America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

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9780141002200: America's Queen: The Life of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis

From Sarah Bradford, Britain's best Royal biographer comes America's Queen, the definitive biography of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis - a fascinating account of an extraordinary life.

Jackie Bouvier's privileged upbringing instilled rigid self-control, while her expedient marriage into the Kennedy clan consolidated her determination. Revealing new testimony from many of the couple's closest friends show the profound complexities both of this very public relationship, including the affairs that threatened it, and of her controversial marriage to Onassis. Here is the private Jackie - neglected wife, vigilant mother, obsessive shopper and working widow - whose fascinating nature is illuminated by all that Bradford has discovered.

'Exceptionally intelligent and well-written . . . a thumping good read' Daily Mail

'There has not been, nor will there be, a better biography of Jackie' TLS

'Lucid, well-written. Long before Diana Spencer, Jacqueline Kennedy was the world's ultimate fantasy princess' Guardian

Sarah Bradford is a historian and biographer. Her books include Cesare Borgia (1976), Disraeli (1982), winner of the New York Times Book of the Year, Princess Grace (1984), Sacherevell Sitwell (1993), Elizabeth: A Biography of Her Majesty the Queen (1996), Lucrezia Borgia (2005), Diana (2007) and Queen Elizabeth II: Her Life in Our Times (2011). She frequently appears on television as an authority on her biographical subjects and as a commentator on notable royal events. She is currently working on a full scale biography of Queen Victoria. She lives in London.

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Review:

Fresh from her well-received life of Queen Elizabeth II, the historian and biographer Sarah Bradford turns her hand to America's own answer to royalty, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. Painstakingly detailed, impressively fair, the result is the most definitive account yet of a woman who captured the imagination of the American public like no First Lady before or after her. Bradford seems to have interviewed almost everyone who had ever been intimate with Onassis, including George Plimpton, Gore Vidal, Joan Kennedy and even a few ex-lovers. Most notably of all, Jackie's sister Lee Radziwill speaks with unexpected frankness about the mixture of rivalry and affection that marked their relationship since childhood. Jackie-lovers, take note: this is no hagiography, and its subject certainly comes off as no saint. As gracious as this American icon could be, she also had moments of coldness and even greed, including a particularly shocking moment by the bedside of Aristotle Onassis's dying son. Yet, in the end, non-airbrushed anecdotes like these only serve to make this most private of public figures even more fascinating.

Jackie was, as Bradford writes, "a complex woman of many facets, concealed insecurities and intricate defence mechanisms, a strong urge toward the limelight contrasting with a desire for privacy and concealment.... Behind the mask of beauty and fame lay a shrewd mind, a ruthless judgment of people, antennae finely turned to any sign of pretentiousness or pomposity, and a wry, even raunchy sense of humour". The figure who emerges from subsequent pages is as compelling as the heroine of any novel, and it is to Bradford's credit that she doesn't seem to have fallen completely under her subject's spell. Her approach is sympathetic, but never fawning; candid, but never sensationalist. For those who are curious not about Jackie's glamour but about its source, America's Queen offers an unprecedented look at the flesh-and-blood woman behind the Camelot myth. --Carlotta DeWitt

Review:

Exceptionally intelligent and well-written . . . a thumping good read ( Daily Mail)

Bradford has a real grasp of history and the ability to make it spark into new life (Anne Chisholm Sunday Telegraph)

Bradford's forte, ever since she was a history-mad girl, is thinking herself into other lives ( Daily Telegraph)

Long before Diana Spencer, Jacqueline Kennedy was the world's ultimate fantasy princess . . . In public, at JFK's side, Jackie's air of breathless sophistication, her chic cultural warmth complemented [him] perfectly. In private she could be softly malicious . . . scurrilously funny, and full of the entertaining intolerance of those who are young, rich, beautiful . . . a lucid, well-written new biography ( Guardian)

There has not been, nor will there be, a better biography of Jackie ( Times Literary Supplement)

The definitive biography (Anthony Howard Sunday Times)

A masterly biography ( Daily Telegraph)

A timely reminder of the contradictory and complicated character of the First Lady . . . a revealing portrait ( Daily Mail)

Sarah Bradford is very good, and very detailed, about the Kennedys. A good biography, and a good history ( Evening Standard)

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