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The Other Mrs. Kennedy : An Intimate and Revealing Look at the Hidden Life of Ethel Skakel Kennedy Mass Market Paperback – May 15, 1995


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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 733 pages
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks (May 15, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312956002
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312956004
  • Product Dimensions: 4.3 x 1.2 x 6.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,083,479 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Oppenheimer paints a revealing portrait of Ethel Skakel Kennedy, widow of former attorney general Robert Kennedy and whose own family history offers its share of scandal.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Kirkus Reviews

Yet another Kennedy bio from the school of journalism that mistakes an avalanche of minutiae for the thoughtful examination of a life. No irrelevant detail--from the length of her skirts to the thank-you notes she sent her dressmaker--escapes examination in this account of Ethel Kennedy's life. If Oppenheimer (Barbara Walters, 1990, etc.) has a point of view, it seems to be that being rich and famous is hell, and it is hell squared if you're both a Skakel and a Kennedy. A brief review of Ethel's ancestors takes the reader back to Yazoo County, Miss., and her great-grandfather, who was one of 11 children. Ethel herself was one of seven in an unruly tribe, wealthy and privileged but undisciplined. Her brothers terrorized Greenwich, Conn., with their antics, as some of Ethel's 11 children would later terrorize Hyannis Port, Mass., and Hickory Hill, Va. The young Ethel was nevertheless a good fit for the Kennedy family. Athletic, schooled by the nuns of the Sacred Heart (as were Rose and her daughters) to give husband and children priority in life, she was an exuberant, extroverted complement to the sometimes melancholy Robert F. Kennedy. She also bravely faced tragic loss--her parents, her brother, her brother-in-law, her husband, a son. But she was a notorious penny-pincher, could be vindictive and unreasonably demanding, and was given to rages after Bobby's assassination. That her flaws and her family scandals overshadow her virtues and accomplishments make this unrewarding reading. Arranging index cards in the right order does not make for enlightening biography. With her children leading relatively useful lives and with a personal history of philanthropic activism, Ethel deserves better. (16 pages b&w photos, not seen) ($150,000 ad/promo) -- Copyright ©1994, Kirkus Associates, LP. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This portrait of Ethel Kennedy is a true jewel.
Mellissa Difelice
It is mostly readable although some of the paragraphs seem to be collections of random sentences that don't have much to do with each other.
Veronique Chez Sheep
Some may say she just wanted to have babies, but she had no idea that her husband would die and leave her to raise all of them alone.
Clara

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 24, 1997
Format: Mass Market Paperback
This is a great book about the Skakel and Kennedy
families. The Skakel's were far wealthier and a much more livelier and crazy family than the Kennedy clan. One gets the feeling you would have more fun and laughs hanging out with a Skakel than a Kennedy. Provides insights to people who believe
they do not have to follow the rules of the rest of society in this country.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By mld1186 on January 4, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Ethel is my favorite Kennedy along with her husband, Bobby. I was very excited to read this since most of the books about the Kennedy family have been focused on JFK and Jackie. The chapters were pretty short, so it didn't take me long at all to finish the book. I loved reading about her experiences in the 60's when Bobby became a public figure and her lavish parties she threw at Hickory Hill. After Bobby's assassination, the author details some of Ethel's strange behavior and her strong temper, which is a side of her that I hadn't read about before. I won't go into details about it, but it makes for some very interesting reading. The book ends in the mid-1990's right after Jackie Kennedy's death. I hope the author publishes an updated edition talking about Ethel's relationships with her children and grandchildren as she gets older. I would also be interested to hear more about her involvement in Obama's campaign and the effect that Ted Kennedy's death has had on her as she is one of the oldest living members of the Kennedy family next to Jean Kennedy and Sarge Shriver.
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19 of 22 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 27, 1998
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Ethel Kennedy's shining exterior as the sainted widow is systematically tarnished with every passing page in this revealing look at her life. For those of us who remember that era, Mrs. Kennedy was nothing short of a saint in the face of tragedy. And the images of the pregnant widow with all those children made us feel deep sympathy for her situation. After reading Mr. Oppenheimer's book, it would seem that Ethel was not only a fiercely jealous, overly competitive barracuda, but also a terrible cheapskate. The Kennedy version of Leona Helmsly, with one exception, Leona was at least intelligent. It was obvious that the only person capable of controlling Ethel's behavior was Bobby Kennedy. Her treatment of staff and family after his death (including her own children) will leave the reader's mouth hanging open. When I was finished, I wondered why no one sent this woman for therapy!
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15 of 18 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 17, 1999
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I think Mr. Oppenheimer was very through in his research. Unfortunately, it doesn't reflect very well on Mrs. Kennedy. Course her children (well some of them including my esteemed Congressman, Joe ) don't reflect very well on her anyway. Mr. Oppenheimer must have ate, drank and slept the Kennedy/Skakels for a long time to come up with everything in this book. If you like the Kennedy's and biographies, you'll like this book. Well, maybe not like Ethel, but appreciate how thorough the background and research was in The Other Mrs. Kennedy.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Mom, Me. on July 9, 2005
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first became interested in the Skakel family in 1999 when I first heard of the Martha Moxley case. (I'm actually about 3+ years late reviewing this book)

I can see how some Kennedy-philes would be ultra shocked and not want to believe some of the things in this book but just because something is shocking doesn't mean it's not true. As for the genius that said that she'd never believe anything in a book that completely changed her opinion of a person or told things that they'd never heard about a person...I'm speechless. I thought you were *supposed* LEARN new things by reading!

ANYWAY, it's a fun and fairly well researched read. As well as an interesting view into a more unknown and less publicized part of the Kennedy/Skakel families.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By L Goodman-Malamuth VINE VOICE on October 20, 2003
Format: Hardcover
Today's newspaper carried the news that Hickory Hill, the McLean, Virginia, home of Bobby and Ethel Kennedy, has just been placed on the market for $25 million. I hope to heaven that the prospective buyers read this book before putting down a contract...
Jerry Oppenheimer does a masterful job at detailing the life of Ethel Skakel Kennedy, daughter of a shrewd, self-made millionaire father and a mother who was both a compulsive spender and an extremely devout Catholic, a faith she passed on to her daughter Ethel. Neither Skakel parent expressed any boundaries and limits over the children's out-of-control behavior, which led to tragic results later in life.
A number of family insiders trusted Oppenheimer enough sufficiently to open up to him for some startlingly frank interviews. Ethel comes across as a mass of contradictions: devout and rowdy, self-congratulatory about her parenting skills as well as blind to her children's unmet needs, arrogant and surprisingly insecure.
According to Oppenheimer, Ethel Kennedy was forced to curtail her spending severely after her husband's death, and yet she did not. At one point, her sister-in-law Jackie Onassis bought a new roof for Hickory Hill--again, I hope whoever buys this famous American home has deep, deep pockets!
A fascinating story of a woman who essentially isn't all that interesting herself.
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24 of 32 people found the following review helpful By ESQ on August 31, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Slapping maids? Calling them niggers? Spending thousands on the same belt in different colors? Driving cars into pools? I've always wondered about Ethel Kennedy and now I think I know all there is to know. Including the fact that she was a spoiled, uninterested, racist who was obsessed with her husband, and turned a blind eye towards his affairs. Any glamour I had attached to her is now gone and I'm utterly disappointed. Of all the Kennedy brothers I held Bobby in highest esteem because he was a tenacious man who fought hard to rid this country of many injustices. Now in light of his having married Ethel I question that. How could he love and marry a woman like that? She was reckless and had no respect for personal boundaries erected by others. She was a poor mother and left the day-to-day raising of her children to nannies, dogs, horses, friends, and whoever else happened to be hanging around Hickory Hill on a given day. I could appreciate to a certain extent, her love and devotion to Bobby. However, she was on the brink of being obsessed. She was horribly jealous of both Jackie and Joan and would make rude comments at their expense. In short she could dish it out, but was hard pressed to take it. It seemed as though she believed everyone was put here on earth to serve her. In light of her "I'm a princess" attitude and her strong religious beliefs, I cannot fully understand WHY she tolerated Bobby's infidelities. All in all, this book was disappointing as it revealed a side of Ethel I would have preferred not to see.
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