I'm aware that I'm always saying that I was lucky to get this, lucky to grab that, as far as books are concerned. But I really and truly lucked out, when in the month of the 50th anniversary of the death of JFK, I was able to get a hold of the 8 hours of CD audio interviews of Jacqueline Kennedy sharing her memories with Arthur Schlesinger, Jr., the historian and colleague of President Kennedy, who wrote A Thousand Days, not long after President Kennedy's death.
In March 1964 he sat with Jacqueline Kennedy in her Georgetown townhouse, a mere three and a half months after the assassination. Schlesinger, a man Jacqueline trusted implicitly, probed her memory for details of her life with John F. Kennedy since their marriage in 1953. He also asked her to describe in depth her role as First Lady, including the story of her restoration of the White House.
When Schlesinger wrote the first drafts of A Thousand Days, he incorporated this material, of course, but when Jacqueline saw the book in a nearly finalized draft, she freaked. By this time, she had been unrelentingly harassed and hounded by the press, who never strayed from the sidewalk outside of her home. Driven frantic to preserve some vestiges of her privacy, she demanded that Schlesinger omit all references to her relationship with the president, including her views on all issues dealing with her husband's political and family life.
Schlesinger reluctantly complied and omitted every reference.
Jacqueline insisted that the taped interviews be vaulted until 2013, fifty years after her husband's death. Jacqueline died in 1994. Caroline Kennedy, as the sole legatee after John Jr's' death, decided that the tapes should be available to the public in time for the 50th anniversary of her father's death. So, by 2011, these conversations were made available in book form and in audio CD, with a long, illuminating foreword by Caroline Kennedy and an introduction by Michael Beschloss, the well-known presidential historian.
I'm halfway through the 4th of 8 tapes now, and I'm delighted to hear Jacqueline's personal views and insights of her husband and the politicians and political world surrounding him. She hid a great deal, but the depth of her love for her husband is evident.
If you have any interest, I urge you to listen to the inteviews, because they provide a unique viewpoint and perspective that has NEVER been presented in histories thus far.
A Monday Update
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