New Read: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (A Very Brief History)

Unintentionally this year, I have had a bit of an US president theme going on in my reading through Mark Black’s A Very Brief History series. Having read about Richard NixonJohn F Kennedy and The Cuban Missile Crisis, it seemed only appropriate to read the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis instalment next.

Before reading this, I knew that Jacqueline was a fashion icon, affectionately known as Jackie O, who had first been married to the young, handsome and sadly doomed president John F Kennedy, and was heartbreakingly by his side in the car when he was assassinated on the 22nd November 1963. But I knew very little else. From reading this, I was interested to learn how Jackie was the one to redefine the role of First Lady into the form we know it as today, as well as redesigning and restoring The White House to its current glory. After JFK’s death, she also played a key role in building a positive legacy for him and his short term in office. Clearly this woman was more than just a very pretty face.

In hindsight, I think I am very lucky to have managed to collect so many of Black’s short histories, as I doubt I would have ever read about US presidents, politics or about Jackie for that matter otherwise. Which would be a great shame because I found her really interesting. This was another clear and concise history that is broken down into bite-size chapters on: Jackie’s early life; her Kennedy marriage; her time as First Lady; JFK’s assassination; her later Onassis marriage and life; her death and the release of sealed tapes she recorded just after JFK’s death. I warn you now though, this really is a short history so if you know or have read about Jackie before, than I doubt you will learn anything new from this. I recommend to those, like me, who know little to nothing.

Overall, I thought Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis: A Very Brief History was another quick and interesting read. I have seven more editions from this series still to go – it seems appropriate to read either the instalment on the Vietnam War or Ronald Reagan next. Okay read.

Have you read this? Or anything else about Jackie Kennedy?


13 thoughts on “New Read: Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis (A Very Brief History)

  1. While I don’t remember JFK, just, I do remember Jackie Kennedy as being kinda the star of her own soap opera during my childhood and youth during the Onassis years – the yacht and the fabulous wealth and glamour, and a touch of… hmm… possibly mild racism towards her marriage though it wouldn’t have been thought of quite that way back then, more snobbishness maybe… about such an American icon marrying an ostentatious Greek millionaire. It all seemed so far removed from real life somehow. I’ll skip this one, but am intrigued by the Vietnam war one – a subject I’ve never properly understood but don’t fancy a huge history. A brief account might be just the thing…

    1. FF, I definitely got a feeling of ignorance/racism when reading about the shock and upset about her second marriage, which was actually not just from the American public but also from Onassis’ family too. As for my next read, I am leaning towards the Vietnam War, so hopefully you won’t be waiting long 🙂

  2. I think it’s good that you are making your way through U.S. presidents’ histories. I’m doing some collecting of my own on the topic to read at some point.

    1. Judy, sounds like I definitely need to watch this film 😀 I am interested to hear you found the biography on President Lyndon eye-opening’, and yes this series does have instalments on British and other European political figures and monarchs 🙂

          1. Absolutely – for example she decided that at his funeral they would walk behind the hearse when all the officials were saying that was a bad idea. She wanted the world to see what had been done

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