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All Too Human: The Love Story of Jack and Jackie Kennedy Hardcover – September 1, 1996
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Edward Klein shows that, despite their glamorous public lives, the Kennedys were as human as the rest of us. Through details on the couple's most intimate moments, including Jackie's defloration in a Paris elevator, and her amusing, albeit catty, disposition (kept under wraps because of her political standing), the ivory tower of their existence seems less out of reach. With chapter titles such as "Indiscreet," "Love Lies Bleeding," and "Pleasure First" the book reads a bit like a romance novel, but with a biting touch of reality.
From Publishers Weekly
As Klein, a former editor of the New York Times Magazine, notes in the acknowledgments for his book, people who knew the Kennedys have been increasingly willing to talk about them since Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis's death?which means that a lot of what used to be gossipy conjecture is now being authoritatively fleshed out. Klein lists more than 200 people who agreed to be quoted with attribution for his book, and cites many more sources as well; what he has come up with can surely be regarded, therefore, as thoroughly vouched for. It is an extraordinary story, of the physically frail but sexually voracious President (among many ailments, according to Klein, was a longstanding venereal infection) in a battle of wills with a wife as determined to live her own life as he was to live his. Her passion as a mother seems to have been the only constant for her, having lost two children, one by miscarriage and the other at birth (the two others were born with difficulty); and the book begins and ends with her trying to ensure that John and Caroline hear only the best about their father. For Kennedy, despite all his charm, comes across as a ruthlessly selfish person who found close relationships, other than those with macho bragging companions, difficult. For all Klein's efforts to put some heart into the marriage?and it certainly seems clear that they were growing closer at the time the President was shot?much of their life together seems to have been inspired by opportunism on both sides. What will strike many readers is how emotionally difficult?"all too human"?the Kennedys were: he with his brash drive, his deep cynicism, his basic contempt for women (as learned from his father), she with her spoiled upbringing and passionate attachment to her own lamentable father. Klein's book is a swift, dramatic and colorful read, even if he hasn't painted quite the picture he seems to think he has. Photos not seen by PW. First serial to Vanity Fair; BOMC selection.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Klein leaves us with two things: a bad taste in our mouths about two old money, rich jet setters who captivated most of the country 'til bullets ended their "Camelot"; and a worse feeling about Klein's creation. the book is liberally sprinkled with conversations between two people, with no others present, quoted verbatim. the book is written entirely in the tone of an eye witness. ridiculous if one thinks about how folks "remember" things said or done half a century ago. amazed that other reviewers took no notice of this near impossibility.
is most of it true? so what? had to give it a one-star to get this rant published.
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