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Jackie as Editor: The Literary Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

3.68  ·  Rating details ·  451 ratings  ·  60 reviews
History remembers Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis as the consummate first lady, the nation's tragic widow, the tycoon's wife, and, of course, the quintessential embodiment of elegance. This book focuses on this remarkable woman's editorial career.
Hardcover, 336 pages
Published January 4th 2011 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published December 17th 2010)
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I have always been interested in Jackie Kennedy as an editor at Doubleday - I worked for Doubleday too. I liked the idea of a mega-wealthy woman, at one time considered the most beautiful and high status woman in the world actually having a job.

This is how she gets her job as a commissioning editor. She wants to get into publishing but is let down gently by a publisher saying it wouldn't be fair on junior staff to create a major opening for her, but what about being a commissioning editor? This
Feb 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those who want to know more about publishers
This was a surprisingly well done, fascinating book. I do have mixed feelings about the book, however. I think Jackie likely would have hated this book being published. On the other hand, this was a fascinating look at how editors worked, at least in older days. Jackie's writers certainly felt the role of editors have changed and not for the better. Jackie started at Viking Press but left when they had the poor taste to publish a political thriller involving Ted Kennedy's assassination. Jackie ...more
Catherine Hines
Feb 15, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2011
I'm one of those annoying and cliched old women who loved Jacqueline Kennedy, although I'm embarrassed to admit it. And so I loved this book, which is interesting without being (very) vulgar. I'm glad I read it. Every 50 pages or so, I'd have to add something to the old Amazon wish list, but sadly, most of the books she edited are out of print and therefore out of my price range.
Dec 20, 2018 rated it liked it
In giving Greg Lawrence’s Jackie as Editor 3 stars I wish to emphasize that I did not dislike the book. I may be a victim of myown anticipation but I feel that author Lawrence left me with several problems. He is not a bad writer, just not a great one. He was or considered himself a friend of Mrs. Onassis but I do not think he wanted to burn too many of his bridges in the world of publishing. The result is a book where the story carries more of the load than the story teller.

The initial problem
Valerie Petersen
Aug 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not only an excellent insight into Jackie's talents as an editor, but also indicates her depth of character in so many ways. However, the book probably would have benefitted from her decisive editing skills.
Aug 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2014
This was an excellent read! If you are interested in Jackie's final years when she really came into her own, lived independently and pursued her intellectual passions - this is the best source!

I've always been a fan of Jackie Kennedy but I became an even bigger fan of Jackie Onassis after finish this book. She herself once admitted she she had always lived through men. But after she widowed, moved to New York city and got a job at a publishing house, Jackie blossomed. She became an independent
I was so happy to get this book from Amazon for $1.75. Allow me to share my sighting of Jackie O. It was in the 70's and I was in NYC with a few friends. We were just walking around the city on a weekday, when a limo stopped in front of a large office building (probably one of the Publishing houses). We stopped! The door opened and we saw her. No one said a word. She was only a few steps away. We were mesmerized as she walked toward the glass doors, and we were grateful that the sidewalk was ...more
John Bicknell
Oct 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating inside look at the publishing business -- from a unique angle -- and provided some glimpses into a well-chronicled life that have only been skimmed by many of the other authors who have examined her life. Having just gone through the process of getting a book published, I found the tales of internal politics quite interesting, although my mid-size press experience bore no resemblance to the high-powered goings on at Viking or Doubleday, where JKO worked. And work she did, ...more
Mar 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
I listened to the audio to this and it was wonderful - especially on long car rides. Although I wasn't able to make a list of the books she edited I would like to read but found that via Google. What a wonderful woman and what a wonderful editor to all her authors and how lucky we are be able to find the books she helped come to fruition during her 19 yrs. I would listen to this again or read the paper copy. So many interviews and quotes and info that it only makes you love her forever more.
When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died, her son announced that she passed away "surrounded by her friends and her family and her books." If that were not testament enough to how much this woman loved reading, there is also the fact that she had no monetary need to work, but chose to seek employment in book publishing as a kind of vocation. Thus, it is a terrible shame that a book which admirably attempts to chronicle her contribution to literature is nearly unreadable.

Author Greg Lawrence was one
Shannon Yarbrough
Jan 01, 2020 rated it liked it
I wanted to read this book after having read The Editor by Steven Rowley. Steven used this book for reference and inspiration. I loved his book so I decided to read "Jackie as Editor" to learn more about Jackie O.

It's a decent book and very informative. It offers a personal glimpse into her life when she worked for Viking and Doubleday after the death of her second husband. Yep, Jackie became a book editor and was quite good at it. There's a list of all of her books in the back of this book.
Nov 01, 2017 rated it really liked it
It is very clear and apparent to me that Jackie Kennedy Onassis was a great book editor. She was dedicated and diligent. Yup, she definitely skipped the line in paying ones dues in the book editing world, but once she was there, she proved that she had valuable assets which any publishing house would be lucky to have on staff. This book did gloss over the overwhelming privilege that allows Jackie O to do Jackie O ish things and plays it off as charm instead of fame and wealth. But I will not ...more
Zeynep Şen
Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
I did not expect to learn so many different things when I first picked up this book. In fact, I expected it to be an entertaining, lighter read as opposed to an instructive one. I ended up delving into such subjects as ballet and dance history, photography, French history, Russian history (particularly the last days of the monarchy), illustration, book design, publishing history and trends, architecture, 18th and 19th century interior design and insectology, to name but a few things. And I ...more
E. Lewis
May 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I have enjoyed this book so much! What a woman, a champion, and dedicated lady. This book opens the reader to the real Jackie, not the one associated with powerful men, but someone who had her own idenity, loved her job, and put her heart and being into it. Thank you, Greg Lawrence, for this fantastic book!
Cynthia Vanaria
Dec 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
I wanted to know what Jackie kennedy was like out of public view. WOW! She was so amazing. Very intelligent, very knowledgeable on many subjects, very dedicated to projects she felt were worthwhile. She was a devoted editor and friend to the writers she edited. Excellent read about an extraordinary woman.
Arik Hardin
Dec 01, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading The Editor, I became slightly obsessed with learning about Jackie's career as an editor, so of course I had to get this book and learn everything I could. While at times this book could be a bit too in-depth and could have use a bit more of a narrative structure, I really enjoyed learning more about such an iconic woman and the career she built for herself in books.
Julie Oles
Nov 17, 2019 rated it really liked it
I enjoyed learning more of the private side of Jackie. She loved books and worked diligently at her craft of editing. Now she can Rest In Peace.
Mar 11, 2018 rated it it was ok
The content was interesting since it's all about books and Jackie as working woman which is a new perspective, but was rambley + in need of an editor.
May 01, 2018 rated it it was ok
It might've been a lot better were Mrs. O not portrayed as a silly Barbie who produced nothing but coffee table books...
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was ok
It bothers me to give this book such a low rating, I’ve had a fascination with Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis for as long as I can remember. It’s not the adulation of those that pine for Camelot—JFK does not hold a place of honor in my heart—it has always been about Jackie. Charismatic, enigmatic, of the people, but also not one of us. After reading numerous biographies over the years, I was still intrigued by her time as an editor. It just seems a codicil to the story of her life and yet, ...more
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
We've seen many "faces" of Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, but we've never seen her in the one role she seems to have been born to play ... that of Book Editor.

I wasn't really sure what I was getting into when I started this and although this can be a little tedious, especially when Lawrence is talking about all of Jackie's editorial critiques, this is still an amazing story of Jackie's introduction to and subsequent mastery of book editing.

Jackie began her work at Viking and moved to
Sep 11, 2015 rated it really liked it
High praise for a biography that made me with I had known and worked with Mrs. Onassis. While I was not much interested in Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (JKO) as a celebrity, I am, as an editor, very much interested in her editorial process and her position as an editor with two large New York publishers. She was, apparently, a cracker-jack editor who took care of her writers and really helped them improve their books. She also advocated for well-made books with beautiful designs, and I wished that ...more
Jun 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
If you love to read, then you must read this book about Mrs. Onasis. (I cringed when the author reported that secretaries that worked with her felt comfortable in calling her by her first name. Therefore, I will not casually call her Jackie in my review.) Before reading this book, I lamented about the lack of quality in the books that I have been reading as of late. If I follow Mrs. Onasis' edited book list; her edited books have been rated by others in Good Reads as 4 stars and above. It was ...more
Apr 08, 2011 added it
Shelves: 2012
Did you know Jackie O published Larry Gonick's Cartoon History of the Universe? Interesting stuff. Like most publishing memoirs, filled with stories of how certain books were acquired and edited. When you look over the list of books Jackie edited, there are a few classics (Mahfouz's Cairo Trilogy) and a lot of stuff that is likely out of print and forgotten by most people. Again, like most publishing memoirs.

Interesting to read about an editor whose career was a mix of privilege and the usual
Dec 29, 2010 rated it liked it
The irony is that the writer could have used a good editor for this book. His research, interviews, and chronology are impressive, but could have been grouped into bigger themes and ideas. There is a larger picture here which flickers dimly. Nonetheless, this biography, which covers Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis' years as an editor at Viking and then at Doubleday, is a delightful, almost gossipy read. What comes through clearly is her absolute obsessive love of reading and learning, which I ...more
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was ok
It took me close to two weeks to read this book - but a lot of that had to do with how busy I have been. Still some of it was because this book is dense with a lot of names and different books and it jumps around within chapters and for acquaintances which was disconcerting. The good thing about the book, though, was how it showed Jackie Kennedy as a very intelligent, well read, very well qualified editor with a passion for getting authors and books recognized even if they weren't necessarily ...more
Jan 20, 2012 rated it it was ok
Parts of Lawrence's book are interesting. Unfortunately, Lawrence is constrained in his storytelling by a dogged adherence to a linear timeline: "First, Jackie worked with this author on this book and here is an anecdote about her from that author. Here is a second author," and so on. Through EVERY book she edited during her 22 years in publishing. Jackie edited a book on George Balanchine, written by Francis Mason. She insists he cut the manuscript (originally 650,000 words) by 200,000 words. ...more
Christine Frank
Feb 03, 2011 rated it liked it
Halfway through. I admire the research and the waaaaaay meticulous interviewing and recounting. Nice too, to have a book with no or little well-worn Kennedy gossip. As an editor, I am enjoying Jackie's crafty editorial comments and handling of her authors. The only "but" is . . . the books she worked on are all just so trivial and elitist, so, so COFFEE TABLE. . . Tiffany's . . . Versailles . . .Madame de This 'n That . . ballet . . .yawn . . . . I DO love Jackie's opinion of her "author" ...more
Jul 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
I'm not sure what I was expecting here - a cohesive narrative; some added depth to the Jackie myth, perhaps - but what I got was disappointing. This book reads like an annotated catalogue of the books Jackie edited throughout her nineteen year career. While I'm certain that her books are of the highest quality, a book about how those books came to be is not the most enthralling read.
There were a few personal anecdotes which redeemed the book slightly, and a list of Jackie's contributions which
Kevin Graves
Sep 09, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There are two books out about JBKO's time as editor. This is the ONE to read, She edited many books at Viking and Doubleday, but only two even mentioned her name as editor, at her directive. She brought a lot of talent to light, and she was a thorough and proper editor. She was editing from home until a week before her 1994 death. The authors she edited all agreed her editing made their books, although some didn't admit it until years later. Interesting backstory of the publishing world of ...more
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