Grace and Power: The Private World of the Kennedy White House
In GRACE & POWER: THE PRIVATE WORLD OF THE KENNEDY WHITE HOUSE, New York Times bestselling author Sally Bedell Smith takes us inside the Kennedy White House with unparalleled access and insight. Having interviewed scores of Kennedy intimates, including many who have never spoken before, and drawing on letters and personal papers made available for the first time, Smith paints a richly detailed picture of the personal relationships behind the high purpose and poiltical drama of the twentieth century's most storied presidency. At the dawn of the 1960s, a forty-three-year-old president and his thirty-one-year-old first lady – the youngest couple ever to occupy the White House – captivated the world with their easy elegance and their cool conviction that anything was possible. Jack and Jackie Kennedy gathered around them an intensely loyal and brillant coterie of intellectuals, journalists, diplomats, international jet-setters and artists. Perhaps as never before, Washington was sharply divided between the “ins” and the “outs.” In his public life, JFK created a New Frontier, stared down the Soviets, and devoted himself to his wife and children. As first lady, Jackie mesmerized foreign leaders and the American people with her style and sophistication, creating a White House renowned for its beauty and culture. Smith brilliantly recreates the glamorous pageant of the Kennedy years, as well as the daily texture of the Kennedys’ marriage, friendships, political associations, and, in Jack’s case, multiple love affairs. Smith’s striking revelations include new information about what drew Jack to his numerous mistresses – and what effects the relationships ultimately had on the women; about the rivalries and resentments among Kennedy’s advisers; and about the poignant days before and after Kennedy’s assassination. Smith has fashioned a vivid and nuanced portrait not only of two extraordinary individuals but of a new age that sprang to life around them. Shimmering with intelligence and detail, GRACE AND POWER is history at its finest.
From the Hardcover edition.
By A Customer - May 10, 2004
I thought it was utterly impossible to say anything new about the Kennedys. But 10 minutes into this book, I was completely hooked. It takes the reader back to a different and more civilized time, when politics was last rancorous, when glamor was not politically incorrect, when government really was made up of the best and brightest.Grace and Power delves deeply into Jack and Jackie Kennedy's public, private, and psychological lives. It shows their complex interactions with each other and the people around them, and in the process demonstrates that all politics is intensely personal.JFK's promiscuity is explored not for the sake of titillation, but rather to explain the man and to explore the complicity of the press. The portrait of Jackie is the best that's ever been written. Her love for Jack is heartbreakingly constant. Ms. Smith shows her to be highly intelligent, emotionally uncertain, and occasionally manipulative.The research in Grace and Power is prodigious, and the... read more
"Camelot" re-revealed magnificently...
By Thomas Moody - July 4, 2004
The essence of "Camelot" wasn't necessarily the inspiring leadership of John Kennedy (although this certainly doesn't hurt the Camelot mystique) or the seemingly serene picture of the youngest elected President and his equally youthful wife, rather it was a culture, indeed an attitude or mystique that many historians have tried to capture with heretofore moderate to little success. In this light, Sally Bedell Smith has presented her attempt at synthesizing the mystique with the well documented history of JFK's administration and has succeeded fabulously with "Grace and Power".The perspective that Smith presents is one that many historians have missed...in a day when JFK administration books abound, Smith gives us a whole new view into the Kennedy family. Right from the beginning of this work, we delve into the personal and behavorial side of both the new President and his First Lady and see how they are in turn affected by the avalanche of the media and policy... read more
Read it more for the humanity than the history
By Noneofyourbiz "noneofyourbiz" - December 5, 2004
All the well-known incidents of Kennedy's 1000 Days are here, but I don't think you'll find anything substantial you didn't know about The Bay of Pigs, the Cuban Missle Crisis, Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, etc. What makes this book special are the highly credible anecdotes about the President and First Lady, the little things that make them come to life. I enjoyed reading about President Kennedy's complicated relationship with Adlai Stevenson and his fascination with the men women found attractive, and why. I also was intrigued by Jackie's ambivalence about her role as First Lady and her role in history, which seemed to be a reflection of her ambivalence about her marriage to the fascinating, trying man she loved. The tales in this book lend texture and depth to our understanding of the Presidency that helped shaped the turbulent 1960s.