glimpses could be gleaned from the life she lived and the few pu ...more
Oct 05, 2008 rated it liked it
One of the better ones about Jackie that I have read.
Aug 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This biography of Jackie Kennedy Onassis was overly fawning, which is why I only gave it 3 stars. Donald Spoto's research was impressive if selective, and I ended up skipping a fair amount of material especially in his first section detailing her early years. I just didn't need to know what time the young Jacqueline Bouvier had French class in 8th grade, and other such details.

Still, I gained a great deal of appreciation for this First Lady's intellectual sophistication, self-discipline in many
Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
I love a good biography and after reading about the new show based on The Kennedy family, I wanted to learn more about Jackie. This biography covers her entire life, not just her time as First Lady, and it is well-researched, informative, interesting, and fascinating. Through Jackie's life, readers will learn and come to admire the way she handled herself in the face of disaster and tragedy. She is truly a remarkable person and Donald Spoto does a wonderful job portraying her as such in his biog ...more
Jul 26, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book was a very interesting read. It portrayed Jackie as a lady, but also made you realize she was a person. She was not perfect although people held her to different standards. It was interesting to see how you think that people who are well off live happy, healthy lives, but it made me realize that they too have problems.

I learned so much about this graceful, intelligent, graceful woman, and how much she changed from the time she married John F. Kennedy to her death. The biggest thing th
Aug 15, 2009 rated it liked it
When I first started reading this book my first thought was that the author was giving too much opinion & not enough facts. I kept reading (mainly because I admire Jackie O.) and was pleased that I did finish the book. Overall a good read and I did learn some interesting things about her life that I had not known before.
Jan 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A thorough and expansive look into Jackie Kennedy Onassis' inner life. An entirely comprehensive biography, the book circles both Jackie's and JFK's families and the forces that drove them together.
Most significantly, the book views Jackie's life after the Kennedy assassination through the lens of PTSD. For all that had been written about "Jackie O's" glamour, style, and relationships, not much has been written about *her* inner life and the most primal, intimate factors that both plagued much
Jul 03, 2012 rated it really liked it
This was an excellent biography. I loved learning about Mrs. Onassis. She was a very interesting and admirable lady. Not without faults, though, but that just made her more admirable in my opinion.

Interesting things I learned from this book were that President Kennedy was incredibly unfaithful (more than I realized), but Jackie put up with it and that the reason for the famous photo of Jackie scrambling up on the back of the convertible after Kennedy was shot was not because she was scared and
Kokomo Princess
Jackie was a fascinating person, and the book does a good job of portraying her life. However, "A Life" is a bit blinded by admiration; everything is written in a positive, flattering light. It would have been nice to learn the unflattering side as well, to contrast to the positive side. On the bright side, "A Life" is very well researched and written, especially since Jackie was such a private person. A good, insightful read, I just wish it had presented contrasting sides of Jackie's story, ins ...more
Shanna Coleman
Jul 28, 2008 rated it really liked it
I considered this a well-rounded overview of her life. I wanted to read it because I was always curious as to how much she really knew about her husband's infidelities and how she dealt with it. I was actually really surprised with the stories of her relatioships and life after the death of JFK. This book also gave a wonderful insight into the very different role that Jacquline Kennedy played as a first lady.

Helen Johnson
Jun 04, 2010 rated it liked it
This was a pretty interesting read however I felt like the author was definitely a fan of Jacqueline and didn't think much of the Kennedy family or of her own family. As you read it you wonder about some of the "facts" he presents, but at the back of the book are pages and pages of references, so you get the idea that it was very well researched.
Bonnie G
Oct 20, 2010 rated it really liked it
The author presents her in a respectful, not worshipful way. She was amazing! Very intelligent and concerned for others, never for herself. Great role model for women, don't need to be as rich as she was to be as good a person as she was. The fictional account of her life that I read earlier was more exciting, but this one includes a lot of her later years which I found the most inspiring.
Aug 08, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: re-reading, 2015
I've read a number of books about the Kennedy family, and in my opinion this is far the best biography of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis that I've read. Thoughtful, well-researched and carefully written, it is not in the least salacious. If you're curious about this interesting lady, I recommend this biography above all others.
Jan 23, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: biographies
After reading Katherine Graham's book I just had to go read something on the Kennedy's to see if there were connections. Barely. Jacquline's book reference's the Graham's but not so much. Oh well, I liked this book too. Although, you begin to see such a dark cloud over that whole family.
Mar 12, 2012 rated it liked it
Mr. Spoto liked to use big words to impress me. I wasn't impressed by him, but I was very interest to learn more about Jackie Kennedy. She was one tough lady and did some good things with her life. I didn't realize she was an editor, and some of the aspects that being an editor include.
Nov 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Marianne Ogden
Nov 11, 2007 rated it liked it
Very well written and interesting. It left me feeling sad. I learned that the notion of Kennedy's Presidency being an American Camelot was totally based on the spin she initiated. She was a brilliant marketer.
Debbie Duran
Aug 10, 2010 rated it liked it
What an amazing woman she was & so intelligent. She read books ALL the time & taught herself a lot. Too bad her first husband was such a womanizer. I lost a lot of respect for him after reading this book.
Jul 23, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Enjoyed this very much

Would recommend this to anyone who rememberscamelot
An extraordinary woman. Helped me to understand the remarkable mother that she was and the reason for her marriage to onassis
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Loved it--although it reads like a history book at times, her life none the less is inspiring. Her courage and poise as well as beauty,fashion can never be replaced in American history, she will always be unique and loved by the American people.
Dec 30, 2011 rated it really liked it
Fascinating account of her life - explains a lot about her relationship with JFK and his family based on her own family.
Oct 05, 2010 rated it really liked it
Well done bio on Jacki O. Very honest but portrays her in a good light. I learned a lot about her.
Rejean Vaillancourt
Sep 03, 2013 rated it liked it
Enjoyed it ,passed it on to a friend,
This friend of mine enjoyed it and I gave the book to someone else.
Suzanna Irving
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Jacky lived an incredible life pre, during her First Lady tenor and post president Kennedy. An amazing woman with style and elegance which can't be rivaled by any First Ladies yet.
Mar 26, 2014 rated it really liked it
A look back in time. Interesting details about her intellectual life.
Rita Higgins
Jul 09, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: biography
A very interesting book. It shows a different side of Jackie. We didn't hear how she suffered after the tragic lose of her husband. This captures it very well
Oct 27, 2008 marked it as to-read
I would love to read this book on Jackie Kennedy.
Nov 21, 2010 rated it liked it
I realized I didn't know much about Jackie O's life and didn't know how much heartache she went through.
Aug 10, 2011 rated it liked it
You learn a lot more then you expected.
Bill Clarkin
Apr 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I wanted to know the Jackie side of the story more and this delivered. Probably biased towards her, she definitely was a great person
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A prolific and respected biographer and theologian, Donald Spoto is the author of twenty published books, among them bestselling biographies of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Alfred Hitchcock, Tennessee Williams, and Ingrid Bergman. His books have been translated into more than twenty languages. Donald Spoto earned his Ph.D. in theology at Fordham University. After years as a theology professor, he t ...more
More about Donald Spoto

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