Thursday, June 14, 2012

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy

In honor of the fiftieth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's administration, his daughter Caroline Kennedy released the unedited interview tapes her mother Jacqueline Kennedy gave regarding the thirty fifth president of the United States. In the conversations, held just a few short months after Kennedy's assassination, Mrs. Kennedy shares her personal knowledge of JFK, from his 's early years through his presidency, as well as those who surrounded him.

Listening to the historic conversations was a treat on so many levels. First, because Mrs. Kennedy did not give interviews, I enjoyed simply listening to her voice which previously I had heard only snippets of. The intimacy of the tapes also drew me in -- the ice cubes sloshing around in glasses and on one occasion JFK, Jr. wandering around in the background..

Second, I enjoyed listening to the interviews as they were a American time capsule of a historic time. I also appreciated that some of Mrs. Kennedy's views in 1964 were most likely not her views in 1994 when she died, but were rather likely a reflection of cultural views in the 1960s. For instance:

I'd get terribly emotional about anyone, whether it was a politician or a newspaper person who would be unfair, but he [JFK] always treated it so objectively . . . which is right. . . . . So its the only way to be effective -- which is one reason why I think women should never be in politics. We're just not suited for it. 

The audio cds also included an edited written transcript that provided biographical details on people discussed in the interviews along with other relevant background information. This was very helpful as there were many, many persons mentioned that I was unfamiliar with. Occasionally, the written transcript would note personal matters behind Mrs. Kennedy's comments such as she was feuding with person X over Y at the time of the interviews, but later made up with them.

The Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy is like a vintage wine to be savored and enjoyed!

Review based on personal copy.


  1. Kim, I glad you liked this. I was always a big fan of the Kennedy clan. I did hear snippets of this book and Jacqueline's voice bothered me for some reason....maybe it was me or my mood, but i couldn't deal with it.

  2. I think my mother would struggle with the audio but would enjoy this in print. She adored Jackie.

  3. I do think that her reflections were those of the 60s. How interesting to get a taste of what she must have sounded like.

  4. I've always been a fan of the Kennedy's. I'd probably enjoy this, especially hearing it in Jacqueline's voice.