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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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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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Top Customer Reviews
Ethel who had been deeply devoted and in love with her husband was angry at his loss and didn't know how to raise all of the children. The older boys bore the brunt of Ethel's rage. They developed serious problems with drugs and were shuffled from boarding school to boarding school due to their drug use and bad behavior.
Ethel doesn't come across too well here. A very religious Catholic, she frowned on divorce and was also angry that Ted Kennedy wasn't more of an example to her brood. She was especially pissed at Ted after Chappaquiddick. Ethel idolized Rose Kennedy and made it her life's work to have more children that Rose did. She didn't get along well with Jackie, teasing her for her whispery voice and refined manners. Ethel would never speak to the children about their father's murder and it hurt them that she wouldn't allow them to grieve even with her. Ethel herself had come from an immensely wealthy and dysfunctional family, much like the Kennedy's. The book goes into detail about the Skakel's and how Ethel's father was a self made man. The Skakel family also had their fare share of alcoholism, philandering, adultery, plane crashes and the like. Remarkably similar in many respects to the Kennedys.
I found the book incredibly engaging, well written and interesting.
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.
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.
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.