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Letters to Jackie: Condolences from a Grieving Nation Paperback – September 13, 2011
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“Ellen Fitzpatrick’s wonderful book — which is both a perceptive history of the public response to John Kennedy’s death and a selection of the millions of letters that followed the assassination — is a remarkable window into the character of the nation in the 1960s.” (Alan Brinkley)
From the Back Cover
As seen on NBC Nightly News, CBS Evening News, The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CNN, MSNBC, and in the Boston Globe, New York Times, and USA Today
It is perhaps the most memorable event of the twentieth century: the assassination of president John F. Kennedy
Within seven weeks of president Kennedy’s assassination in November 1963, Jacqueline Kennedy received more than 800,000 condolence letters. Two years later, the volume of correspondence would exceed 1.5 million letters. For the next forty-six years, the letters would remain essentially untouched.
Now, in her selection of 250 of these astonishing letters, historian Ellen Fitzpatrick reveals a remarkable human record of that devastating moment, of Americans across generations, regions, races, political leanings, and religions, in mourning and crisis. Reflecting on their sense of loss, their fears, and their hopes, the authors of these letters wrote an elegy for the fallen president that captured the soul of the nation.
Top Customer Reviews
I also wonder, if this incident had occurred now, would the nation take the time to write letters of condolence to a First Lady? How do you "text" a condolence letter? Would anyone bother to "write" a letter.
In October 2009, I received a phone call from Sarah Little. She said she was trying to connect with people who wrote to Mrs. John F. Kennedy. She asked, "Did you write a letter to her?" I said, "I wasn't sure that I had." Then she started reading what she had in front of her. I realized quickly that it was something I had written. We had a nice talk and I thought no more about it. A few weeks later, I received a letter from Mary Dalton-Hoffman. She told me a little more about the project and included a copy of my letter, a bio of Ellen Fitzpatrick, and a copy of the letter attached to a release form that she wanted me to sign and return. Still not willing to believe this was real, I sent the contract to my daughter, Linda, who is a lawyer. She saw no reason why I shouldn't sign it, but gave me some questions to ask. So I called Mary and asked the questions and still forgot about it. Then I received a couple of calls and said, "Yes, my letter could be used." Still more time passed and I got another call asking me to please sign the release. Then, she sent another copy of the release. Finally on January 5, 2010, Mary received my release. I wondered about the book. Then I received something from Amazon saying that there was a new book coming out March 7 called "Letters to Jackie" by Ellen Fitzpatrick. Last Thursday, March 11, 2010, I received my autographed copy of the book. My husband looked for my letter and found it. It takes up over 2 pages in the book. There is also a short bio. Over 1.5 million letters had been sent. About 250 letters were chosen to be included in the book. They are from all walks of life.Read more ›
Mrs. Milano goes on to tell Mrs. Kennedy:
"For me, nine months have gone by, and I still cry in
my pillow every night. Though I could not understand
why this should happen to my husband... I felt that
somewhere, somehow I would find the strength and the
courage to face reality. But thus far, my depression
was very great. I spent many hours with my priest and
he constantly told me that God would show me the way.
And then, while watching your sweet face, day after
day, I suddenly knew that God had chosen your courage
and tremendous faith to show me the way. Whenever my
day is bad and little on the depressing side, I think
of you, and say a Hail Mary for your husband and mine,
and the day seems to be a little less depressing.
God certainly moves in mysterious ways, for suddenly
'He' showed me the way through you, dear gracious,
humble and courageous Lady."
(I think the words Mrs. Milano uses to describe Mrs. Kennedy are just as applicable to Mrs. Milano.)
It's because of letters like this that this is a wonderful book. With what grief, respect and care these writers attempted to allievate Mrs. Kennedy's sorrow, and their own. Reading these letters really does give a reader born after 1963 a window into the emotions of the public and something of the visceral impact of the Kennedy assassination.
So why did I give this book four stars?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I was in high school when President Kennedy was killed and I remember all the sadness in our home, nation and world. Read morePublished 10 months ago by vivian p. hicks
A heartbreaking collection of letters responding to a heartbreaking national tragedy.Published 14 months ago by Thomas Grimm
The letters were much in the same vein. I haven't finished the book yet--I will skip throuogh it.Published 14 months ago by Cyrus Dean
I bought it for my wife, and predictably, she cried throughout, and enjoyed it immensley.Published 14 months ago by neil uranowski
I lived through the good and the bad of that era. I was so impressed with these letters from people from all walks of life. Read morePublished 16 months ago by cathy clark